More than just good food: Retaining customer loyalty in the restaurant industry

Brand loyalty in the Philippine restaurant industry is a myth. Filipinos are adventurous yet conscious diners. They flock to the nearest convenience store to grab a meal. Good food is not enough to keep the Filipino foodie loyal anymore.


The obvious answer is loyalty rewards, but customer loyalty and customer retention are two different things. The key is to create an effective loyalty marketing strategy that is relevant to your customer’s needs, regardless of time and context.


So what exactly do you need to ensure that your loyal diners never forget you? Here are five questions you need to ask:

  1. Do you have a loyalty marketing strategy in place?

  2. Can you gather real-time data?

  3. Can you engage your customers outside of the restaurant?

  4. Do you have a loyalty customer experience?

  5. Can you execute your loyalty program without getting stuck in a meeting?


Do you have a loyalty marketing strategy in place?

Filipinos opt for instant gratification, that’s why discounts and buy 1 take 1 never fail. However, you can bet that this is going to be abused almost immediately. Fixed discounts also limit the benefits of a loyalty program. You need to approach customer loyalty with a marketing objective – increase transactions or spend. There are different reward mechanics that can help you achieve this – milestone, points or tiered membership. The key is adding a sense of fulfillment.


Can you gather real-time data?



How easily can you access data and how fast can you act on it? Having to request for data adds another layer between strategy and execution. Keep in mind that your marketing is not the only team who needs customer insights. Analytics enables you to gather data across different branches and gather nuances into one database. Real-time analytics make you nimble enough to adapt to customers’ needs and influence buying behavior. For instance, Filipinos are now lunch seekers and afternoon snackers that family dining restaurants such as Max’s now offer solo rice bowl meals.


Can you engage your customers outside of the restaurant?



You need to work extra hard to ensure that your loyal diner doesn’t switch to the competition around the corner. Augment your social media and offline marketing efforts with SMS. It’s a fast and efficient way to reach thousands of customers instantly, just make sure they opt-in before starting a campaign.


Also, you need to get a loyalty app. Mobile devices drive Filipino consumers, whether it’s finding information, hunting for a bargain or asking for a second opinion. Apart from SMS, you can also use push notifications to keep your customers updated. Fostering brand recall and maintaining customer relationship requires consistent engagement. Mobilizing your loyalty program enables you to connect with your customers wherever they are.


Do you have a loyalty customer experience?



Filipino consumers are much smarter and independent. They want brand partners that can add value to their day-to-day life and socially responsible companies that they can trust. Offer convenience services such as order head, in-store pickup, and booking. In the restaurant industry where there are so many players, you need to constantly remind your customers that you are worthy enough to visit twice a week. Loyalty programs should be treated as an extension of customer service, not just another revenue channel.


Can you execute your loyalty program without getting stuck in a meeting?



No one likes internal meetings. Well, except for that employee who uses them to avoid work. If your loyalty program needs different steps that require hopping between different teams, good ideas get lost in the unending process of alignment. Find a single platform that lets you have full control over your loyalty program. Imagine having the capability to build, design, and manage your loyalty program in one place, rather than going through the reports, haggling with suppliers, and peddling plastic loyalty cards while your customers are eating. Automation lets you focus on what matters the most - customer loyalty.


Restaurants are under attack from different sides – small format stores with dining spaces, fickle customers, and rising food costs. Every loyal customer is crucial. The RUSH loyalty platform offers an end-to-end business solution including a CMS, a merchant app, and a custom-branded mobile app.