How Restaurant Technology Plays a Role in Customer Loyalty
Guest blog post: written by Michael Harris, CAKE Corporation.
Thoughts are customer loyalty programs began as far back as the 1700s when customers received copper tokens with their purchases and were redeemed later for other items.
Customer loyalty programs grew throughout time with S&H Green Stamps in the 1950s and 1960s, introducing frequent flier miles for airlines, and the array of “tags” on consumers’ key chains from various retailers in the 1990s and 2000s and to some extent still in use today.
Restaurants have had their fair share of loyalty programs going back to punching or stamping a business card for every purchase. And consumers hung in there, vowing to get that free sandwich, drink, or appetizer, no matter how long it took.
Of course, that was then, this is now, and we hold a powerful storage unit in our hands that takes all the above into account and conveniently has our stamps, miles, tags, and free food all on our phones.
In addition, restaurant technology has evolved to where restaurant owners can increase customer loyalty through multiple outlets. From your point of sale software and integrated customer-facing display to reservation management and more.
Here we’ll take a look at how restaurant technology plays a role in improving your customer loyalty.
Your Point of Sale is the Best Data You Have
Your restaurant’s POS system is more than just a checkout machine. It’s a centralized system that holds multiple data sources with a library of information about your customers.
A good POS system has specialized software that can track your customer’s activity and the rewards they accrue when integrated with a loyalty program.
It also can keep track of your inventory and what your most loyal customers have ordered, further showing personalized recommendations suggestive items for upselling to enhance the customer experience.
The POS system further increases loyalty simply because of its speed and efficiency in service, which cuts down the wait times in line. Part of that speed is your modern POS accepts all forms of payment which leaves customers thrilled.
Increase Satisfaction With a Customer Facing Display
A customer-facing display on your POS allows your customers to see and confirm their orders in real-time, including menu items, modifiers, and prices. Having a customer-facing display integrated with your POS is a powerful piece of restaurant technology that brings multiple benefits for you and your guests. These include increased efficiency, a boost in customer engagement, larger check sizes, and more.
A customer-facing display improves the overall customer experience by speeding up orders and reducing errors. That empowerment by the patrons increases their loyalty and helps your kitchen staff with speedier service.
Why not showcase your promotions through a customer-facing display? You can highlight your promotions through the loyalty program and let the customer decide on which rewards they want to redeem when they come in and order.
With a customer-facing display integrated on your POS, your guests can easily check-in via their phone number on the display. If the customer enrollment is new, a text message is sent to their phone with a welcome message and mobile app or sign-up form download link.
Boost Customer Loyalty With In-House Online Ordering
By staying at home and ordering online, customers can relax while looking over the menu, trying out new items. In addition, having an in-house online ordering system simplifies the lives of your customers.
Online ordering drives revenue with a higher value than traditional call-in orders, and if your restaurant isn’t accepting online ordering, you are missing out on profits and loyalty. In 2020, the restaurant-to-consumer segment for online food ordering reached 760 million users, a 20% increase year-over-year. This year expect the number to reach 821 million in 2021.
In-house online ordering increases order accuracy, saves time, and the ability to pay right away, all enhance a better experience for the customer. Combining this with a loyalty program is valuable in keeping customers coming back and ordering again.
Reservations and Waitlists: A Tech Breakthrough
As customers make reservations, you’re gaining information to provide them with loyalty offers later or collect feedback to get insight on their experience.
A reservation management system has the ability to capture bookings made online and via phone all in one place. This allows hosts to review all the guest information for a particular shift using a single interface.
Everyone’s experience, from hosts, customers, and walk-in guests, improves when captured reservations are managed and guests are seated in a timely manner. With this restaurant technology, hosts can quote more accurate wait times for everyone. Long or misquoted wait times will cause guests to walk out of restaurants generating lost revenue and unsatisfied customers.
Mobile Apps and Ordering Will Continue to Rise
Restaurants have been adding mobile apps and the ability to order over the past five or six years, but owners and chains ramped it up when the pandemic broke out in 2020.
Third-party delivery platforms have become attractive for restaurants, but the restaurant loses business and loyalty as customers go through these apps to order.
The need to create your own mobile ordering and promote it effectively as a direct order website will have customers coming to you and staying with you. Also, make sure your listings and links to sites like Google, Yelp, and social media connect to your site.
With your own direct ordering, you can save money and capture more of your customer’s business.
According to Hospitality Technology, 70% of customers prefer ordering through the restaurant’s own branded app instead of a third-party app. And in 2022, mobile payments will become the second most common payment method behind debit card purchases.
CAKE, a Mad Mobile company, is a fully integrated cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) system specifically built for restaurants. Spendgo gives businesses the marketing tools to successfully engage, retain, and incentivize customers while seamlessly integrating with CAKE's POS system. CAKE's advanced mobile technology allows restaurants more ways to connect with their customers with integrated online ordering, complete with curbside management and contactless delivery options, waitlist and reservations, contactless payments, and more.