Earning a customer’s loyalty is not just about quality and price.

The modern consumer expects something in return for their loyalty, and 64% are willing to switch loyalties to find a business that meets their unique needs.

Despite brand loyalty being difficult to grasp and even more difficult to maintain it is paramount to a successful business. It cost brands 5x as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.

Studies show that the restaurant industry has some of the most loyal customers in the market, at 44% of consumers being loyal to a specific restaurant.

Let’s take a look at what it takes for these customers to become loyal patrons and fans.

(Note: If you’re interested in setting up a loyalty program for your business, CandyBar can help. Try it free here.)

1. Constant and Consistent Access to Businesses

A consumer’s loyalty is directly connected to the amount of access they have with your business. Customers demand constant and consistent access to their favorite businesses and brands.

In this digital age of 24/7 instant messaging, social media accounts, and automatic email responses, a consumer has been given immediate access to every store they’ve purchased an item from and every restaurant they’ve eaten at.

Consumers research favorite happy hour spots on Facebook and Yelp, they ask friends and followers for recommendations on all social media platforms, and they look through the menu before walking through the door.

In order to win your patrons’ loyalty – be accessible!

3 Ways to Be Accessible to Your Consumers ASAP

  1. Connect with your customers on social media! If they’ve tagged you on Twitter, or checked-in on Facebook or Instagram respond and thank them for choosing your establishment.
  2. Have a well-running website: your customer expects to be able to view your full menu, click your address that is connected to Google Maps, see your hours of operation, and drool over pictures of delicious food and drinks.
  3. Use a loyalty program: your customers want to know you appreciate their business. Creating a loyalty rewards program is a small way to thank your customers – and encourage them to return.

2. Stay Up-to-Date With Technology

There is no greater turn-off for today’s consumer than an old-fashioned or out-of-touch business.

57% of consumers say that innovation is an important quality in a company. That means over half of your current customers want to see new and innovative resources from your bar or restaurant.

Using old hole-punch loyalty cards is extremely outdated.

Your consumers most likely aren’t even holding onto them, and are less likely using them as a motivation to return.

Bring your business and reward program into the 21st century, and show your customers how innovative and technologically advanced you are.  

3. Keep Your Message Simple

A million messages coming from every different devices and platforms becomes loud noise that your customer ignores.

If you want your customers to sing your praises and return every Friday night with their best friends for happy hour, then keep your message simple, precise, and clear.

Find out what social media platform your customers use the most and concentrate your efforts there.

Find one message or point of view. Maybe that’s your amazing tacos, or your connection to your history and culture, or your on-location distillery, whatever unique aspect you bring – let your customers know and let them know often.

4. Stay Consistent

Consistency in the food and beverage industry is extremely important to building consumer loyalty, but it can be difficult to manage.

You must be consistent with your offerings, programs, and branding both online and in your brick-and-mortar location.

Customers will notice right away if you are incongruent, for e.g having a laid back and sarcastic social media presence but a formal business establishment.

It will also throw them off if they are accustomed to seeing reward discounts or coupons every Monday, or on their birthday every year and then having the reward disappear suddenly and randomly.

Consistency across every aspect of your business will encourage your customer’s trust and loyalty.

True loyalty from customers can be very hard to find, but making a few tweaks can have great impact. 

Adrienne Barnes

Posted by Adrienne Barnes

Adrienne Barnes is a content marketer for SaaS companies at Adrienne Nakohl Copywriting. She’s a word nerd and Grammarly junkie. Her expertise is in taking the technical and boring and making it easy to understand and interesting. Connect with her on LinkedIn.