Strategies To Promote Your Casual Dining Loyalty Program

By: Stacy Belanger


Casual dining brands have forever been impacted by the pandemic. Guests who work from home are dining out less, and ghost kitchens are on the rise. However, humans have still not lost the desire to go out to a nice meal with friends or family members to celebrate a promotion or catch up on a Tuesday. 

How do these casual dining brands ensure they are able to retain guests to keep up with the forever fluctuating ways? Through promotion of their loyalty program. According to the Incisiv 2022 Loyalty Index Report, 70% of customers engage more frequently with a brand where they are registered for the loyalty program. These programs have a major impact on customer retention, satisfaction and brand advocacy. 

Acquiring customers is a major component of a successful program. Enticing guests to join and engage in your reward offerings requires a strategic focus from day one of the launch. Your physical restaurant, staff and mobile app provide key opportunities for driving growth. Consider these tactics when promoting your program in the casual dining space. 

Time is on Your Side

With the average visit being longer than at a fast casual restaurant, casual dining brands have more face-to-face time to take advantage for promoting the program. While guests are enjoying their dining experience, team members can casually talk to guests about program benefits, and assist with questions on the program. Marketing material or a QR code that explains program can be placed in key areas to encourage guests to digest the benefits of joining the loyalty program. 

Encourage Team Member Promotion

With the additional time team members are spending with guests, they have an opportunity to speak to the program in more detail. Ensure team members understand the benefits of the program, including “how to” questions, like signing up or earning. If the brand is running any additional promotions, this is a great tool for team members to highlight as an added perk of the program. 

Plus, if you give your employees the right training and opportunity to excel, you can create brand ambassadors, who have the ability to exponentially grow your loyalty program. Don’t shy away from giving a little incentive to make that happen. 

Highlight Components of Your Program

Make sure that the benefits of your program are clear for guests to understand from marketing material or from team members. Snooze, an a.m. Eatery recently launched their app with a feature that allows guests to join the waitlist, and receive loyalty benefits from participating. Read more about the details of their loyalty program

Here are some other ways to call out benefits for guests. 

  • If you’re providing a sign up offer, encourage guests to join and be able to use the reward immediately!
  • Highlight the value of points as guests are paying by educating them how much they could earn for today’s visit. 
  • If celebrating a guest’s birthday, encourage them to sign up for the program to come back and celebrate with you next year! 

Keep the Celebration Going

Casual dining and full service brands see an influx of guests visiting during major holidays, like Mother’s Day or national food days. In Q2 of 2021, casual dining brands saw a 9.4% increase in loyalty visits from the previous. This is a huge opportunity for brands to take advantage of, and encourage guests to join their program in these busy times. These guests are choosing your brand to spend these special moments with, so they might be more loyal over time. After the celebration is over, begin to strategize how to further push the program on the next major holidays. 

Casual dining brands acquiring guests into the program will be able to keep up communication with guests and gain them as lifelong customers. To explore how Punchh loyalty programs can help your brand, request a demo on possible solutions. 

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