Leveraging Your Restaurant Loyalty Program for the Summer

By: Anthony Giampa


Summer is a golden opportunity for restaurants to capitalize on increased foot traffic and the excitement of vacation season. As people enjoy their summer breaks, they seek out new dining experiences, making it a lucrative time for restaurants to attract and retain customers. Amidst the sizzle of the summer heat, one strategy stands out as a surefire way to retain customers and keep them coming back for more: leveraging your loyalty and rewards programs. These programs not only incentivize repeat visits but also foster a sense of connection and appreciation among patrons. Here’s how to make the most out of your loyalty programs this summer.

Crafting Summer-Specific Promotions

Seasonal Menus and Discounts

Fuzzy's Taco ShopSummer ingredients bring freshness and vibrancy to the menu. Offering special discounts on dishes made with these seasonal ingredients can create an enticing draw for customers. Limited-edition items or exclusive bundles tied to summer themes can generate a sense of urgency and excitement, encouraging patrons to visit more frequently.

Plus, think beverages, they are really having their moment to shine. Consumers are increasingly seeking diverse and innovative drink options and it’s a great time for your restaurant to capitalize on this popular movement by expanding its beverage menus. To maximize the potential of this trend, you should consider incorporating beverages into your loyalty program campaigns. By offering rewards, exclusive tastings, or points for trying new beverage creations, loyalty programs can encourage customers to explore the expanded drink menu while fostering brand loyalty. This strategy can be particularly effective with limited-time offers and seasonal specials, which have seen a 17% increase in the beverage category over the past five years.

A great example is Fuzzy’s Taco Shop making the most of the summer heat by offering their guests special Limited Time Offers like their fan-favorite Bomb-A- ‘Rita. This kind of LTO beverage is a smart and creative way to drive foot traffic into your restaurants and increase engagement while leveraging this fun time of year.

Interactive Campaigns

Engagement is key during the summer months. Hosting photo contests where customers share their best summer moments at your restaurant, using a specific hashtag, can foster a sense of community. This not only promotes your brand but also strengthens customer loyalty as they feel more connected and appreciated.

Branding Preparation for Summer

Adapting your restaurant’s branding to fit the summer mood is essential. Update the look and feel of your email templates with summer iconography and imagery. This seasonal touch can enhance the appeal of your marketing efforts and align them with your summer promotions.

Mobile App Features

If your loyalty program includes a mobile app, summer is the perfect time to highlight its features. Promoting the convenience of ordering ahead through the app for takeout or delivery is ideal for busy summer days. Using push notifications to alert members of flash sales, limited time offers, or reminders of ongoing promotions can keep customers engaged. Additionally, sending geo-targeted notifications about nearby offers as customers move around can encourage spontaneous visits to your restaurant. 

Maximizing Holiday Opportunities

Holidays during the summer, such as the Fourth of July or Labor Day, present excellent opportunities for targeted promotions. Offer special deals in advance, run sign-up campaigns for new members, and use BOGOs to encourage sharing. Post-check-in message campaigns can remind guests about your holiday offers and reinforce engagement with a thank-you note even if they didn’t use the promotion.

Engaging Sweepstakes & Contests

Engaging Sweepstakes & ContestsNothing draws attention like a good contest or sweepstakes. These not only engage existing customers but can also attract new ones. Running a summer sweepstakes where every visit or purchase during the summer months earns an entry to win a grand prize, can be very effective. Encouraging customers to share their dining experiences on social media with a specific hashtag and offering prizes for the best photos can increase your restaurant’s visibility online. Additionally, motivating loyal customers to bring in their friends by offering rewards for every new customer they refer who signs up for the loyalty program can expand your customer base. The person with the most referrals could win a special prize, further incentivizing participation.

Choosing the Right Promotion

Deciding between a sweepstakes and a contest depends on your marketing objectives. Sweepstakes are simpler and attract broad participation, ideal for spreading brand awareness and driving short-term behavior. Contests, while more complex, can foster a deeper connection with your audience, incentivize product purchases, and create rich user-generated content.

By leveraging your loyalty program effectively, restaurants can turn the summer season into a period of sustained growth and increased customer loyalty. Whether through engaging promotions, interactive campaigns, or strategic use of contests and sweepstakes, the possibilities are plentiful for making the most of the summer dining surge.

To learn more about how Punchh can help you stay cool this summer, request a demo today!

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