By the end of 2019, the National Restaurant Association estimates that restaurant sales are expected to reach $863 billion, which creates a massive opportunity. But it’s not just the food that needs to be good. For a restaurant to survive today, it needs to provide a frictionless experience and at the same time be able to gather rich customer data to make the guest journey more personalized. So how do restaurants do this? There are several ways, and in my nearly 10 years at Paytronix, we have helped countless customers create loyalty programs that do just that. Here are three things to keep in mind:

Consider NFC Payments

With Apple Pay and Google Pay integrated with NFC Loyalty, customers have their payment and loyalty info in one place, making restaurant checkout more frictionless than it’s ever been. In fact, with NFC Loyalty, restaurants are seeing more than three times the number of guests identify and signup for guest engagement programs, a 62 percent higher frequency of visits among NFC Loyalty users, and a demographic that is at least five years younger than the typical guest – a demographic you definitely want to keep.

For a restaurant to survive today, it needs to provide a frictionless experience and at the same time be able to gather rich customer data to make the guest journey more personalized.

And as consumers become more comfortable substituting their mobile phones for their wallets as a payment source, they are taking advantage of the convenience and security that the ‘one-tap’ gesture offers, especially in restaurants. While broad NFC adoption is still in progress, the restaurant space is truly on the front lines of payments technology, making it a huge driver in this space. 

Offer Frictionless Ways for Guests to Join Your Loyalty Program

 Clunky and arduous registrations hinder potential customers from joining loyalty programs. In fact, according to a recent Harris Poll survey, 58 percent of respondents were less likely to join a loyalty program that required them to download an app. A mobile app is a valuable tool, but considering the number of people who are resistant to downloading apps, don’t make that the only method for guests to enroll.

By enabling more guests to interact with your restaurant in the ways they prefer, you increase your ability to market to them and drive incremental visits and spend. Ideally, guests should be able to enroll at the POS, via text-to-join, or even with a physical card. 

Compel Repeat Transactions with Subscriptions

With today’s consumers demanding a frictionless experience and convenience, the subscription model is increasingly becoming another visit-inspiring tool in a successful restaurant’s arsenal. Subscriptions drive repeat visits, boost sales, and build loyalty. When guests have already paid for meals, it guarantees return visits to your location rather than your competition. In addition, preselling meals generates immediate cash flow and offers additional opportunities to cross sell drinks and appetizers since the base cost has previously been covered.  Integrating subscription-styled services with your loyalty program lets guests continue to earn rewards and enables you to learn more about any shifts in their behavior. And because meals are already paid for and loaded onto an account, guests need only identify themselves at the POS to enjoy a quick and easy experience.

It’s no secret that the number of restaurants and retailers rolling out loyalty programs is increasing and the amount of customers enrolling in these programs continues to grow along with it. Leveraging the tips above will help remove any barriers to entry, harness your loyalty program’s full potential, and deliver a positive, predictable impact to your brand’s average unit volume (AUV.)

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