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Marketing

How to Gamify Your Restaurant to Increase Customer Loyalty

by

Andrea Victory

Power ups. VIP status. Badges. Awards. All that’s missing is a digital soundtrack. By using elements from the world of gaming, like status, competition, achievement, and collaboration, you can engage new and existing customers.

Here are five things to think about as you create a gamified restaurant loyalty program.

Appeal to Your Customer’s Needs and Desires

The simplest example of gamification is a loyalty stamp card. Customer buys a coffee, gets a stamp. This repeats ten times or so, until they are rewarded with a free coffee. You know the customer actually wants coffee, they keep coming back for it, and when they get that free one, it makes them feel good – and connected to your restaurant. By rewarding customers based on what matters to them, you’ll find more engagement.

Think About Your End Goal

Think about what you want to get out of your program and how it benefits your restaurant. Are you hoping to see more repeat customers? Looking to expand your reach on social media? Do you want more positive reviews on Google? Start with your goal (or goals), and work back from there.

Make Sure the Levels Are Attainable

Simple point scoring is a great way to keep patrons motivated and excited to come back to collect. But it’s important that there are attainable reward levels. You don’t want a customer to come in every week yet have to wait a year to redeem a free meal.

But Don’t Let Them Get There too Quickly

Long and short term goals are a great way to balance rewards and expectations. Having the option for customers to choose to redeem or keep collecting keeps them engaged. You can also introduce status levels, like a silver VIP status, then gold and then diamond, having them achieve certain goals along the way.

Keep Things Interesting

Switch things up by adding new rewards. You can try seasonal “challenges”, social media competitions or contests. Or, introduce a new level to “unlock” for customers that have been along for the ride for a while and have received a certain status.

Adding elements of gaming to your restaurant’s customer loyalty program can increase engagement and peak the interest of patrons both old and new. And remember to always ask customers for feedback to get a sense of how they are liking it and to gather suggestions. This way you can tailor your loyalty program specifically to your target market to keep growing your customer base and level up your bottom line.


Andrea was a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she wrote about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.

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