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The Spectrum of Loyalty: Restaurant Marketing for Multiple Levels of Engagement

Fishbowl has a very distinct POV on loyalty.  We believe loyalty isn’t a segment or a program, but rather a continuum that acts as a marketing funnel, enabling our clients to understand and engage guests appropriately at all levels to maximize their value.  The ultimate goal is to engage with all addressable guests, while moving them along the continuum by learning about their dining behavior, preferences, and spend, and then building a one-to-one relationship through smart marketing programs that maximize customer life cycle value. 

We have thought a lot about how to optimize guest loyalty.  Although over 200 chains use us for restaurant marketing, only a small subset operates traditional loyalty programs.  How else might a restaurant operator approach the loyalty concept?  Other industries, such as ecommerce and retail, are successfully using data-driven methodologies to drive recommendations, messaging, and increased sales.  Amazon, for example, uses prior purchase data to build customer loyalty.  Brick and mortar retailers have long used their own private label credit cards to ascertain the same data and routinely ask for a phone number upon purchase to identify repeat customers and then analyze purchase patterns. 

From our perspective, it’s about taking a guest-centric approach to your marketing.  That’s right, a focus on maximizing the value of each guest, rather than waiting for a customer to become a card-carrying member of a club that gives out rewards.  Not everyone will join a loyalty program, but those who don’t can still be cultivated as loyal guests and engaged to drive visits to your store.  With the right marketing programs, these guests can be inspired to move up the loyalty continuum, whether or not they volunteer for a specific program.  And you get off the treadmill of having to weigh rewards versus profitability.