Category Archives: Restaurant tips and tricks

Customer Loyalty Programs

8 Benefits of a Customer Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty programs are a popular way for businesses to show appreciation for their customers and encourage loyalty. By offering rewards or discounts for repeat business or meeting certain criteria, these programs can bring numerous benefits to a business. In this blog post, we’ll explore 8 benefits of having a customer reward program.

1. Increased customer loyalty: Customer loyalty programs incentivize repeat business by offering rewards or discounts to customers who make purchases or meet certain criteria. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and a sense of exclusivity among program members.

2. Improved customer retention: Customer loyalty programs can help improve retention rates by providing a reason for customers to continue doing business with your company. When customers feel appreciated and rewarded for their loyalty, they are more likely to remain loyal customers.

3. Increased customer spending: Customer loyalty programs can encourage customers to spend more in order to earn rewards or reach certain thresholds for discounts. This can lead to an overall increase in customer spending and revenue for your business.

4. Greater customer satisfaction: Customer loyalty programs can contribute to a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment for customers, as they are able to earn rewards or discounts for their loyalty. This can lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing and increased customer satisfaction.

5. Personalized marketing opportunities: Customer loyalty programs can provide businesses with valuable customer data, such as purchasing habits and preferences. This data can be used to create personalized marketing campaigns and offers that are more likely to be successful with individual customers.

6. Competitive advantage: A well-designed customer loyalty program can set your business apart from competitors and provide a competitive advantage. Customers may be more likely to choose your business over others if they know they will be rewarded for their loyalty.

7. Improved customer experience: Customer loyalty programs can enhance the overall customer experience by making it more enjoyable and rewarding for customers to do business with your company. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

8. Increased brand awareness: Customer loyalty programs can help increase brand awareness by encouraging customers to share information about your business and its rewards program with their friends and family. This can lead to a larger customer base and increased revenue for your business.

Customer loyalty programs can bring numerous benefits to a business, including increased customer loyalty, improved retention rates, and increased customer spending. By providing a sense of exclusivity and appreciation for customers, these programs can enhance the customer experience and contribute to the success of a business. If you’re considering implementing a customer reward program, these benefits are worth considering.

5 Ways to Improve Your Yelp Listing

Yelp can be an intimidating place for business owners. Reviews can make or break a restaurant. Still, many restaurant owners still avoid Yelp— even though we know that whether you create a listing or your guests do, you can’t avoid Yelp any longer.

The good news is that Yelp can be an invaluable tool for improving your reputation and finding new patrons, even if you do end up with a few negative reviews. These 5 simple steps will help you to conquer your fears of facing your Yelp page.

1. Ensure your business profile is complete

Yelp has a “Free Tools” section that every business owner can use to set up a business page. This allows you to provide information like hours of operation, address, photos, and whether or not you take reservations. This also allows you to see analytics related to your yelp visitors and improve your marketing efforts.

2. Don’t forget about mobile!

Yelp offers a free mobile app called “Yelp for Business Owners.” This app allows you to manage your Yelp page from anywhere. You can quickly respond to guest complaints, comments, and questions. A fast response reassures prospective guests, and also shows that management is responsive and truly cares about their guests.

3. Make the most of Yelp’s advertising features

Yelp’s business goal is to provide accurate and helpful reviews and information so that lots and lots of people use the Yelp website and app, and so that restaurants pay to advertise on Yelp. Ads push you to the top of search results and can be a great investment for a new restaurant. Yelp also provides Yelp Deals — prepaid vouchers for discounted meals. This can bring in new guests and show them how great you are.

4. Reach out to your vendors

Vendors most likely know your restaurant really well, so they can provide thorough, insider information in their reviews. They don’t have to leave a review as a “guest” either. Speaking about the integrity of the owners can be enough to convince new guests to give your restaurant a try.

5. Respond to your customers

Whether it’s a positive or negative review, responding to a guest can be an effective goodwill-building strategy. Thank guests for their loyalty. Address concerns or complaints. Five minutes a day should do the trick.

Yelp, like all crowd-sourced reviews, can attract the good, the bad, and the ugly. One bad review will not bring down your business, the same way one great review won’t be the thing that brings in tons of new traffic. A good Yelp strategy requires consistent and ongoing attention. Used correctly, it can help attract and then turn new guests into guests for life.

Does your POS system help you drive business? Download our free POS checklist to see if you’re getting the most out of your POS system.

Why You Should Work with a Local Point of Sale Company

Purchasing a point of sale (POS) system is an important investment that will have a direct impact on how efficiently your business operates. You will probably spend a lot of time researching options that work best for your business, looking for the features and functions your business needs, and matching prices to your budget. You will focus so much attention on the perfect POS solution, do you also research the best place to buy your POS system? The answer is a resounding YES!

Get a Free Point of Sale Solution Consultation
Courtesy of your friends at Essential

There are a many reasons why working with a POS professional is smart. Let’s review three.

Location, Location, Location
A POS provider that is in close proximity to your business can only benefit you in the long (and short) run. The POS provider that’s nearby can make in-person visits to show you the technology you are going to purchase. They can answer questions and put to rest any doubts you may have about this new technology. When you choose a POS provider with an office nearby, you’ll get an accessible partner that’s ready to spring into action whenever they’re needed. When something goes wrong with your POS, having the ability to call on a local technician can help minimize your downtime and loss of any sales.
Additionally, local POS providers typically offer training, support, making them a one-stop shop for all of your POS needs. This is an important point to consider for small businesses that don’t have an in-house IT staff.

Accomplished Integrators
POS systems can be more valuable to your business if they integrate with the rest of your store systems and technology. Integrated systems offer a number of benefits including greater accuracy by eliminating the need to re-enter data and allowing systems to communicate with each other, making processes such as order fulfillment and inventory management easier. A POS provider experienced in working with your industry or market will understand your business needs and how to provide an integrated system to address them.

Cost vs. Value
Don’t make the mistake that many small businesses do; chasing the lowest upfront POS cost with online companies. If the deal seems too good to be true, it usually. Many small businesses end up with increased support costs, high credit card processing rates, and integration issues with a POS system they purchased at a “special deal” online.

The partnership you develop with your POS provider can also provide value by allowing you to focus more on your business, and not trying to manage your technology needs.
Because your POS system is a great investment, you’ll want a technology partner who is just as invested in the success of it as you are. Working with a top-notch POS provider is one way to maximize your technology ROI and minimize total cost of business ownership as you can keep your costs as low as possible by not having to look elsewhere for service and support.

Choosing an industry-proven POS partner is just about as important as picking the right POS system itself and you should view your provider as your trusted consultant. It’s a partnership after all.

5 Quick Ways to Bring Customers to Your Restaurant after the Holidays









It’s the end of the year. Pockets are light and bellies are full from the Holidays. That doesn’t mean your restaurant should sit empty until people are ready to get back out to enjoy your tasty creations.  Here are 10 quick ways to get people back into your restaurant after the Holidays.

Birthday emails
Birthday coupons aren’t just for the likes of Starbucks and Chipotle.  Independent restaurateurs should also tap into this market.  Every year, I get an email from Starbucks on my birthday. I’m given any drink on the house. It’s the perfect way to start my birthday morning.

I’m very surprised that most other restaurants don’t do this.  They’ll offer free birthday items after I’ve walked in their doors, but an email reminder would really get me in their door.  Don’t forget, birthday customers travel in groups. If you offer a free drink or entree, you’ll get the additional business of friends and family who come along for the celebration.

Send offer emails
You can also send special offers, like buy one drink, get one 50% off or half-off appetizers to entice new customers to come in.  Email marketing is perfect for attracting new customers, but it’s also helpful in keeping your current customers.  Look into services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.  They’re inexpensive and user-friendly.

Live music
Bring in some local talent on the weekends to entertain your customers. Get your guests involved by asking them to vote for the band they want to hear on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page.

Grand re-opening event
If you’ve been open for a while, host a grand re-opening. It’s a simple way to remind people about your restaurant and encourage new people to try out your restaurant. Think about offering a deal on a sampler platter so they can taste test several dishes.

Join the local chamber of commerce
Yes, we know restaurateurs are too busy running their business to attend the many Chamber of Commerce events in your area, but just about every community has a chamber of commerce that promotes their local businesses.  And, they’ll do it for free.  Not only can you network, but you can also offer to cater or host chamber events.

We’re in the digital age and it’s now even easier than ever before to promote your business electronically. Collect email addresses wherever you can. When you’re at a local tasting event, business meeting, or trade show, make sure you have an email sign up sheet.  Have a business card drop bowl at your door.  Also, don’t forget to collect email addresses on your website. You can create a signup form easily on your website with little help from a web designer.  Reach out to your trusted restaurant technology provider, they should be able to assist or point you to someone who can.


Your Restaurant’s Food Pictures Suck






In today’s “insta-world” it is absolutely necessary for all restaurants market themselves online.  Of course you’ll need website and some kind of social media presence like Facebook and Instagram. You might event think about sending out email marketing campaigns to current and prospective customers.

The key factor that these marketing strategies have in common is that they have to be attractive. Other than the accuracy of information, the most important part of a restaurant website is that it must have great images or photography. When you show customers the tasty food you offer, it has a direct impact on their perception of our restaurant.

Potential new customers come to your website seeking your contact information, reservations, directions, and most importantly, your menu. Visitors will look for mouthwatering pictures that can tell them what the dining experience will be like. They will also be making judgements about your restaurant before even stepping one foot in the door

Some people use stock images on their websites during the design process, and sometimes this is a good thing as there are image providers that offer inexpensive, high quality images. Unfortunately, the biggest downside to using stock photos is that that the images are very generic and may not fully show those little details and nuances that make your restaurant and menu stand out from others. The result is an appealing looking, but generic website. Restaurateurs should consider investing in a professional photographer to take high quality pictures of the food you prepare. We know the cost of opening and maintaining a restaurant can increase daily, so if there’s no budget for a professional photographer, remember that we live in a day and age where nearly everyone has access to high quality cameras at a reasonable cost. If your restaurant is using poor photography then the potential customer is going to associate that with your brand. A blurry, poorly lit photo of your dinner entree could translate to a loss in sales.

People are visual creatures and what we see can leave a lasting impression, especially when it comes to food. Since the Internet cannot relay the taste or smell of your food, people are going to judge the quality based on the pictures you show. Better pictures can result in better engagement, and if you post some quality images on social media with links back to your website you’ll start to notice an increase in web traffic, and ultimately food sales.