By David Russell, Founder and Chairman of the Russell Partnership
Large chains have demonstrated how valuable loyalty programs can be, with Starbucks claiming that their loyalty program was one of the main factors for a 26% profit rise back in 2013. This is directly comparable with Costa Coffee’s loyalty scheme, which saw five million customers join in its first year of operation, with an average of 1.4 million customers utilising their loyalty cards each week.
Many universities offer loyalty style programs such as stamp cards for free cups of coffee, but how many use technology to drive this? Technology systems which link your EPOS system with a loyalty program delivers numerous benefits to University outlets looking to increase sales through promotions, whilst also boosting customer experience by reducing service delivery time. Surrey University installed an iPad EPOS system in one of their busy cafés in 2014, which has had a noticeable impact on their efficiency.
Utilising technology enables outlets to collect valuable feedback data from customers, which can provide market intelligence to ensure the product offering is meeting consumer demand. The University of Greenwich conducted online surveys gauging information such as preferred on-site catering outlets, value for money and the importance of organic food within the University. Likewise, the University of Glasgow surveyed their hospitality customers and implemented a series of action-based solutions.
Utilising technology in University settings drives loyalty via access to information and meeting customer’s individual requirements. For example, Boston University’s app ‘UB Dining Halls’ allows students to view campus menus, track daily calorie intake and filter out specific foods based on dietary requirement and preference all in one place.
By combining EPOS systems, individual customer requirements and a loyalty scheme, Universities across the UK and globally have the potential to deliver ongoing innovation to their food outlets both practically and financially.