My shout

'There's still a place for loyalty at my bar'...a Yorkshire licensee's view

By Ashley McCarthy

- Last updated on GMT

'There's still a place for loyalty at my bar'...a Yorkshire licensee's view

Related tags Sun

It was interesting reading an article the other day that said loyalty has had its day.

I disagree. Yes, customers have got loyalty cards for every establishment going, with discount vouchers for many retailers just a download away or by showing their smartphone on arrival; every time consumers click on their email, there are hundreds of offers competing for their attention; and the big brands have monopolised the email capture system for sure — but is that not what it’s all about?

We have had a loyalty scheme in place here at the Sun for many years, previously via external companies, but we now deal with everything in house via our EPoS system and have done for a number of years.

But as a stand-alone business, how can I compete and run a profitable and successful loyalty scheme in this saturated market?

Easy — we have a great venue, serve fantastic beer (and food) by a well-mannered and professional team — a fantastic way to get people to remember you and drive loyalty through return visits. All the emails, text messages and postcards are just a tool to remind people you are there.

Each guest is treated as a person — it makes them feel special

We know our strengths (and weaknesses) and play to win. We offer what we know cannot be matched by other businesses, local to us and afar. We are quick to act with the required incentive or memory jog when we feel the business needs a particular boost.

We have all the information here at our fingertips and can access our database of guests at the push of a button. As the guest dines with us, we store information on the types of beer, wine and food they choose and pop notes on to their account to help with future mail outs. Each guest is treated as a person with their likes and dislikes remembered.

Every guest profile is brought up as they book so we automatically know they like to sit at table number five, for example, they enjoy a great Rioja and dined with us when we had a power cut that Saturday in November. It makes them feel special — that’s what we can offer.

Loyalty is a valuable tool for every business that utilises it correctly. Our team has been paramount in driving it and helping us collect as much information from the customer without being obtrusive and downright pushy.

Being able to control this has helped us reach new heights that other companies selling their services can only dream of.

We know and understand our business, we know and understand our customers too; they have a number of options to choose from when eating and drinking out — we need to make sure they think of us. Loyalty is alive and well.

Ashley McCarthy is licensee at Ye Old Sun Inn, Colton, North Yorkshire

Related topics Marketing

Related news

Show more