Consistently Great Experiences Trump Discounts: How to Retain Customer Loyalty in Your Fish and Chip Shop.
Charlie Bennett
November 1, 2023

A recent study from Zonal’s latest GO Technology report has delivered a clear and compelling message: the key to securing and nurturing customer loyalty lies in delivering consistently great experiences rather than relying solely on discounts or deals.


49% of people identified a few bad experiences as the top reason for why they would stop being loyal to a venue. Even a single poor encounter can turn away 24% of loyal customers.

Higher Expectations Resulting From the Cost-of-living Crisis.

52% of respondents noted an increase in their expectations due to the cost-of-living crisis. This percentage jumped to 64% among the 18 to 24-year-old demographic.

Other Factors Diminishing Loyalty

Other factors that eroded customer loyalty included raised prices (37%), a perceived lack of value for money (24%), and the venue’s involvement in controversy (23%).

Loyalty Schemes

Interestingly, loyalty schemes were not identified as primary factors driving customer loyalty. However, 58% of respondents still found these schemes to represent good value for money. Nearly half, 47%, had joined a loyalty scheme primarily to save money.

Olivia FitzGerald, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Zonal, stressed the significance of consistently delivering exceptional experiences, stating, “Consistently great experiences are the key to success. Having a digital loyalty tool in place makes it easy for operators to control accruals, rewards, and redemptions, even for completely bespoke schemes.”

Karl Chessell, Director – Hospitality Operators and Food, EMEA, CGA by NIQ, added, “Consumers are ready and willing to stay loyal to their favorite brands or venues, but they also know that if they don’t get what they want, then there are plenty of other options to choose from. This research makes clear that operators have no shortcuts to loyalty: it can’t be achieved overnight or bought.”

In Summary…

This study highlights the importance of focusing on consistently delivering top-notch customer experiences, meeting and exceeding the expectations of patrons, and maintaining fair pricing. While loyalty schemes can be a useful tool, they should be seen as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, a positive and friendly customer experience.

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