Simple Tips On How To Grow A Restaurant VIP Club

restaurantvipIt just hurts me to see restaurants to not be able to grow their VIP Club membership as fast as they could. Having experienced a sluggish growth of their membership, or no growth for a long time, many restaurant owners abandon the whole idea of VIP Club. Almost always, prematurely.

Which is sad. Because there is not a faster, easier, or more profitable way to grow restaurant sales than a Restaurant VIP Club.

The following is a short — and by no means complete — list of tips to help you dramatically accelerate the growth of your VIP Club list and of your restaurant business:

1. Offer a clear benefit

Placing a little fishbowl at the cash register is not enough. Sure, some people will drop their business card in there. But don’t expect your guests to line up and trip over themselves at a chance to get on your list. You need to offer a clear benefit to them, the benefit they will realize by joining your VIP Club.

2. Train your staff

Your staff should be doing the sales work for your VIP Club.  Nothing in this world, including your VIP Club, sells by itself.  And your staff will fail, quit, and sabotage your vision unless they believe they can sell what you’re asking them to sell. Keep it simple and leave no room for improvisation. Write a script, rehearse and role-play it until it becomes automatic and natural.

3. Get a buy-in from your staff

We’ve seen restaurants where the staff were refusing to sell the restaurant’s VIP Club to the patrons because they perceived that to be some sort of a “gocha”, a marketing ploy. Your job as a restaurant owner or manager is to educate and inspire your troops and to help them see the good that your patrons gain from belonging to VIP club.

4. Motivate your staff

Why not set up a contest for your waitstaff and have them compete for the most new VIP Club enrollments? Obviously, you can’t have such a competition with no buy-in from your staff in the first place. (See #3 above.)

5. Set up special events

The calendar should be your biggest friend. It gives you virtually endless opportunities to piggy-back and capitalize on some major and not-so-major holidays. As I’m writing this, The Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Do you have anything special happening at your restaurant that week? No? Boo to you!  And if you missed that opportunity, no fear. Because you can always create your own holiday, any day. Go to This Day In History page, pick the month and the date, find an event you could connect to your brand, food, character, heritage or the latest news item related to your restaurant, and create an event around it.

By growing your restaurant’s VIP Club membership, you can reduce the need to advertse, have more control over the type of customers you attract, and dramatically improve the profitability of your restaurant business.  And in order to grow the membership fast, you need to follow a few simple (albeit not necessarily easy) rules.


Say "enough's enough" to half-empty dining rooms, humdrum shifts, and wondering which half of your marketing budget was wasted.

73% of teenagers and adults are walking around with a smartphone (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry) in their back pocket. They use is for everything: Playing games, checking emails, texting their friends and ... googling your restaurant's website. If your website is not mobile ready, you're missing out on a lot of walk-ins. Download our Restaurant Commando's Mobile Readiness Checklist.

Watch this quick video about how to set up a Birthday Club that practically runs on an auto-pilot. This is going to be the easiest, fastest money you will ever create in you restaurant business.

About Chief Commando

Well, actually, Chief Commando is two people, Troy Authement and Alex Makarski. Troy and Alex combined their knowledge and experience to help independent restaurant owners and emerging chains create more growth and more profits in their businesses. Together, they provide a unique blend of expertise not available anywhere else in the industry.

, , ,

5 Responses to Simple Tips On How To Grow A Restaurant VIP Club

  1. babatunde raji November 8, 2010 at 6:30 PM #

    its an infant restaurant with an ash economy and a very rugged competion lying out there. in identification off my needs, cheaper quality of food r what the environ demanded most, but my style is a bit more expensive,with a total dimension from the immediate people on ground. although, a wider and promising market lye up there if being giving an effective analytical marketin. cry is on how i can be guided appropraitel on how to hit the target audience. however, mind you, my fanancial status catis a bit pulling in order to setup an effective apparatus to exploit, eg; brandind materails and dedicated passionate worker. pls, do give me an insight.

  2. lydia January 2, 2011 at 5:21 PM #

    we do not offer a VIP program but I am interested in reading more on your site about it. I am planning for the new year and am trying to find January holidays that I can “piggy back” on… all I can think of is a Superbowl special for to go appetizers. Any ideas?

  3. Kelvin March 17, 2011 at 8:14 AM #

    I will look forward some VIP program towards your restaurant in future

  4. Robb March 21, 2011 at 9:45 PM #

    Hi Chief Commando,

    Great post about VIP programs and the challenges in getting sign ups. In most places it is a manual process requiring the dedication and by-in like you describe. Owners have passion for what they do that takes time to pass to servers. The iPad App we provide takes some of the manual work out of the process altogether. Busy restaurants use our iPad or iPhone App to manage their wait list. We take the place of pagers by using SMS to notify guests when it is time to be seated. We don’t spam anyone, but we do automatically send a followup thank you text with an invitation to become a VIP. Its simple and automatic. We are getting double digit response rates! It is a great tool to throw into the mix in addition to all the great techniques you make above. See a demo at

  5. Kamilah October 26, 2011 at 6:22 AM #

    This is a superb piece, I found your weblog browsing google for a related theme and came to this. I couldnt come across to much additional information on this piece, so it was pleasant to locate this one. I will certainly end up being back again to check out some other posts that you have another time. Exciting will be the entertainment of delight along with totally principal category of lifestyle, familiar in order to everyone at a glance into the animal level. Entertaining might be came across in many human being pursuits throughout work, interpersonal functions, entertainment along with enjoy, and even apparently routine activities regarding daily life. The distinction in between satisfaction and also entertaining is difficult in order to articulate yet actual,[2] enjoyable like a more quickly arranged, fun, or even lively function

Leave a Reply