How Did Restaurant Loyalty Programs Start?
Loyalty programs have existed for a long, only in different forms. Though it is difficult to know which restaurant exactly started the loyalty program, we can go back to see when and how this idea of rewarding customer loyalty actually kicked in.
- We could trace it to the 1700s when retailers in America offered copper tokens to customers on every purchase. The customers would exchange these tokens on their next purchase.
- Seeing the popularity among customers, more retailers followed the practice, and that's how loyalty program was adopted as a marketing strategy.
- When in the late 19th century, green shield stamps replaced copper tokens as they were far more expensive.
- In this rewards program, customers get free stamps on every purchase. They would paste these stamps into a notebook and redeem them at grocery stores and gas stations.
- It was in 1929, a popular baking company in America, Betty Crocker, started box top stamps. Now, instead of loose stamps, these were affixed to the top of their cake mix boxes. The customers used these to redeem their rewards. This was the beginning of the loyalty program incorporation.
- And then more c Best Restaurant Loyalty Programs companies followed it. In the early 1980s, American Airlines, to reward customer loyalty, launched its first free miles rewards program. The fliers were given free miles which were redeemable on their next ticket.
- In late 1990s , a UK based supermarket launched loyalty cards , where members got points for every dollar spent .
- With advancement in technology, credit card based rewards programs became popular in 2000s. Several big brands joined the loyalty program to reward customer loyalty . The deal was to promote credit card payments. If the shopper paid using a credit card , they would earn points or issued bonus points that were redeemable on their next purchase. Some brands also offered coupons of fast food chains on credit card payments.
Do Restaurant Loyalty Programs Benefit The Customer or Business?
- In business, if it has survived, that's because it benefits both the parties! As far as loyalty program is concerned, we have seen they are there since 1700s and for the absolute reason that it benefits boththe company and its customers!
- The fact that there are over 3.3 billion loyalty memberships in the US till 2020, as reported by the Forbes, proves that rewards programs are beneficial for boththe customers and the business.
- The Pareto principle, 80% of the company's revenue come from 20% customers. Rewards programs help you focus on that group of loyal customers. In fact, research shows that the chances to sell to the existing customer are 60-70% more than the new customer.
- Starbucks generated nearly 50% of their revenue through its restaurant loyalty programStarbucks rewards program .
There are so many restaurant loyalty programs that a customer can sign up for but which are the best restaurant loyalty programs for you?
Which one is right for you?
Some Of The Best Restaurant Loyalty Programs
It won't be wrong to say that more than half of the fast-food chains have loyalty programs or rewards programs. Some might offer you bonus points on the basis of the amount spent. While others give you chance to earn points on visits per month.
For instance, Chick Fil-A, one of the largest fast-food chains in the USA, has a multi-tiered rewards program. In the first level, Chick Fil-A members get 10 points for every dollar spent which can be redeemed on the next order. Once the chick fil one member reaches the next level. Chick Fila-A silver members get 11 points for every dollar spent, and an option to give rewards to family and friends. And, the bonus points and rewards increase as the members climb the further levels.
Every fast-food restaurant chain has tailor-made its restaurant loyalty program on the basis of its nature, size, and scale.
Some of the best restaurant loyalty programs are -
Chipotle rewards program
Starbucks rewards program
Dunkin Donuts rewards program
Pizza Hut rewards program
Chipotle Rewards Program
- Chipotle, an fast food restaurant chain, has a highly famous loyalty program. Its rewards program has about 24 million users.
- How does it work? Simple- Eat, Earn and Enjoy! You can order in the restaurant or through its mobile app. Members get 10 points for every dollar spent. These points can be redeemed on the next order.
- Also, every time rewards program members reach 1250 points, they get a free entree.
- Just last year, in September 2021, Chipotle announced Extras in its rewards program as it surpassed $2 billion digital sales mark. Chipotle Extras allows members earn bonus points and collect badges.
- Chipotle rewards program members can visit their website or mobile app to earn points and more!
Starbucks Rewards Program
- Starbucks sets the example of one of the Best Loyalty programs. Starbucks rewards program had nearly 20 million active users till last year, accounting for nearly 50% of revenue as of October 2020.
- One of the reasons behind the success story of the Starbucks Customer Loyalty program is that it focused on customer experience and finding ways to align their business goal with their customer loyalty program.
- Starbucks has a multi-tiered loyalty program . Instead of points or badges, members get stars on every purchase, which can be redeemed once you reach the specific level. For instance, you can get free brewed or a cupcake when you have collected 50 stars. With 200 stars, members get lunch sandwich or salad box.
- Another reason why Starbucks loyalty program is so successful is a user friendly mobile app , which lets members see how many stars have they earned and how much more they need for the next tier.
Figuring out which restaurant loyalty program to sign up for is exhausting.
There are so many programs to choose from and they all offer different perks and benefits. Which one is right for you?
Dunkin Donuts Rewards Program
- Dunkin Donuts launched its customer loyalty program- DD perks rewards program in 2014, where every member can earn five points on per dollar spent . Dunkin Donuts members can earn using its Loyalty Cards at the store or via mobile app .
- You will be entitled to free beverage of any size upon taking a membership of the DD perks loyalty program , on your birthday and when on collecting 200 rewards or bonus points .
To read more , click here Small Business
Pizza Hut Rewards Program
Pizza Hut has a spend-based Restaurant Loyalty rewards program, where members get 2 points on per dollar spent online or via their mobile app . On 200 points ,members get a free medium pizza with unlimited toppings. And on 250 Hut Rewards program points. Members get a free large pizza with unlimited toppings.
To know more, click on Loyalty
If you're a restaurant owner, your loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business.
Yet, you want to make sure that your customer feels appreciated.