Encouraging Results from Loyalogy’s LoyaltyPulse Study – Good News for Restaurant Companies

Happy Couple Enjoying a Meal and Earning Restaurant Rewards

We’ve received quite a bit of positive feedback regarding the results of our LoyaltyPulse research study which tracked consumer attitudes and behavior regarding restaurant loyalty/rewards programs. This is one of the latest bits of interpretation and feedback from Loyalty Truth and its principal Bill Hanafin, a loyalty-marketing veteran. Here’s an excerpt from the Loyalty Truth piece:

The challenges of creating customer loyalty in the restaurant business – especially the quick serve sector – are many. Businesses with high frequency visit environments lend themselves to traditional loyalty program structures, but a small average transaction size means that awarding a customer with a 1-5% rebate doesn’t add up to much. That’s part of the reason so many restaurant chains still rely on a punch card style solution for customer loyalty. Add in the complexities of a franchise system, where multiple business owners have to be convinced of the same customer engagement and retention plan, and even the a well prepared strategy can run into low adoption rates across the business.

Given the challenges, it was heartening to read the results of the LoyaltyPulse survey, which tracked consumer attitudes towards loyalty programs in the dining sector. The report was sponsored by Loyalogy, a provider of loyalty program consulting services and its principal, Dennis Duffy, is a highly credible source of knowledge and experience in the industry.

Read the full article at Loyalty Truth »

Restaurant Loyalty/Rewards Programs as a Consistent Anchor in Restaurant Marketing

Experts in Restaurant Loyalty Programs

A recent article in Restaurant Hospitality points out that restaurant loyalty programs are effective at generating incremental business. We know from our research and experience that loyalty programs are an important ‘anchor’ in a restaurant marketing mix. There is always a place for promotions and depending upon the brand, deals. But promotions and deals in the absence of a longer-term approach to marketing that also generates behavior insights (visits and spending) leave one wondering ‘what did that do for us?’ and ‘what’s next?’.

An excerpt from the Restaurant Hospitality piece:

Full-service operators know that short-term specials and deals will give their restaurants a temporary revenue boost. But findings from a new study indicate that restaurants can use tried-and-true customer loyalty programs to build and retain a customer base without relying on costly dollars-off promotions.

Read the full story at Restaurant Hospitality Here ».

Hard Rock Rewards

Hard Rock Rewards Logo

An integrated loyalty/rewards programs that provides opportunities to earn at participating resorts, hotels and cafe’s, potential room upgrades in hotels, potential priority seating at cafe’s and more. This program just launched at the beginning of 2013. Here’s an excerpt from the press release at PR Newswire [click here to read the full release].

Hard Rock International – with locations from London to New York, Singapore and Dubai – today announced the launch of its new global loyalty program, Hard Rock Rewards™, a unified guest affinity program developed to recognize and reward Hard Rock’s dedicated fans with exclusive privileges, when they stay and play at participating Cafes, Rock Shops, Hotels and Casinos worldwide. With two levels of participation available, Hard Rock fans have the choice of joining Hard Rock Rewards for free, or upgrading to the VIP level of membership for exclusive perks and benefits fit for a rock-star. All new members have the chance to win one of a kind experiences that rock, such as an all-expense paid trip to Hard Rock Hotel Orlando – to enjoy the Hotel California-inspired vibe and VIP access to Universal Studios theme park.

There’s a free level in Hard Rock Rewards and a VIP level that requires a $24.99 fee. Below is a comparison chart that provides a snapshot of the benefits associated with the free and VIP levels:

Hard Rock Rewards Comparison Chart

For more information, visit the Hard Rock Rewards website.


MyPanera Rewards – The Panera Card – Panera Bread Company

When this program rolled out a few years ago, it introduced an alternative concept for restaurant rewards programs built around the concept of surprise.  Here’s some of the language used to describe the program at MyPanera.com:


Enjoying the surprises we’ve sent your way so far? We have lots more planned, and we think you’ll love what’s in store. From complimentary items in the bakery-cafe to exclusive tastings and demonstrations, MyPanera is always thinking of unique ways to thank you.

The more you visit, the more surprises you can get (just when you least expect them)!

Panera Bread Company emphasizes the strategic importance of their rewards program and the data derived from the program.  The data is of strategic advantage in understanding guest behavior and using targeted and relevant communication and promotion to drive incremental revenue.

Using some excerpts from Panera’s 2011 annual report, following are examples of Panera emphasizing the strategic important of their rewards program – not just another short-term promotion:

“Specifically in 2011, we benefitted from our investments in five key areas: the quality of our food, our increased marketing expenditures, the rollout of our MyPanera loyalty program, the growth of our catering business, and the quality of our operations and our people.”

“The real value of the loyalty program is the customer data that we have been able to collect. We have begun testing the use of this data to increase frequency and are beginning the journey of moving to true one-to-one marketing. For example, we are creating individual reward tracks for all 9.5 million members of our loyalty program, and expect to send to our customers more than 6.5 million unique e-mails each month with dynamic content that changes based on their interests and buying patterns.”

Restaurant companies participating in the loyalty/rewards space or contemplating an entry into that space would be wise to study the strategic role of a loyalty/rewards program as an integral and potentially central element in their overall marketing mix.



For more information on MyPanera Rewards, visit the MyPanera Rewards website.

The Palm 837 Club

The Palm’s 837 Club is one of those restaurant loyalty programs that have been around so long that it’s been a model for other restaurants to use when contemplating and developing their own restaurant loyalty programs. The 837 Club is one of the early models that proved the viability of membership fees in rewards programs.

From the company’s website:

We often say that The Palm isn’t a chain – it’s a family. This is true for our staff members, our customers, and for the extended family of loyal patrons who participate in The Palm’s 837 Club.

The 837 Club is our way of giving back to the guests who keep coming back. Once you become a member, you’ll receive Club Points every time you visit The Palm that can be redeemed for special rewards ranging from a complimentary dessert to a weekend getaway for two. A one-time fee of $25 earns you membership and a $25 gift card towards your next Palm meal or happy hour bar visit. You’ll also receive our members-only newsletter, Just Rewards, an insider’s guide to The Palm featuring the latest news plus members only offers and events.

The structure of the program is a classic points to rewards model, in which points are banked and converted to rewards when the member decides to convert to rewards. You can save the points, you can redeem the points. Some members in programs like this accumulate so many points that they need high-end rewards as a target to save for. And there is no shortage of those high-end rewards in the 837 Club. Under the current program structure you can get anything from an appetizer or dessert at the 250 point level to a $200 Tiffany and Company Gift card at the 2,000 point level to a 4-day/3-night trip for two to France’s Baron Eric De Rothschild’s private chateau at the 150,000 level.



For more information, visit The Palm 837 Club Website.

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