Sweetgreen Rewards

Sweetgreen Rewards HeaderSweetgreen Rewards Header

Sweetgreen, a Washington D.C. based fast casual restaurant recently launched its ‘Sweetgreen Rewards’ program – an example of the convergence of loyalty/rewards programs and mobile payments.  First, a little background on Sweetgreen with locations in D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia:

Sweetgreen is a place where you can get fun, fashionable food that’s both healthy for you and aligned with your values. Simply stated… food that fits.

  • We source local and organic ingredients from farmers we know.
  • We leave a gentle footprint to protect our planet.
  • We share fun, food, music, and ideas with our friends.
  • We build meaningful relationships with those around us.

Download the app, join the program, register a form of payment and you’re good to go. Pay with your phone, earn rewards and ‘give back’ (they have a ‘1% Healthy Schools’ program).

The Sweetgreen app is the first white-label app running on LevelUp. This means that all of the back-end components like loyalty tracking, customer analytics, engagement tools, and security are powered by LevelUp’s payment infrastructure.

We’ll be watching this and other programs that combine rewards related to dining and rewards related to how you pay for dining.  The ultimate examination is to determine what percentage of a restaurant’s guest base will change how they pay to earn rewards.

For more information, visit the Sweetgreen website.

PLAYSTUDIOS and Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group Announce Social Gaming Strategic Partnership within myVEGAS Player Rewards Program

Members can earn exclusive Wolfgang Puck dining rewards by playing myVEGAS on Facebook

Burlingame, CA and Las Vegas, NVFebruary 12, 2013 – PLAYSTUDIOS, a game development company focusing on free-to-play casino games, today announced the launch of their newest myVEGAS Rewards Program partner, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, in the quest to expand its existing portfolio of leisure-based offerings.  With today’s partnership launch, all myVEGAS members will be able to earn an unprecedented selection of valuable, real-world rewards from Wolfgang Puck by playing an ever-growing collection of online slot and table games.

“The addition of the Wolfgang Puck dining experience provides players valuable rewards that they’re highly interested in receiving, and complements our current rewards program offering in myVEGAS, which include some of the most unique incentives ever offered through a social game platform.  We are excited to introduce Wolfgang Puck to our players,” said Andrew Pascal, founder, president and chief executive officer of PLAYSTUDIOS.

PLAYSTUDIOS brings loyal players the best of everything from Las Vegas, and establishes partnerships with select companies who are also dedicated to excellence in entertainment and fine living. myVEGAS is the only casino game destination on Facebook where players can redeem points for free Las Vegas rooms, meals, show tickets and more from some of the hottest resorts in town, including ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus.

“We’re privileged that our reputation for award-winning restaurants is well-known among customers worldwide, and we anticipate that our partnership with myVEGAS Rewards Program will help to further strengthen our guest reach,” said David Robins, Managing Partner, Wolfgang  Puck Fine Dining Group. “We look forward to a long-standing relationship with myVEGAS.”

Wolfgang Puck Rewards in myVEGAS include:

A complimentary order of Puck’s famous truffled potato chips at the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in the MGM Grand.

Enjoy Wolfgang’s signature, wood-oven baked Margherita pizza at the rustic and warm Italian restaurant, Crystals at CityCenter.

Burning the midnight oil? Fuel your energy with a meal at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill from our unique late night menu featuring dinner and breakfast favorites.

Let the chef and sommelier create a perfect pairing for your dinner for two at Crystals located in CityCenter.

Enjoy a three-course chef’s tasting menu at Master Chef Wolfgang Puck’s signature Italian restaurant Trattoria del Lupo at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Enjoy a custom-created chef’s tasting menu with wine pairing and exclusive tour of our kitchen from the executive chef at Trattoria del Lupo.

For additional myVEGAS Rewards Program information, please visit: http://www.myvegas.com.

Start earning rewards and experience the thrill of Las Vegas online by visiting myVEGAS now: https://apps.facebook.com/playmyvegas.


PLAYSTUDIOS is a developer of engaging casual games for the world’s largest social platforms. Founded by a team of experienced gaming and technology entrepreneurs, PLAYSTUDIO’s first free-to-play application, myVEGAS, combines the best elements of popular social games with established gambling mechanics. Players enjoy an ever-growing collection of slot and table games and the opportunity to earn an unprecedented selection of valuable, real-world rewards. In creating myVEGAS, PLAYSTUDIOS has partnered with MGM Resorts International and its portfolio of the most recognized resorts in the industry, including ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus.

Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group

The award-winning restaurants include Spago (Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Maui and Beaver Creek); CUT (Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Marina Bay Sands Singapore, 45 Park Lane London); Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles); Chinois (Santa Monica); Postrio Bar & Grill (Las Vegas); Trattoria del Lupo (Las Vegas); Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (Las Vegas and Los Angeles); Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina (Las Vegas and Detroit); Wolfgang Puck American Grille at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City; The Source by Wolfgang Puck at the Newseum in Washington, DC; Five Sixty atop Reunion Tower in Dallas, TX; WP24 at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles and Wolfgang Puck Steak at MGM Grand Detroit. For more information, please visit www.wolfgangpuck.com.

Press Contacts:

Kate Pietrelli


(760) 518-2633


Restaurant.com Launches New Rewards Program

Restaurant Dot Com Rewards Logo

In case you’re not familiar with Restaurant.com, here’s a summary of what they do, from their website:

We Help Communities Thrive and Prosper

Restaurant.com enables local restaurants and small businesses to give diners the best deal on every meal. We help diners find and use local restaurants, driving new customers and bringing back old ones, providing great value to the diner, and strengthening local economies. Restaurant.com Gift Certificates match diners with great savings at new restaurants. Your favorite restaurant is in your neighborhood – maybe you just don’t know it yet. Restaurant.com is here to help.

So this new rewards program of theirs may have some interesting appeal. We know from our LoyaltyPulse research study that 73% of consumers would like one rewards program that is honored at multiple restaurant brands. The local aspect may have some legs with certain consumers as well, as the ‘buy local’ trend gets greater traction. The key to this program is whether or not the value proposition is strong enough and certain enough. We also know from our research that 4 out of 5 consumers prefer a clearly-defined rewards program proposition over periodic surprises. Here’s a sentence lifted directly from the Restaurant.com Rewards Program’s terms and conditions:

The primary Rewards are virtual recognitions such as badges and status levels.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release about the new program:

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (February 7, 2013) – Restaurant.com, the nation’s largest dining deals site, announced the launch of a new rewards program which enables participants to earn points, badges, and advance on the Restaurant.com Rewards Leaderboard. Diners earn rewards by shopping, sharing on social channels and participating in promotions. The game-like rewards experience highlights and enhances the thousands of dining opportunities Restaurant.com has to offer.

“Restaurant.com Rewards offers a variety of fun interactive perks for shoppers,” said Christopher Krohn, President and CMO, Restaurant.com. “We are excited to provide our customers yet another way to discover amazing dining discounts and be rewarded for their engagement and loyalty.”

Restaurant.com customers can begin playing immediately by logging into their account. When they complete a reward-worthy action, participants receive a message of congratulations as well as a clue about what to do next to achieve additional points and badges. Customers start at the “Newbie” level and continue to “level-up” as they earn points and complete fun shopping “missions.”

Restaurant.com will also host a range of playful promotions and sweepstakes through its rewards program. As customers progress their way up toward higher levels, they unlock additional badges and may earn special surprises such as free Restaurant.com gift certificates and other rewards. From now through February 15, 2013, Restaurant.com Rewards participants can earn the “Nifty Fifty” badge with the chance to win a year’s supply of $50.00 eCertificates (12 free $50 eCertificates). Restaurant.com will reveal other limited edition special badges to participants throughout the year.

Stay tuned.  For more information, check out the Rewards Section at the Restaurant.com website.

McCormick & Schmick’s Rewards

McCormick & Schmicks Store Front

The former McCormick & Schmick’s Preferred Guest program converted to the Landry’s Select Club at the end of 2012. Landry’s Select Club is the single, multi-brand restaurant loyalty rewards program that allows members to earn and redeem at more than 400 locations in 31 states throughout the United States. We know from our LoyaltyPulse national study of consumer attitudes and behavior relating to restaurant rewards programs that 73% of consumers want a rewards program honored at multiple restaurant brands. Good news for McCormick & Schmick’s and Landry’s Select Club. Member’s be be more happy with the expanded versatility of their program.

Here’s a little bit about McCormick & Schmicks:

Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick teamed up in the 1970s before going on to establish more than 80 restaurants throughout the country. Over time, McCormick & Schmick’s became the nation’s premier family of seafood restaurants. The combination of an open imagination and a respect for tradition is what makes McCormick & Schmick’s the classic and successful business that it is today.

Each McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant is uniquely designed to create an inviting, original and relaxed atmosphere, where guests can enjoy the highest quality dining experience. Our restaurants are situated in a broad array of locations – from downtown urban cores to suburban retail-driven centers.

Each McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant’s menu is printed twice daily, featuring the signature “Fresh List” highlighting an impressive number of fresh seafood varieties, in addition to aged steaks, poultry, entrée salads and pasta. McCormick & Schmick’s commitment to local freshness is apparent in the seasonally inspired dishes and regionally inspired preparations offered.

Click here to visit the McCormick & Schmick’s website, or here to visit Landry’s Select Club.


Louisville Originals Restaurant Rewards

Louisville Originals Member Rewards Card

We know from our LoyaltyPulse research study that 73% of consumers want one restaurant rewards program that is honored by multiple restaurant brands. The folks at Louisville Originals know that from experience with their multiple-restaurant coalition program. Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Originally begun as a marketing consortium of local independent restaurants that sold gift certificates online every three months, the Louisville Originals program is now best known for its rewards program that enters its fifth year giving 22,554 cardholders credits at member eateries.

“I think we were very hopeful” that the local marketing program would take off, board secretary Kerry DeMuth said, “but you have no way of knowing in these types of things.”

While Louisville Originals has gift certificate programs as well, “I think the rewards (card) programs would be, by far and away, the most popular with customers,” said Siobhan Reidy, an Originals co-founder who owns the Irish Rover restaurants with her husband Michael Reidy.

For every dollar spent at one of the restaurants, card holders get one point. At 150 points, card holders gt a $10 gift certificate — maintained on the card — to use at any of the restaurants. Double points are offered the first Tuesday of the month. There is a 500 point cap for any one visit and no more than $100 in credits can be redeemed by any one person in a visit.

Read the full article at Louisville Courier-Journal and learn more about Louisville Originals at the program website.

My Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks Retail Location Image

Starbucks has been very successful with My Starbucks Rewards. The integration of loyalty, prepaid and mobile is a powerful combination. Here is an excerpt from an article at FastCasual.com, quoting Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:

Overall, the Starbucks gift card accounts for 25 percent of U.S. tender, Schultz said. He noted that the Starbucks gift card was likely the most popular gift item of the 2012 holiday season. More than $1 billion was loaded onto Starbucks gift cards in the quarter (a 25 percent increase over the same period last year), and one in 10 adults in the U.S. received one as a gift.

What’s more, 20 percent of card transactions at Starbucks locations were conducted using the mobile app, Shultz said. Over 7 million customers now use one of our mobile payment apps, translating into 2.1 million mobile payment transactions each week, with hundreds of thousands of additional Starbucks mobile app downloads each week.

It wasn’t just about payments either. The integration of the Starbucks loyalty card with the payment app meant that the company added 1.4 million members in Q1 of 2013. That’s an increase of 86 percent over last year’s 778,000 new members for the same quarter, Schultz said.

Clearly, loyalty plays a strategic role at Starbucks. They ‘get it’ – loyalty is a strategic game changer.

Here’s a little more about My Starbucks Rewards, from the website:


“Earn 1 Star every time you pay with your registered Starbucks Card or Starbucks mobile app at a participating Starbucks or our online store. As you collect Stars, you move up to bigger benefits. Get started by registering a Starbucks Card.

Use your card once, earn your first reward. Sweet!

  • Something to Drink or Eat On Your Birthday. Get a little extra birthday love with a free drink or food reward on your big day.

Five Stars puts you at Green. Besides your free birthday drink or food reward, you also earn:

  • Free Refills in the Store. We want you to feel at home when you’re at Starbucks. Paying with your registered Starbucks Card gets you brewed and iced coffee and tea refills at no charge during your visit at a participating store.

Collect 30 Stars within 12 months and you’re Gold. Once you reach Gold, keep those benefits for another 12 months by earning another 30 Stars. With Gold, you get all the Welcome and Green benefits plus:

  • Free Drink or Food Reward Every 12 Stars. Use your Starbucks Card 12 times and the next one’s on us.
  • Personalized Gold Card. Your barista will know you’re somebody special when you place an order.”

For more information, visit the Starbucks Rewards Website.


Dunkin’ Donuts to Rollout Loyalty Rewards Program

Dunkin Donuts Logo

News hit today about the intentions of Dunkin Donuts to rollout a national customer loyalty program sometime in 2013. Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) plans to launch a loyalty-rewards program at Dunkin’ Donuts later this year, a few paces behind Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) and Panera Bread Co. (PNRA), which have seen significant sales boosts from offering frequency perks in the past couple years.

Last year, Dunkin’ came out with a mobile-payment application, allowing customers to pay with their Dunkin’ Donuts account using their smart phones. The app, which was intended to preface a new loyalty program, was a major step in Dunkin’s new digital-marketing strategy.

“The real power of mobile and loyalty is the one-to-one marketing that they can enable,” said Chief Executive Nigel Travis. “I believe they will be significant drivers of our growth in the next few years.”

Dunkin’ Brands, which also owns the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream chain, reported that sales at established U.S. locations of both chains exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter. The company’s shares rose 3% to $36.88, nearly double the stock’s price of its initial public offering in July 2011.

A few years ago, Dunkin’ offered various rewards for using a Dunkin’ prepaid card through a partnership with American Express, such as adding $5 to customers’ Dunkin’ cards for every $25 that they automatically loaded using their Amex cards.

In April 2011, that was replaced with Dunkin’s first national loyalty program that was a bit less enticing, giving customers $1 for every $20 they spent on a Dunkin’ Donuts prepaid card, and double the reward if the card was auto-recharged at least once a month.

That program was phased out at the end of 2011, in anticipation of launching one compatible with its new mobile app and the new sales technology that it put in its stores.

“While it’s too early for me to outline in detail what you’ll see from us, I can tell you we will have a robust loyalty program focused on driving changes in consumer behavior in frequency, ticket, loyalty and how they pay,” Mr. Travis said.

We know from our nationwide consumer study on attitudes and behavior relating to restaurant loyalty/rewards program (LoyaltyPulse) that effective restaurant rewards programs may generate incremental sales of 35%. But sales generated by a loyalty program are just one aspect of the benefits of loyalty marketing. The data derived from restaurant loyalty programs becomes a strategic advantage in understanding guest behavior and using that data to deliver promotions that are more relevant to each guest, making those promotions far more effective.

Note this statement from CEO Nigel Travis:

The real power of mobile and loyalty is the one-to-one marketing that they can enable. I believe they will be significant drivers of our growth in the next few years.

No surprise from our perspective. Our proprietary research shows that consumers seek relevant promotion with respect to restaurant loyalty/rewards programs. In our nationwide survey of 1,124 consumers about their attitudes about loyalty programs:

• 69% state they would like to receive e-mails with discount offers on specific food and beverage items they have ordered in the past.
• 66% state that they would like to receive e-mails with offers of value relating to a rewards program in which they participate.

Also, we’ve previously seen and reported on comments made by Panera regarding the impetus behind the MyPanera Rewards Card program. This is an excerpt from Panera’s 2011 annual report:

“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.”

Watch for more developments in the restaurant loyalty/rewards space. Companies large and small will make the move, knowing restaurant rewards programs are not simply tactics, but strategies that, when approached properly and executive well, become ‘game changers’. Got game?

For more information, read the full article at the Wall Street Journal.