6 Business Takeaways from Top Restaurant Loyalty Programs

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If you’re like most people, you enjoy giving yourself a break from cooking every once in a while. That probably means that you like going out to eat any time the opportunity strikes. For those looking to make the most out of dining out, we reviewed 10 popular restaurant loyal programs that may be worth joining if you plan on being a repeat patron. For business owners looking to establish a loyalty program for their own local establishment, we compiled a list of key takeaways from these top franchise programs that may influence how you structure your own rewards system.

A review of 10 popular loyalty programs for restaurants:

1. TGI Friday’s

TGI Friday’s is an All-American chain restaurant that has been delighting people everywhere for decades. Its Friday’s rewards program is more than worth mentioning as well. If you register at your nearest TGI Friday’s location, you can get your hands on a coupon that’s good for a complimentary dessert or appetizer. You can rack up single points for each dollar you pay. You can put those points towards additional dishes that are part of the TGI Friday’s menu as well. What else makes this rewards program so exceptional? Members get free treats any time they show up. They get complimentary desserts for their birthdays, too. What’s the best part about this restaurant loyalty program? It gives members the chance to find out about brand new dishes before the rest of the general public. If you have children who aren’t exactly keen on waiting to to be seated, you can reap the rewards of the program’s “Jump the Line” feature.

2. Panera Bread

Are you searching high and low for loyalty programs for restaurants that are a bit more budget-friendly? If you are, then you should look straight at Panera Bread. “MyPanera” is a restaurant loyalty card that opens participants up to everything from complimentary baked goods to complimentary meals. It opens them up to the perks of event invites, free meal preparation books and the whole nine yards. There are roughly 21 million individuals who are part of this loyalty program now. Getting your hands on one of these cards is a piece of cake. All you have to do is request one when you go to a Panera Bread location. After you do that, you can set it up for use on the Internet. If you’re all about free mouthwatering pastries, you won’t be able to say no to this beloved rewards program.

3. Olive Garden

Olive Garden is a staple among fans of American takes on Italian culinary classics. The chain’s rewards program gives members instantaneous rewards of $5.00. If you want to register, all you have to do is provide your date of birth and contact details. Members essentially receive single points any time they use a dollar. You can set aside points any time you dine at any Olive Garden location. You can use your points at related dining establishments including the Longhorn Steakhouse.

4. P.F. Chang’s

P.F. Chang’s is a chic chain restaurant that specializes in tantalizing East Asian dishes of all sorts. Members of the restaurant’s rewards program rack up 10 points total any time they use a dollar. Once they get to 2,000 points, they’re eligible to relish free meals. Getting to 2,000 points isn’t as tough as you may think, either. Members automatically get 1,000 points to kick things off. What else makes this one of the finest loyalty programs for restaurants? It gives members access to amazing private tasting sessions.

5. Outback Steakhouse

Are you in the mood to chow down on hearty “Down Under” classics? If you are, you should focus on Outback Steakhouse’s well-known rewards program. This program is bundled into one that also covers Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Bonefish Grill and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. If you want to score a reward through this program, you must strive to go to these dining establishments on at least three occasions throughout the span of half a year. If you do that, you’ll get a 50 percent discount on a future meal.

6. California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen or “CPK” is known for pizza pies that have undeniable West Coast flairs. The restaurant’s rewards program is referred to as “Pizza Dough,” hilariously enough. If you set aside $100 for a meal at CPK, you get $5.00 in coveted Pizza Dough value. You can use this dough when you go back to the restaurant later. People who sign up can nosh on complimentary small plates right off the bat. They can get their hands on all sorts of bargains and deals as well. Don’t forget about the free birthday sweets.

7. Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe is a haven for families that adore dining together. “Landry’s Select Club” is the name of a rewards program that presents members with instant coupons that are good for $25.00. Members can rack up $25.00 any time their checks exceed $250.00. If you stop by Rainforest Cafe on your birthday, you can relish a gift of $25.00. Exclusive seating is even an option for devoted members. If you’re trying to find restaurant loyalty programs that are ideal for families with small children, this one may be right up your alley.

8. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse has a rewards program that can be amazing for people who adore sweets. What happens when you register for this program? You immediately receive a complimentary “pizookie” coupon. Members rack up single points any time they use $1.00 on BJ’s drinks or food items. Once you collect 100 points total, you can get a coupon for a generous $10.00 discount.

9. Denny’s

People who have penchants for diner food may want to sign up for Denny’s Rewards. This is a program that presents members with fast positives. Registering is simple. All you have to do is provide your date of birth and contact information. You’ll instantly receive a 20 percent discount that you can use once you come back.

10. Chili’s

Chili’s is a chain restaurant that’s known for All-American comfort classics of all kinds. It’s known for many Tex-Mex dishes specifically. If you’re searching high and low for restaurant loyalty programs that feature complimentary nonalcoholic drinks, salsa and chips, then this one may be ideal for you. Members get these freebies as the result of dining at Chili’s a minimum of once in two months. All you have to do is order a minimum of $5.00 value in food. There are other things that make this one a shining star among loyalty programs for restaurants. If you have children, you may be able to revel in complimentary kiddie desserts, starters and meals in general. You can stay on top of your rewards status with the assistance of a user-friendly app.

6 takeaways and customer loyalty program ideas for restaurants

Local dining establishments may be able to learn a lot from checking out successful rewards programs that are in place for major chains. If you want to discover effective customer loyalty program ideas for restaurants, then reading our guidance below can go a long way for you. There is no ‘right’ solution, but we wanted to offer some key takeaways from these larger restuarant brands:

Take a Straightforward and Basic Approach

You should steer clear of the temptation to devise a loyalty program that’s complex and confusing. The most effective restaurant loyalty programs tend to be the ones that are a cinch to comprehend. It can help to keep things classic and minimal. You may want to start with a program that revolves around letting customers rack up standard rewards points.

Consider Rewards That Do Not Involve Money in Any Way, Shape or Form

People aren’t joking when they say that money isn’t everything. Although there’s honestly no disputing that people adore discounts, there’s also no arguing that they appreciate the more thoughtful things in life. You may be able to emulate the finest loyalty programs for restaurants by presenting members with access to tasting events and gatherings of all sorts. Free meals and desserts can go a long way, too.

Go Digital

If you’re trying to find contemporary customer loyalty program ideas for restaurants, you should test out the digital realm. People nowadays adore the convenience of being able to stay on top of restaurant rewards online or through their mobile device. If you want to spare your program members a lot of stress, then it may help to give them digital features that enable them to rack up savings. It can be a hassle for a diner to have to think about a restaurant loyalty card that’s physical. Forgetting to bring, or worse losing, a punch card can be a huge buzzkill.

Request Honest Feedback From Your Existing Customers

The best restaurant loyalty programs are the ones that put diners first. If you’re trying to beat all of the finest loyalty programs for restaurants, then you should request honest feedback from any and all customers you already have. Find out about any savings opportunities that may seem appealing to them. Ask them if can give you suggestions that relate to collecting and redeeming points as well. Your objective should be to set up a loyalty program that can tick off your customers’ specific boxes.

You don’t have to limit yourself to requesting feedback from customers, either. If you have buddies or family members who love eating out on a frequent basis, ask them if they have any suggestions they can offer you.

Have Some Fun With Receipts

Restaurant loyalty programs that are particularly effective often revolve around receipts, believe it or not. Receipts make incredible dining establishment marketing devices of sorts. You should include pertinent details on your receipts that involve your loyalty program. Indicate that members can score prizes, freebies and bargains in general. You should even think seriously about include a scanning component on all of your receipts.

Give Yourself Plenty of Planning Time

If you want your local restaurant’s loyalty program to go off without a hitch, then it can help you significantly to zero in on all of these strategies. It can also help you considerably to go with your gut – your instincts may be a lot more reliable than you suspect. You probably have a lot of experience as a diner at restaurants. If you do, then you should ask yourself what you want out of meals in public. You should ask yourself what you want out of restaurant savings, too. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a while. Think at length about the rewards that appeal the most to you. You may be particularly fond of birthday desserts that are complimentary. You may have a penchant for the idea of discounts that are accessible right after members sign up initially. You should make a point to evaluate your rewards program approach consistently.

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