Loyalty Programs Don’t Cut it Anymore

Restaurants live in a day where simple loyalty programs no longer cut it when it comes to customer retention. Customers expect much more than merely filling in a punch pass for a free meal. If fast casual restaurants don’t have the most up-to-date tech package with a loyalty program that tracks and anticipates the customers’ needs, they are on a quick path to the back of the food chain. 

Loyalty programs started out as a way to gain “loyal” customers (hence the name), and restaurants simply gave customers the opportunity to create an account and track rewards. However, with increasing customer expectations, gaining true loyalty is much easier said than done and takes more than a rewards system. 

Successful loyalty programs and why they work


Starbucks app ranked first in popularity in a recent survey (2019) of food delivery and restaurant loyalty apps. According to a recent case study, loyalty members represent 40 percent of sales in the United States. A survey conducted by Manifest in 2018 showed Starbucks as the most regularly used rewards app. And overall, Starbucks rewards program attributed to an increased revenue of $2.65 billion

This success comes from a real-time communication channel between Starbucks and its customers through a user-friendly app. Customers can easily track “stars” to earn menu items, make online orders and payments, and see daily promotions and free birthday offers. Starbucks uses omnichannel personalization to track customer interactions and purchases in order to create a personalized experience for each customer, making them feel valued and appreciated. 

This is true loyalty. CRISP helps build this loyalty by allowing restaurant owners to create a succinct tech stack and user-friendly app in order to personalize its customer rewards program. 

Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza has a long-running streak for great ideas. Their loyalty program provides seamless features such as the “pizza tracker” that lets the customer know what stage their much-anticipated pizza is in its delivery journey. This anticipation is a small element of gamification that Domino’s was able to add to the worst part of the food delivery process – the waiting period.

Aside from its successful loyalty program Domino’s created an ingenious promotional campaign for its loyalty members last year called Points for Pies. Members could gain points from eating a pizza anywhere–not just from Domino’s–and gave them four months to earn free pizza. 

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is partnering with Certona to create a personalized digital ordering experience through its mobile app. Certona is a real-time omnichannel personalization software that provides AI technology services. Similar to McDonald’s partnering with Dynamic Yield to provide AI technology on their menu, Taco Bell uses Certona’s machine learning and AI technology in its app to show users the most relevant menu items, promotions, and content based on their individual preferences.

Personalization and AI technology represent the future of any loyalty program. This is the new expectations customers have for fast casual restaurants. They not only expect a functional app, but a system that predicts their needs and remembers their birthday and favorite menu items. The problem is, not all restaurants have the same bandwidth as Starbucks or Taco Bell. 

If you have a franchise or restaurant with a minimum of five locations, CRISP solutions eliminate this problem. CRISP provides a full restaurant tech stack with all hardware and software integrations under one roof. Having everything under one roof allows CRISP to track customer data and create personalized software and predictability for the ultimate loyalty program. Now you can match whatever customer expectations come at you. Get a free demo here to learn more.

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