5 Features Customers Expect From Your Restaurant's Loyalty Program

Posted by Natalie Korz

Natalie is the Technical Writer for SpeedLine Solutions. Her adoration for pizza goes all the way back to the early days of her childhood when her family used to have Friday Pizza Nights and watch America's Funniest Home Videos.

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Loyalty programs are a must-have for restaurants of all sizes. 43% of restaurant patrons are members of at least one loyalty program. Another 38% aren't members simply because their favorite restaurant doesn't offer a program. However, as you build out your loyalty program, it's important to remember that not all programs offer the same value; here are five features your customers will expect.

Make it Mobile-First

In general, digital programs offer greater value than traditional loyalty programs (like punch cards) because they help you personalize the customer's individual experience while tracking important data points. Mobile-first loyalty programs take this a step further by utilizing the fact that 85% of Americans own a smartphone. In addition to providing the same opportunities of first-generation digital loyalty programs, smartphones offer greater accessibility and ease of use. In fact, research by CodeBroker found that 75% of surveyed consumers said they are more active in loyalty programs that are easily accessible from a smartphone.

Speedy Tip
Don't force your customers to download a loyalty app . They'll see it as another app cluttering up their smartphone. Instead, allow them to manage their profile directly from your restaurant's ordering website!

Personalize Their Experience

Research shows that customers who are enrolled in loyalty programs with high levels of personalization are over seven times more likely to recommend those brands, and over six times more likely to spend with those brands to maximize loyalty points. Some easy ways to personalize a customer's loyalty experience is gifting them a free treat on the week of their birthday, recognizing your top spenders, as well as showing how much they've saved since becoming a member and how many points they've earned.

Reward Referrals

Referrals is a powerful marketing tool. Make it an integral part of your loyalty program by rewarding customers for sharing their positive experiences at your restaurant with their social network. Referrals incentivize existing customers while drawing in a batch of new hungry patrons. After all, studies show that 83% of customers trust recommendations from friends or family more than any other marketing action. In addition, these new customers typically have higher loyalty rates and are more profitable than regular customers.

Build Strong Advertising Campaigns

Make your new loyalty program the center of your advertising campaign. Whether your customers are dropping by for a slice, checking out your social media, or ordering through your online website for the first time, they should know about your customer loyalty program. Show pictures of customers getting their free slice of birthday cake, redeeming their points, or accessing exclusive deals only available to members. Make your customers feel they need to rush to your restaurant right when they see your ads.

Create a Tiered Loyalty System

The only thing customers love more than getting points is getting even more points, rewards, and discounts as they continue eating at your restaurant over time. Another way digital and mobile-first loyalty programs differ from traditional methods is their ability to offer tiered loyalty options. What might start as a customer redeeming a $2 off coupon or a free small drink could become a free appetizer or 2-for-1 deal if they order often enough. The prospect of new or better rewards is a fantastic incentive to keep loyal customers returning to your restaurants.


Customer loyalty programs are an excellent way to drive revenue and referrals within your business, however, it's important that your loyalty program meets your customers' expectations. Making it accessible, mobile, and well-advertised are all excellent ways to pique your patrons' interests. Once subscribed, make their experience personalized, reward their referrals, and provide incentives to keep them coming back. To learn more about how you can extend your restaurant's brand experience, watch our webinar Building Your Brand Experience: Online Ordering.

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Posted on Thu, Oct 06, 2022 @ 14:10 PM.
Updated on October 18, 2022 @ 3:25 PM PST.

Tags: Customer Loyalty, Listening to your Customers, Mobile Ordering

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