Unlocking the Power of 5 Best Food and Beverage Loyalty Rewards Programs to Taste the Success

Best Food and Beverage Loyalty Rewards Programs for Success

Nothing beats a great smile; especially if the smile is because of a great meal! Restaurants today are investing a great deal to ensure customers are pleased with their meals and are invested in their brand. To ensure customers make repeat purchases, brands have deployed food loyalty rewards programs that engage customers at multiple touch-points and provide a powerful hook for subsequent purchases. According to KPMG, 75% of consumers favor brands if there is a loyalty program. This reinforces the importance of loyalty programs and why it should be a crucial aspect of your retention strategy. A well-designed loyalty program increases customer lifetime value and boosts revenues.

In this blog, we will cover the 5 best food and beverage loyalty programs:

1. Starbucks

My Starbucks Rewards

My Starbucks Rewards program

Starbucks’ story begins in 1971 along the cobblestone streets of Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Back then they were a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea, and spices with a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Today Starbucks is privileged to connect with millions of customers every day with exceptional products and more than 30,000 retail stores in 83 markets.

Apart from its exceptional coffee and die-hard coffee lovers across the globe, Starbucks offers one of the most iconic loyalty programs in the food and beverage industry today. The Starbucks Rewards program offers freebies and discounts to its customers. Easy to get started, Starbucks has enabled customers to check their gift card balance, points, and mobile orders via phone, website, in-store, or on their user-friendly app. Customers can earn 2 stars for every $1 spent in particular stores and earn higher stars for using more than one payment method in a single transaction. Capitalizing on emotional loyalty, Starbucks offers its customers a complimentary beverage or food item on their birthday, early or extended access to special menu items, free refill(s) of hot or iced brewed coffee and tea, double star day etc.

The stars can be redeemed for complimentary Starbucks items:

  • 25 stars for an espresso shot, dairy substitute, or additional flavor
  • 50 stars for brewed hot coffee, hot tea, or bakery item
  • 150 stars for handcrafted beverages, hot breakfasts, or snack items
  • 200 stars for packaged salad or protein box
  • 400 stars for the packaged coffee item or select merchandise item.

Gamifying the program and offering interesting rewards and redemption options has truly turned Starbucks customers into brand ambassadors. Not only are the customers constantly engaged with the program, but they have developed an emotional affiliation with the brand!

2. Chipotle

Chipotle Rewards

Chipotle Food Rewards Program

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle is ranked on the Fortune 500 and is recognized on the 2021 lists for Forbes’ America’s Best Employers and Fortune’s Most Admired Companies.

‘Chipotle Rewards’ is one of the best restaurant loyalty programs. It engages customers at multiple touchpoints and provides them with a plethora of goodies, making the program truly fulfilling and appealing. Customers earn 10 points for every $1 spent at Chipotle and can simply download the Chipotle app or create an account to engage with the rewards program. Rewards can be earned in the restaurant, online, through pickup, delivery or “Chipotlane”. Engaging the customers from their very first purchase, Chipotle Rewards offers free chips & Gauc after their first purchase as a member. The program offers exclusivity as customers get extra perks on their birthday, 2X bonus points, early access to new menu items and swag etc. The interesting and exciting part of Chipotle Rewards is its redemption options.

The points can be redeemed for food, goods, and donations:

  • Redeem points for food – Some of the perks are one free side of chips & salsa for 325 points, free entrée for 1250 points, one bottled drink for 600 points etc.
  • Redeem points for swag – Customers can earn a $10 voucher for redeeming 2500 points; $20 for 5000 points etc. and use these promo codes towards Chipotle merchandize
  • Redeem points for donation – Customers can redeem 485 points and Chipotle will make a $1 donation to Farmlink or National Urban League etc.

Chipotle Rewards truly offers incremental perks to its customers that offers a powerful hook for consequent purchases. Post launch of the rewards program, Chipotle witnessed one million enrolments in Chipotle Rewards program in the first week and registered 8.5 million customers in less than a year. At the end of Q4 2020, Chipotle saw over a 177.2% increase in YoY digital sales ending the quarter at $781.4 million; truly astonishing numbers!

3. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A One

Chick-fil-A One loyalty program

Chick-fil-A is one of the largest American fast-food restaurant chains and its specialty is chicken sandwiches. Serving communities across the country with more than 2,400 restaurants, today customers can find Chick-fil-A inside airports, malls, and college campuses, in the heart of Manhattan, and nestled among the thousands of busy streets connecting neighborhoods in 47 states and Washington D.C.

Chick-fil-A is a classic example of a tiered loyalty program. One can earn points with every qualifying purchase and receive more points per dollar as they reach new membership tiers. Customers can use points to redeem available rewards and receive additional benefits as they move up the tiers. The tiers introduced by Chick-fil-A One offers incremental benefits – monetary, non-monetary and aspirational – leading to a genuine sense of belonging and exclusivity.

Chick-fil-A One has four tiers:

  • Member: $1 = 10 points
  • Silver member: $1 = 11 points (Status achieved upon earning 1,000 points in a year)
  • Red member: $1 = 12 points (Status achieved upon earning 4,000 points in a year)
  • Signature member: $1 = 13 points (Status achieved upon earning 10,000+ points in a year)

All the tiers offer a few standard perks like rewards on birthdays, rewards from local Chick-fil-A, bonus point challenges etc. Chick-fil-A One Silver, Red and Signature tiers allow customers to give their rewards to family and friends. The VIP Signature tier is aspirational and offers an emotional connection as one gets access to personalized experiences, voting opportunities, choice of entrée on a birthday, etc. The Chick-fil-A One food loyalty program is one of the finest restaurant rewards programs and indulges customers via tiers and interesting perks.

4 McDonald’s

MyMcDonald’s Rewards

MyMcDonaldG Rewards program

McDonald’s Corporation, an American fast-food chain is one of the largest in the world, known for its hamburgers. Its headquarters are in Oak Brook, Illinois. McDonald’s is the world’s leading global food service retailer with over 39,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.

There is doubt that food rewards programs can fuel more frequent visits, increase average order value, and offer restaurants valuable insights about consumers. McDonald’s recently launched their MyMcDonald’s Rewards program that allows customers to earn 100 points for every dollar they spend. Customers enjoy free large fries when they download the McDonald’s app and join the rewards program. This delicious freebie instigates customers to download the app, a brilliant strategy embedded by McDonald’s in their loyalty program. After the first order, customers can get their choice of hash browns, vanilla cone, McChicken or a cheeseburger for free. Using the McDonald’s app to order food racks up points, which can be exchanged later for free menu items.

MyMcDonald’s Rewards customers can redeem the points accumulated for multiple items on their menu – 16 rewards options split into four different tiers; 1500, 3000, 4500 and 6000 points. Each tier offers exciting rewards and with 6000 points comes the coup de grace – a Big Mac, Quarter pounder with cheese, Happy meal or a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit! McDonald’s has not only made their restaurant membership program simple but also easy – to redeem points faster leading to increase in repeat purchases, customer lifetime value and higher profit margins.

5. TGI Fridays

Fridays Rewards

Fridays Rewards program

In 1965, TGI Fridays opened its first location in New York City. From celebration cocktails to signature menu items, TGI Fridays is the authority on bringing good food and good times. TGI Fridays is offering high-quality, authentic American food and legendary drinks backed by genuine service. Bringing people together to socialize and celebrate the spirit of “Friday” is core to their promise that “In Here, It’s Always Friday”.

The fridays rewards program encourages customers to start earning points from the moment they sign up, make their first purchase, and save points to redeem on beverages, appetizers, entrees, and more! One can join the program for free by simply signing up on the website on downloading the TGI Fridays App. Rewards members also get free chips & salsa during every dine-in! This encourages customers to sign up for the program and deep dive into its fascinating and intriguing benefits. To keep the customers involved and offer a sense of exclusivity, Fridays Rewards provides multiple options to earn rewards. Customers earn one point for every dollar spent, 10 points for referring friends, points for food, drink purchases, free birthday dessert etc. Customers can redeem points for exciting food items, and they start at 30 points.

There are multiple reward levels to choose from:

  • 30 points: Reward – Thirst Quenchers: Free Non-Alcoholic beverage
  • 100 points: Reward – Bar Classics: Free Burger, Sandwich, or Premium Appetizer
  • 175 Points: Reward – Premium Fridays: Free Ribs or Shareables

Fridays Rewards definitely offers multiple reward options which encourages the customers to stay engaged with the program. Making it exciting, appealing, and fulfilling for its customers, Fridays Rewards program is one best restaurant loyalty programs in the industry today.

Being a member of a loyalty rewards program for food and beverage is a big win. Not only does one get access to exciting perks, but over time the rewards get sweeter, better, and more luxurious in nature. Loyalty programs in the food and beverage industry have proven to build long-lasting relationships and improve profit margins over time. Providing a unique experience to your customer will ensure you stay ahead of the competition and be on top of your customer’s minds. Along with offering delicious food and beverages, restaurants should embed loyalty programs that engage customers at multiple levels, provide interesting rewards, and offer unique experiences. The brands listed above have carefully crafted the loyalty programs that have provided them today with loyal fans and brand advocates.