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Blog / 2012 / June / Building and Rewarding Loyalty
June 4, 2012
Building and Rewarding Loyalty
by Henry Kurkowski   |   0 COMMENTS

 Loyalty programs have been around for decades. The airline and hotel industry have certainly leveraged the power of these plans and restaurants are not too far behind. Far more restaurant brands are using some form of "frequent flyer" program to build loyalty and reward their guests for that faithfulness. Knowing how to begin or reinvent your existing program can be daunting. Thankfully there are a number of options to engage your guests.


Some brands use a combination of programs one being proprietary and one being part of a social media program. They have a VIP program which is a branded card that is swiped when the check is presented that allows the restaurant to track spending habits. This will combine birthdays, anniversaries and rack up points for each pre-set dollar amount that is spent with the restaurant. Simultaneously we have seen companies use check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare as a combination of loyalty and advertising. When you check in on one of these apps, you advertise to your circle of friends and followers that you are yet again spending time at your favored eatery. Check-ins can be rewarded and contests can be set up to encourage the process. We have a previous blog post on our site describing some best practices for leveraging social media this way.


The size of the organization would determine how you go about creating an in-house loyalty and reward program. Brands with a national scope create their own cards, and sometimes spend thousands on their own apps. This allows them to cross-collateralize their various locations since the card would be good at all of them. But a regional or even locally based brands can take advantage of the power of reward programs with the use of some existing and customizable online technologies.


A recent article in goes into detail about some of the more popular app based services that restaurants can utilize for their own reward programs. I have to admit that this seems to be a more progressive way of handling a loyalty program card. Having the guest keep the loyalty program in a virtual wallet or on a Smartphone may be the best way to reach out to an build the loyalty of the connected consumer. And it certainly makes both usage and tracking easy.