4 Things Customers Actually Want from Fast-Food Loyalty Programs

Driving repeat visits and increasing spend per transaction is critical for operators in the quick service restaurant (QSR) sector. But, increasingly, customers are demanding a lot more from their loyalty than a me-too reward programme predicated on the outdated ‘sticker card’.

Mobile’s ‘Now’ Factor

With over 2.5 billion smartphones in the world, any rewards platform simply has to be mobile. Starbucks is considered the gold standard globally, especially in this segment. In the US, its rewards program has more than 12 million active members, that’s one in every six customers. Mobile means real-time, which is demanded by customers. This has obvious benefits for QSR chains too, as mobile enables a more direct and personal relationship with their customers than is possible via other channels. Push notifications, for example, can drive awareness and engagement about a promotion or encourage a visit or purchase that might otherwise not have happened.

Faster Experiences

Customers don’t want a complicated, time-consuming method of earning or redeeming rewards from a loyalty programme. This process needs to be simple, and this is where industry-leading engines shine. wiGroup’s Mobile Rewards integrates directly with more than 40 major point-of-sale providers which means that customers are able to earn and redeem rewards from their mobile phone as part of the existing payment process. The engine’s auto-redeem functionality means checks are done for any available vouchers first, before payment is finalised. This massively improves the payment experience for the customer.

The Serendipity of Digital

While the two, traditional mechanics of rewards programmes, wallet-based or a digital manifestation of the stamp, remain successful and well-understood, customers are expecting more. Surprise and delight tactics where customers are rewarded with a discount or additional value in their purchase help create memorable experiences for them. Offering a free side dish or drink, for example, not only allows QSR chains to test new products, it also drives higher purchase rates of either food or beverages in transactions. Our Loyalty & Rewards product enables surprise and delight in a seamless way and its flexibility means this can be enabled on top of or alongside a traditional wallet or ‘stamp card’ type programme.

Personalised Rewards

Customers want rewards to be personalised. As more and more QSR groups and other retailers enable rewards programmes, shoppers are expecting more than just a free coffee after every tenth visit. At the very least, they anticipate that brands and retailers know a little more about their shopping behaviour. Loyalty & Rewards enables real-time tracking of customer behaviour. This means brands know who their customers are, where they shop and what their purchase history is. All of these elements, together with contextual data such as weather, mean real-time, targeted campaign creation and management.


Mia Morkel is sector head for hospitality at wiGroup.

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