Step into the future of Fast Casual and Quick Service Restaurants, where bland (dare we say “legacy”) loyalty programs are quickly being left behind. Because with today’s digital and data-first capabilities, the worn-out, very tired strategies of discounting, BOGO, and routine birthday offers are not only relics of the past, they’re surely leaving revenue on the table.

A new era of loyalty is emerging and it’s called Loyalty 3.0. The hotel and airline industries have set a high bar when it comes to meeting your guest’s expectations today. In fact, restaurant guests are yearning for more relevant, personalized experiences. New technology providers are teaming up to meet the challenge of delivering a new data-first approach for more relevant loyalty experiences.

Everyone Agrees: Loyalty Strategies are Ripe for Reinvention

Qu’s Fifth Annual State of Digital results revealed that 80% of brands say loyalty isn’t working for them. You read that right…80%. Nearly half of brands agree that loyalty is broken, and they plan to invest in new loyalty strategies this year. Top areas of interest include:

● Experience engagement (45%)
● Frictionless sign-up (39%)
● Guest payment variety (28%)
● Redemption innovation (27%)
● Automated recognition (22%)
● New loyalty technology provider (17%)

Data is the New Loyalty Currency

The industry knows change is necessary, and the restaurants that embrace data will gain a powerful competitive edge. With the help of today’s modern, API-friendly platforms, data is readily available to create seamless, integrated loyalty programs that are woven into every customer touchpoint. Unified ordering experiences powered by a unified commerce platform empower brands to dive deeper by analyzing customer history, online interactions, and feedback to serve up tailored recommendations, messaging, and offers across in-store and digital channels.

Loyalty is now about continuously earning customer favoritism through personalized, data-driven interactions that provide value at every digital and physical touchpoint.

Some consumers are willing to provide brands with data about their preferences and behaviors, while some may still be weary—the opportunity lies in selling your guests on the value your loyalty program will bring.

So, what happens after they “sign up” for your brand’s loyalty program? How that data is leveraged to deliver highly relevant experiences across channels will determine whether a brand can convert that initial sign-up into truly loyal behavior and, more importantly, significant customer lifetime value (CLTV).

The future of restaurant loyalty is now. It’s personalized, it’s dynamic, and it will redefine the way loyalty is built.

Better Together: Qu + Our Certified Loyalty Partner Ecosystem

In the quest to foster unbreakable customer bonds, restaurants are turning to tech partners that offer flexible integrations — they’re the key to unlocking more relevant, meaningful, and dynamic loyalty programs. By embracing the power of modern platforms purpose-built for the evolving needs of today’s enterprise brands, restaurants gain the ability to seamlessly harness the power of diverse technologies. This strategic approach not only ensures better integration of technologies but also translates into unified data and improved data access. In turn, your brand gains a unified view of guest behaviors across all purchasing channels: the essential ingredient for crafting truly individualized guest journeys.

By integrating Qu’s data-centric platform with our loyalty integrations, operators can finally break down the silos between mobile app, online ordering, and in-store visits—and access those all-important insights into customer behaviors, preferences, and purchase histories. Here are a few examples of how our loyalty partners are changing the way loyalty is evolving:

  • With Spendgo’s single sign-on loyalty integration, the customer experience is streamlined, reducing friction and fostering a sense of effortless engagement from the moment guests walk through the door. And in turn, happier staff members, too. Customers are gently prompted to enter their phone numbers via Qu’s sleek customer-facing display on the POS during checkout. Did we mention no app is required?


    Unlike lengthy enrollment screens or cumbersome setups, this low-barrier approach to signing up for loyalty is driving impressive results for our customers like Rapid Fire Pizza. Their top 20% of stores see guest participation rates as high as 54% with significant increases in customer capture. They currently boast over 200 new sign-ups a month, and over 1,000 repeat monthly member visits at store locations.

  • Thanx is moving away from the traditional mindset that once ruled loyalty and delivering restaurants a complete guest engagement solution that fosters relationships to grow CLTV. Thanx believes loyalty is measured by what people are spending, their visit frequency, and what their longevity is with your brand. Thanx’s core belief is that a customer loyalty program must impact one of those to deliver value.

    Legacy loyalty programs focused heavily on discounts don’t impact spend, frequency, or longevity. Thanx is pioneering a new era that goes way beyond discounting to capabilities like dynamically offering secret menu items, automations (such as abandoned cart campaigns), tracking payment card info, and challenging the concept of frictionless sign-up/in to improve customer longevity.

  • Incentivio’s Guest Journey Dashboard leverages machine learning to automatically segment based on guest’s visit frequency and spending habits. From first-time visitors to devoted enthusiasts, this innovative solution individualizes each guest’s journey, allowing restaurants to deliver targeted rewards, tailored messages, and loyalty offers based on their unique preferences and behaviors. 

    The dashboard’s proprietary churn management functionality identifies guests at risk of churning, empowering restaurants to proactively reengage them with tailored offers before they’re lost for good. By moving beyond one-size-fits-all loyalty, Incentivio is transforming how restaurants cultivate and retain their most valuable customers.

Qu’s foundational platform, integrated with robust loyalty providers like the ones mentioned above, makes it easier to segment audiences, customize messaging, spark engagement, and keep guests feeling valued every step of the way

Generic Loyalty is Out, Individualized Guest Journeys are In

Loyalty 3.0 is a massive shift away from discounts, deals, and promos and into relationship preference-building efforts—all of which is possible with the right data strategy, tech partners, and an API-friendly tech ecosystem. Finally, restaurants can stop leaving customer bonds up to chance and start proactively cultivating the kind of fandom that lasts.

💡 Looking to dive deeper into other trends shaping the industry this year? 

Restaurants Reinvented Podcast: Let’s Fix Loyalty →

View Qu’s 5th Annual State of Digital→

Restaurant Loyalty is Stuck in Neutral, by Joe Guszowski

Podcast: “The Digital Restaurant” Is 100% Digital Good for Guests? 

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