With quick-service restaurants (QSRs), fast-food chains and even dine-in establishments now generating up to 40% of revenues from repeat customers, experience is almost as important as delicious dishes in locking in loyalty. That’s a job best handled by digital systems.
As stated in the latest PYMNTS Order To Eat Tracker®, a Paytronix collaboration, QSRs are now favoring mobile apps for this. “These offerings have helped restaurants reach customers with curbside pickup options, contactless ordering methods and more, all of which have proved invaluable to keeping their operations afloat during the past 18 months. Another crucial component of a successful innovation strategy as digital eclipses dine-in ordering is the loyalty program.”
This is the case with the biggest names in QSR and fast food, as borne out by app metrics.
Per the Tracker, “McDonald’s led the pack in app downloads for August, according to recent findings, notching 2.8 million during the month. Starbucks came in a distant second with 1 million app downloads during the same period, followed by Domino’s Pizza at 941,000.”
McDonald’s success with apps illustrates “consumers’ ongoing demand for mobile ordering solutions even as dine-in service resumes across much of the U.S.”
Get it now: The Order To Eat Tracker®
Dining Out on Data
For consumers, mobile ordering apps have been a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. For restaurants in virtually every category, apps serve up a tastier dish: data.
“The data accompanying customers’ mobile app usage and purchasing can also help restaurants hone their digital strategies,” per the Tracker. “Recent analysis has shown that many top-performing restaurant chains in the U.S. benefited from implementing robust digital strategies before the pandemic hit,” which proved invaluable as online and mobile ordering took off.
Fueling everything from offers to loyalty program design, mobile apps provide eateries with the insights needed to grow and retain more customers in a field loaded with food options.
As the Tracker states, “Some QSRs have also begun to experiment with subscription programs in a bid to drive customer spending and boost loyalty. Fast casual giant Taco Bell, for instance, recently launched a 30-day trial for a subscription service at 17 locations in Arizona. The offering, called the Taco Lover’s pass, allows users to pay between $5 and $10 per month to access exclusive perks, including receiving a free taco each day. The QSR is betting that this feature will drive increased spending and engagement among patrons.”
Read also: The Order To Eat Tracker®
Beyond Basic ‘Spend and Redeem’ Models
On the loyalty front, Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins notes that “loyalty data offers a tremendous opportunity for brands in that the historical information gained as part of a loyalty program can make the mobile interaction better, more personalized and more optimized. The menus that each individual sees can change based on their own history, just as we see in the rest of the online retail world.”
In an interview in the latest Tracker, Blaze Pizza’s brand and growth leader Vincent Szwajkowski illustrated Robbins’ point, saying, “As we go into 2022, one of our focus areas is how to increase the value proposition within our reward program that goes beyond spend and redeem. There’s an opportunity for us to create more of an inclusive yield with our loyalty program members and provide more of a community environment.”
Mobile-app centered loyalty efforts are paying off for restaurants, and that looks likely to continue.
Pointing to findings from PYMNTS’ Delivering On Restaurant Rewards study series, The Order To Eat Tracker® said loyalty members typically spend “more than twice as much on takeout as non-members,” adding that “most diners want to use restaurants’ loyalty programs the same way they usually order: via mobile. Eighty-five percent of loyalty program members said they want to use the programs through their smartphones.”
Download now: The Order To Eat Tracker®