Quick service restaurants and the fast casual dining industry is a competitive and oversaturated market, but by leveraging a mobile-first approach to loyalty, restaurants are able to continually offer personalized experiences to retain current customers and increase visits, while also attracting new ones. Here are three ways to leverage a mobile-first approach to increase loyalty and improve your in-store experience: 

1. Influence in Real-time

Smartphones give you access to your customers in real-time to provide consistent offers and personalized in-store experiences. Smartphones give brands insights and behaviors to measure what drives consumers, what they react to and what they are coming back for more of. Apps, especially with loyalty programs, drive deeper engagement to build relationships and incentivize high value behaviors for lifetime customers.

2. Reward

Consumers want to feel valued and appreciated. Customers are giving you their time, insights about themselves and are choosing to spend their money with your brand -- now it’s up to you to reward them for their loyalty. Reward customers with a free coffee or a size upgrade after a certain number of visits -- it goes a long way with a customer and they’re sure to share their great experience.

3. Market to a Person, Not the Masses

See your customer as an individual, instead of a mass audience. Loyalty programs give brands access to first-party customer data to make marketing outreach more effective by delivering messaging, campaigns and rewards that resonate with an indivudual and make them feel valued. Menus are heading upmarket. It’s time for marketing to do the same.

Here's a real example of a company that leveraged a mobile-first strategy to reward their customers' loyalty:

Denny’s utilized an in-app location check-in feature to drive foot traffic to Denny’s locations and downloads of their new Atari app. Consumers who checked in at any Denny’s location received an entry to win a $50 Denny’s gift card. After checking in, they saw a sponsored ad from Denny’s prompting them to download Denny’s new Atari from iTunes or Google Play.

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The results?

  • 40-50% increase in store traffic
  • 42% click-through rate to download the app

With a full picture of their customer journey and access to first-party data from smartphones, brands are able to uncover behaviors and habits to offer real-time rewards and relevant information. Quick service and fast casual restaurants can analyze offer effectiveness and optimize outreach to increase loyalty and convert occasional visitors into high lifetime value guests. 

The Impact of Smartphones, Apps, & Loyalty Programs: A Quick Service & Fast Casual Restaurant Study