Designing the Ultimate Employee Perks Programs with Your Loyalty Platform

By: Brittany Maroney


With the Great Resignation creating more challenges across the restaurant landscape, brands are turning to their loyalty programs to heat up their employee perks programs.

Over the course of the last year, nothing has been more challenging for restaurant operators than the struggles of attracting and maintaining a loyal workforce. One thing that the “Great Resignation” has done is force the restaurant industry to reimagine its benefits and perks to stay competitive. In order to compete, restaurant operators are finding themselves having to offer unique benefits, formally unheard of in the industry, including; shorter workweeks, higher pay, life insurance, mental health services, college tuition, and more paths to career advancement. 

Employee discounts are another tactic some brands are using to show employee appreciation, while attracting new talent. Offering employee discounts and other perks can also help increase your crew productivity and provide a bonus for those employees who work long shifts. And don’t forget their attractiveness in the recruitment process. According to a Glassdoor survey, 60% of respondents say that benefits and perks are vital in deciding whether to accept a job offer. 

With the demand for talent that businesses face, employee retention, candidate attraction, and crew satisfaction are key. Employee discounts check the box in all of these categories. Best of all, these programs can be easily implemented with your existing loyalty platform, helping you roll out a top-notch and customizable program for your crew and giving you control over your costs. 

Here’s how you can take your existing loyalty platform and drive better crew engagement and loyalty: 

Design a Program with Your Crew in Mind

Employee discounting is a great way to incentivize employees while driving sales but only if your crew values it. The first step in designing your employee perks program is to truly question what your team desires from your brand and what makes the most sense in terms of offerings. While swag is always a fantastic motivator, rarely does it help improve productivity in the way crew discounts or shift meals do. Take a moment to consider a few of these critical questions when crafting your plan:

  • What products or discounts will you offer? 
  • $ off, % Off, Menu Item Discounts?
  • Will employees be required to join the loyalty program?
  • Will all employees receive the same discount?
  • How will discounts be managed when an employee leaves the business?
  • Will there be any additional requirements for employees to utilize the discount?

Selecting the Right Perk for Your Brand

Now that you have analyzed your organization’s needs, you can now move on to selecting the right perk offering for you. One that is managed within your loyalty program and provides you with the safeguards to properly manage the program. The three most popular perks are campaign offers, coupons, and stored value, also known as virtual gift cards. All three have tremendous value depending on your organizational goals. 

Using Campaigns to Reward & Retain Crew

Campaigns, for instance, provide discounts to your staff on a recurring basis via their loyalty membership within the perks program. With campaigns, the brand can choose to gift total dollars off, a percent off or discounts on specific items such as entrees or appetizers. Best of all, the company can choose to gift daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the needs of the business and can be set to expire so the crew are prevented from accumulating rewards.

Some brands use this to offer a daily discount that expires at the end of a shift or provide banked currency, like $20 off a week (but if not used, will expire after seven days). With campaigns, brands can easily customize offerings by selecting various denominations and expiration terms.

The best part of creating a campaign for your employee perks program is that your crew is required to join your loyalty program, potentially keeping them up to date on other promotions and communications that go out to your customers. This creates greater employee engagement and longer term loyalty. It also is an easy way to segment, track and sort staff, as natural attrition happens within the organization. Campaigns offer flexibility and ease of management because they are supported by the existing technology of your loyalty platform, making the program seamless to execute and track. 

Managing Crew Perks with Coupon Codes

In some instances, brands prefer not to require their staff to join their loyalty program, and therefore opt for a coupon strategy. Coupons are a great option because they can be used to unlock one-time or recurring discounts and allow brands to control if employees use discounts in-app or directly at the POS. The organization also can set up one-time, coupon codes or even throttle offerings to be valid a certain X many times per day, week, or even month. Coupons are pre-generated or dynamically generated and then can be easily distributed to the crew via an email list.

One way brands use this tactic is by pushing out pre-generated coupons that staff can redeem via the app. For instance, the concept can push out a one-time use $5 off reward, daily, that the crew member can then use to purchase food or retail items. Or they could be offered a generated code for a free entree in-store, once a week. 

The benefit of using coupon codes is that you can offer incentives that can be used across channels, such as curbside or online ordering. It also provides you the flexibility to adjust and change your offerings based on location and seasonality. 

Using Virtual Gift Cards to Reward & Celebrate Staff

Like coupon offerings, stored value or virtual gift cards are a great option if you want crew to be able to redeem offerings both at the POS or in your mobile app. It also enables you as a business to distribute on a recurring basis and have the option to reload based on organizational needs. But with this option comes a few considerations. First, this tactic requires an existing payment processor and gift card provider integration, so make sure you understand your current tech stack before pursuing this option. Second, gift cards do not expire, so you may want to consider what this means if a crew member leaves the organization, as well as the incremental size of the offerings. 

Some brands love to offer banked currency to support their anniversary programs or reward crew members who go above and beyond. This is an amazing option if, for instance, you offer an employee of the month program or reward based on milestones like training or time with the company. 

Whatever option you choose, it’s essential to consider your business needs, as well as the desires of your crew. Perks are only attractive if they hold real value and help promote loyalty from your crew. And that is ultimately what your loyalty platform is designed for. Used alongside benefits such as manageable work hours, paths to advancements, and other perks that your organization offers, your crew incentive program can be a great tool to retain and attract talent. 

It’s time to heat up your crew engagement and retention. If you’d like to learn more about how Punchh loyalty, offers and engagement platform can elevate your employee experience to drive higher retention, contact us today for a personalized demo.

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