Boosting Restaurant Loyalty Programs: Charting 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends and Campaigns

By: Anthony Giampa


The holiday season is officially upon us, and for brands in the restaurant industry, it’s time to get excited and prepared for a festive surge in customers. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the key trends that will make this holiday season merry and bright for both brands and shoppers.

It All Starts with the Cyber Weekend

The four days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are one of the busiest times of the year for many retail locations. So what can brands expect in 2023? Let’s delve into PAR Punchh’s recent findings from Black Friday weekend 2020 to 2022 to get an understanding of what we can expect for 2023.

📊 Black Friday by the Numbers: Key Growth Metrics and Insights

Campaign Growth: The number of loyalty campaigns that went out increased by 112% from 2020 to 2022, signaling a need for more creative and impactful campaign approaches to stand out from the competition.

Audience Growth: With a 146% increase in consumers targeted, marketers should consider segmenting your customer base strategies to more effectively engage this growing audience.

Redemption Growth: The overall 37% increase in offer redemptions since 2020 suggests that well-crafted and accessible offers remain crucial for customer engagement.

Omnichannel Experiences: Meeting Shoppers Where They Are

As shoppers gear up for the holiday season, they are increasingly looking for convenience and flexibility in their purchasing options. The rise of omnichannel experiences is one of the most significant trends for this year’s holiday season. Omnichannel retailing seamlessly integrates online and offline shopping, creating a holistic experience for customers.

For restaurant brands, this means providing a consistent and engaging experience across all touchpoints. Whether it’s ordering food online, through a mobile app, or dining in-person after a shopping trip, make sure your loyalty program offers rewards and benefits that are easily accessible and transferable across these channels. Encourage your customers to earn and redeem rewards online, at the restaurant, and in the app, ensuring they can access their favorite dishes and deals in a way that suits them best.

Spanning from December 1 – 24, Casey’s, a leading c-store chain, offers rewards members an opportunity to claim free and exclusives offers during their ’24 Days of Casey’s Rewards’. Offering this form of loyalty not only encourages rewards members to get excited about claiming special offers but boosts engagement with Casey’s during the month of December.

Gift Cards: The Perfect Holiday Gift for Foodies

Gift cards have always been a popular choice during the holiday season, but their significance has grown even more in recent years. For 2023, restaurant gift cards are set to be a top choice for shoppers looking to spread the holiday cheer and treat their loved ones to memorable dining experiences. According to a study done by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 55% of consumers said they would want to receive a gift card as a gift this holiday season.

Encourage your customers to purchase restaurant gift cards through your loyalty program by offering exclusive discounts or bonuses for those who buy them. Make it easy for your loyalty members to gift these cards digitally, which not only helps boost your revenue but also introduces new customers to your brand when the recipients redeem their cards.

Bridging the Gap: Online Shopping and Digital Ordering

The holiday season isn’t just about gift-giving; it’s also a time when people love to treat themselves and their loved ones to delicious meals. To make the most of this opportunity, it’s essential to create a seamless connection between online shopping and dining at your restaurant.

It all starts with Cyber Weekend with shoppers hopping all over digital deals and becoming more determined to utilize various avenues for browsing or purchasing going into the month of December. This presents the perfect opportunity to optimize targeted offers for them with your restaurant.

🎯 Strategic Loyalty Campaign Recommendations for Marketers

Emphasize Innovation: In a crowded market, unique and innovative
campaigns are essential to stand out.

Tailor to Your Customer Base: In order to stand out in a crowded market, make your subject lines a stronger preview of what’s inside and tailor your messages to fit the customer’s buying behaviors.

Offers Remain Strong: Customers are still looking for red-hot deals during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, so make sure to tailor your offers accordingly. Or buck the trend entirely and take part in the growing number of brands boycotting Black Friday or turning it into a “Green Friday” by utilizing charitable donations instead, like Everlane, Ikea and REI.


Consider creating exclusive deals for shoppers who frequently engage with you digitally. For example, if a customer purchases a gift card or meal from your app, they could receive a special offer to order in-person from your restaurant at a discount. This way, you’re encouraging them to try something different and making the connection between their online shopping and their dining choices, making it convenient and appealing to explore your menu.

Additionally, use your loyalty program to reward customers who engage in this omnichannel behavior. Offer bonus points or discounts when they order online or use your app to make reservations or pre-order their meals.

In conclusion, the 2023 holiday season holds significant opportunities for restaurant brands to boost their loyalty programs. By embracing omnichannel experiences, promoting restaurant gift cards, and connecting online shopping with digital ordering, you can create a festive and convenient atmosphere that appeals to shoppers. Make sure your loyalty program is well-aligned with these trends, and you’ll find both new and existing customers excited to join and engage with your brand during this holiday season.

Learn more about the AI-powered Punchh Platform for loyalty, offers and engagement.

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