8 Examples of Successful Restaurant Loyalty Programs 2024

By: Melissa Canellis


Launching a successful restaurant loyalty program allows brands to create new avenues for customer retention and design remarketing or reward experiences that turn anonymous consumers into their most loyal fans. It is these loyal fans that will ultimately determine a restaurant’s survival, not one-time visitors. The restaurant and hospitality industries have gone through radical changes even over the last three years alone. These changes are continuing to shift the focus onto the customer experience, as restaurants are so heavily reliant on loyalty and retention for success.

There are nearly 800,000 restaurant locations across the United States alone. With more restaurants and new innovations being introduced every day, it can often be difficult to differentiate your business from others. Customer loyalty programs can not only help your restaurant stand out but can also build a customer base that is perfect for your business.

What are the benefits of customer loyalty programs?

Customer loyalty programs offer a variety of lucrative opportunities to encourage lifelong customers. That being said, with so much design freedom it is often difficult to know where to start. Below are eight best examples of successful restaurant customer loyalty programs.

8 Restaurant Customer Loyalty Programs

1. Papa John’s – Papa Rewards
Papa John Rewards iPhone

Papa John’s is a notorious pizza chain with locations across the country. Following the pandemic in 2020 Pana John’s recognized that customer confidence grows as restaurants can repeat these behaviors and deliver a consistent experience across every channel and customer interaction. Restaurants can do this by understanding their customers’ needs and preferences and subsequently making their lives easier and more rewarding. That’s why restaurant loyalty programs are a key aspect of customer experience. They provide brands with the means to reward customers for their good habits and also provide offers and incentives to encourage them to adopt new behaviors.

2. Taco Bell – Taco Bell RewardsTaco Bell Adding Loyalty Program to App | Total-Apps

Since 2020, the Taco Bell Rewards Program has provided its most passionate fans the ability to attend exclusive experiences like Taco Bell Drag Brunch and score early access to favorites like Mexican Pizza. It has also enabled the brand to connect with their fans on a more personal level by providing opportunities to vote for the return of a favorite food and predict who will steal the first base in their Steal a Base Steal a Taco campaign. Fans earn points on qualifying purchases made in-store, drive-thru, kiosks, online and the Taco Bell app, giving fans more opportunities to receive rewards and participate in exclusive experiences. The rewards program is an important factor of Taco Bell’s massive and on-going digital growth, where the brand aims to reach 100% digital sales.

3. Hooters – Hootclub Rewards

Restaurants and retailers that focus on exceptional customer experience earn almost six times more revenue than those that don’t make CX a priority. So when it comes to customer feedback, no news is actually bad news for your loyalty program goals. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult for your guests to provide feedback in a fast or frictionless way, so it never gets shared back to the brand. Hooter’s utilizes a unique strategy blending customer feedback and a loyalty structure to extend their brand experience beyond your physical stores to engage and retain guests. Beyond this, Hooter’s is able to drive engagement with automated survey distribution that actually encourage customers to respond.

4. Tropical Smoothie Café  – Tropic Rewards

With more than 1,200 locations and counting, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual brand known for its better-for-you-smoothies and food served with a tropical twist. Since September of 2020 Tropical Smoothie Café has engaged guests through their Tropic Rewards® program, powered by Punchh restaurant loyalty software. Tropical Smoothie Cafe utilizes Punchh to help them take an integrated marketing approach to drive loyalty through omnichannel interactions. From the Punchh Platform they send important communication both nationally and at the local level to loyalty and eClub members and non-loyalty guests. 

5. Famous Dave’s – Famous Dave’s Rewards

In 2018, Famous Dave’s partnered with Punchh to develop and power the brand’s first loyalty program and mobile rewards app. As an “occasional” type concept with a higher check average, Famous Dave’s loyalty program was designed to inspire frequency and participation. Analyzing their customer data demonstrated the value that guests bring to their business through increased loyalty sales and increased lifetime value. Now, Famous Dave’s sees higher participation rates (20% increase YoY) and redemption rates (19% increase YoY). Having the ability to analyze and react to metrics presented daily in the Punchh dashboard provides Famous Dave’s with a more holistic view of their customers.

6. Casey’s – Casey’s Rewards

The Casey’s Rewards program’s thoughtful design allows customers to redeem/convert points in three ways: cents off gasoline, into Casey’s Cash to use like currency in-store or online, or into a donation via Cash for Classrooms, which enables customers to donate to a list of almost 40,000 schools in the communities Casey’s serves. Cash for Classrooms donations go directly to the schools and makes charitable giving easy and seamless for guests, differentiating Casey’s their loyalty program in the retail and QSR industries. With multiple ways for customers to save, Casey’s is increasing store frequency and building loyalty, which is helping their bottom line.

7. Blaze Pizza – Blaze RewardsBlaze Pizza App iPhone

Over the past couple years, Blaze has been at the forefront of not only menu innovation, but also digital innovation, providing guests a convenient and seamless customer experience that now, also includes a contactless environment.  In 2018, Blaze looked to Punchh to help them on their digital journey. “We wanted to offer a better, more modern restaurant loyalty program through a branded app that could leverage existing partnerships with our online ordering, POS and email systems for easy access to customer data,” said former Blaze’s Director of Digital Growth. 

8. Jack’s Family Restaurants.

Jack’s Family Restaurants, a quick-service chain with more than 240 locations, lacked visibility into their customers’ behaviors and preferences along with the ability to send personalized offers. Since launching their loyalty program in 2020, Jack’s has successfully executed a variety of data-driven campaigns to bolster loyalty redemption rates and encourage new daypart visits. More specifically, following the implementation of their new loyalty program, Jack’s Family Restaurants achieved YoY growth, seeing a 56% increase in Loyalty Transactions, and a 12% increase in Average Check Size.

Punchh helps brands deliver rewarding restaurant loyalty programs that increase sales and deliver ROI to enterprise and regional brands alike. Learn more about how our customers are running successful restaurant loyalty programs – Restaurant Loyalty Customer Case Studies.

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