With customers shifting to off-premises and digital ordering at a blistering pace, loyalty programs appear to have become table stakes in the quick-service arena.
Eighty percent of adults, including 90 percent of Gen Z and millennials, said they'd probably join a loyalty and rewards program if it was offered at a favorite local restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association's 2022 State of the Industry report. Sixty-five percent of quick-service operators and a majority of coffee and snack and fast-casual restaurateurs see these type of programs becoming more common in 2022.
McDonald's launched its first loyalty program in July 2021. Major chains like Jack in the Box and Popeyes threw their hats into the ring, as well.
Now, simply having one isn't enough—there must be differentiation on some level. In other words, creating "loyalty" for the loyalty program.
For Burger King, which launched its Royal Perks Loyalty Program nationwide in September, this comes in the form of Frequent Fry'ers. The promotion allows rewards members to add free fries of any size to a purchase, once a week, for the rest of 2022. Members must sign up to the program prior to June 20 to be eligible.
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“Since announcing the rollout of our loyalty program last September, Royal Perks is now available in nearly every Burger King restaurant nationwide,” Tom Curtis, president of Burger King North America, said in a statement. “Enhancing the digital guest experience continues to be a major focus for our brand, and we’re confident this latest offer will attract even more loyal fans, while rewarding our existing members.”
Since Royal Perks rolled out, Burger King has indicated to customers that it's more than just earn-and-burn. For instance, in honor of Burger King turning 64 years old, the chain made the Whopper available for its original price of 37 cents, exclusively for Royal Perks members. Loyalty guests also have early access to products, like the Ghost Pepper Nuggets, and unique sweepstakes, such as offering the chance to win cryptocurrency when members spent $5 or more in the app.
In addition, customers can earn double points for their entire birthday month, instead of one day, and upsize one drink, fries, or hash browns for free, per order, per day.
Burger King's app was downloaded 535,000 in March, which was 10th-best in the quick-service segment, according to app intelligence firm Apptopia. First was McDonald's (2.7 million), followed by Starbucks (1.1 million), Wendy's (1 million), and Domino's (877,000).