The National Restaurant Association announced its strategic partnership with Loyalty 360, the Loyalty Marketer’s Association, to conduct operator and consumer research that will analyze loyalty marketing programs in the restaurant industry. Loyalty 360 will also assist the National Restaurant Association in developing strategy for its members for social and emerging media as additional methods by which to drive loyalty and engagement.

The initial research will provide insights on loyalty programs that currently exist, and consumer perceptions and attitudes toward these programs. The National Restaurant Association will use the research to provide its restaurant members best practices guidance for building engagement and member rewards programs. The project will also focus on the relevance and use of social media applications—including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter—to help create increased loyalty and brand engagement with customers and employees.

“Industry leaders are taking a harder look at who their customers are, what keeps customers coming back, and how important their brands are,” says Mark Johnson, president and CEO of Loyalty 360. “The National Restaurant Association is on the cutting edge, helping its members more deeply understand their consumers and retain them by building effective loyalty programs. Our partners have great expertise in the development, roll out, and administration of effective loyalty strategies that drive profitable behavior. We also have significant expertise in the development of effective social and emerging media applications.”

National Restaurant Association members will participate in a survey to identify what loyalty practices are being utilized, if dedicated resources are available for strategy and implementation, and what metrics/KPI’s restaurants are looking to achieve with loyalty programs. Customer research will focus on key drivers of behavior, including awareness, favored programs in the restaurant industry, what it takes to keep them loyalty to restaurants, and why consumers may choose the restaurants they frequent most often.

“Loyalty and rewards programs are important to restaurants, as frequent guests are the core of any customer base,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “By joining forces with the loyalty experts at Loyalty 360, we are able to create increased value for our members by providing a suite of resources to help them face their current marketing challenges and develop successful loyalty programs.”