Industry News | September 23, 2009

Quick-Serve Loyalty Programs Remain Insignificant, Study Shows

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A recent study from First Data, an information commerce provider that processes point-of-sale transactions, reported that the quick-service industry has one of the lowest participation rates in rewards programs when compared to other retail industries.

The Consumer Loyalty Study, conducted in April, found that only 6 percent of the more than 2,400 respondents participated in a rewards program at a quick-service restaurant. The quick-service industry was the second-lowest in participation rates, ahead of only professional sports teams.

The highest participation rate in rewards programs belonged to the grocery store industry, in which 65 percent of respondents were members.

According to the study, the low participation rate in rewards programs at quick-service restaurants is “primarily due to the limited availability and newness of such programs.”

Of those participating in a rewards program at a quick-service restaurant, the study found that 11 percent considered the fact “very” influential when choosing a dining option. Also, 60 percent of reward-program members reported using their membership “every time” or “most times” when dining out.

The top three most-preferred rewards from quick serves as reported by participants were “free merchandise or upgrades,” “discounts at the point of sale,” and “coupons for discounts on your total purchase.” Of those, 49 percent of program participants reported receiving “free merchandise or upgrades,” 25 percent reported receiving “discounts at the point of sale,” and 33 percent reported receiving “coupons for discounts on your total purchase.”

Finally, of the study respondents who said they were a member of a rewards program at a quick-service restaurant, only 17 percent reported having a high satisfaction level with the program—ahead of only the pet store, discount store, and clothing store industries.

By Sam Oches