In todays digital age, we have the ability to transfer information freely and quickly with a simple click of a button. Businesses can now thrive in a data-driven society where consumer habits are readily available for companies to evaluate insights and make informed decisions.

Over the past year and a half, consumers turned to digital ordering. In the restaurant industry, digital ordering and delivery have grown 300 percent faster than dine-in traffic since 2014, and have increased by 135 percent since June 2020. With this most recent spike in online ordering, competition in the digital space is growing even more fierce.

Over half of all American consumers will join the loyalty program of a brand they make frequent purchases from, and 87 percent are open to brands monitoring details of their activity if it leads to more personalized rewards. These figures on consumer behavior leading ultimately to one question: are you letting all of the digital intelligence being shared by your guests go to waste?

With digital guest experiences on the rise, here are three reasons why now is the time to focus on turning your restaurants customers into brand loyalists:

Your guests already trust your brand.

As consumers have opted out of the dining room and turned to their mobile devices to communicate with brands, restaurants are accumulating new data and learning what their guests orders of the day would be. Before the surge of digital loyalty programs, a guest spending hundreds of dollars with a brand had the same digital equivalence as a guest who only dined there once. Now, with technologies like ParTech, Inc. (PAR)’s leading customer loyalty, offers and engagement solution, Punchh, we see the industrys top restaurant brands embark on new loyalty journeys because they believe in a new digital guest experience and know their businesss future lies not in their guestshands, but in their phones.

The guest experience can be seamlessly personalized.

Reaching customers across multiple channels to deliver what they’re looking for has become a priority for concepts who want to remove any obstacles from the sales funnel. And 71 percent of consumers say loyalty programs are a meaningful part of their brand relationships. When guests feel rewarded by brands, with quality experiences and personalized offers, they reward those brands with a lifetime of loyalty.

Specifically, in the restaurant industry, consumers report that nearly 60 percent of their restaurant occasions are now off-premise. Incorporating a digital and loyalty mobile app will seamlessly guide these off-premise consumers through their purchasing lifecycle from guest to loyalist by sending targeted, one-on-one offers based on their likes, surrounding area, previous purchases, birthday, anniversary and more. Loyalty platforms quickly create and deliver dynamic offers across all channels, with a SaaS solution that integrates (coding-free) payment, messaging, etc. creating an effortless way to personalize each guests experience.

With digital loyalty and mobile apps, brands attract more guests, which lead to better consumer insights to deliver more personalized offers, at the right time, via the preferred channel. This cycle will drive consumer behavior to generate revenue and customer lifetime value.

Loyalty is building the restaurant of the future.

Digital loyalty programs are the future of restaurant marketing. They make it easier for brands to connect with their most loyal customers and increase customer lifetime value where it counts most. National Restaurant Association suggests that if youre not doing business through a phone or tablet—whether its delivery, online ordering or even your tableside POS—you could find your business struggling.

Technology is becoming more commonplace, with 79 percent of consumers saying theyve placed orders using a restaurants website or app within the last year. Additionally, the restaurant layout and design has evolved to what we now see incorporating kiosks with built-in scanners offering deals and discounts to loyalty members before their purchase.

With the rapid growth of digital ordering, theres never been a better time to implement a new loyalty program. Year-over-year loyalty sales overall are up 35 percent and specifically online loyalty sales are up an average of 14 percent for many of our clients, including 200 brands across thousands of locations. Average check size is down nearly 64 percent, however loyalty check size is up 6 percent, meaning loyal customers are spending more than ever.

Todays customers are interacting with restaurants digitally—whether its to order takeout and delivery, pay, rate the experience or provide preferences in advance—and they expect the industry to keep up. For a restaurant to stand out in this competitive digital-forward market, personalization is key. When ordering through a smart phone or computer, the face-to-face guest experience is lost. So, personalize the guest experience with an advanced loyalty program that delivers a superior digital guest experience and your restaurant will be built for todays times and beyond.

Shyam Rao is the co-founder and CEO of Punchh. Punchh delivers dynamic, one-to-one customer engagement through data-driven, omnichannel loyalty, offers, and customer engagement for restaurants, c-stores, and other retailers. The Punchh platform is designed to guide consumers through their lifecycle from anonymous buyer to brand loyalist. Over 200 global enterprise brands rely on Punchh to grow revenue by building high-value customer relationships.

Outside Insights, Story, Technology