Why Guests Pay 46% More With Restaurant Loyalty Programs

By: Sam Kusinitz

4 Minute Read

Feb 13, 2018

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Loyalty Programs

It's widely accepted that restaurant loyalty programs are an effective way to increase customer engagement and retention. According to the 2019 Restaurant Success Report, 25% of guests surveyed said loyalty programs are extremely important to their guest experience. Not only are they important to guests, but they’re important to a restaurant’s profit:

Consumers have expectations when it comes to rewards programs, and if those expectations are not met, it can be very difficult to encourage guests to take advantage of your loyalty program.

So what do consumers care about when it comes to restaurant loyalty programs?

  • Easy enrollment options (22%)
  • Access to exclusive deals and coupons (36%)
  • Ease of earning points ( 51%)
  • Ease of redeeming rewards (55%)


In a restaurant environment, meeting these expectations is much more difficult to accomplish than it might seem. In most full service restaurants, servers do not accept payments at the table - they bring a check to the table, take the customer’s credit card to a stationary POS system or card reader, and then return with the receipt. In this setting, there is virtually no opportunity for customers to easily enroll in the loyalty program, and the only way to earn and redeem rewards is to carry a physical loyalty card. There are also no way for customers to keep tabs on their rewards points outside of the restaurant. These are some of the many ways your restaurant loyalty program can fail. But there is a solution.

4 Ways Tablet POS Systems Can Improve Loyalty Programs

1. Digital Receipts

Many tablet-based POS systems offer digital receipts that allow customers to enter their phone number or email address in order to receive text or email receipts. If the loyalty program is properly integrated with the system, customers shouldn’t have to provide any additional information in order to opt in to the loyalty program. This makes it very easy for customers to join without requiring them to enter too much personal information, which is important because more than one in 10 loyalty members (13%) express frustration or dissatisfaction with too much personal information being requested during loyalty program enrollment (Mintel).

2. Customer-Facing Tablets and Terminals

In addition to helping restaurants serve more customers and turn tables faster, tableside handheld devices and POS terminals that can flip to become customer-facing can make the loyalty opt-in process a breeze. While customers tip, sign, and request a receipt right on the tablet interface to complete payment, some POS systems also offer the option to prompt guests with the opportunity to join the restaurant’s loyalty program by simply checking a box (or entering their email if they did not already request a digital receipt).

3. Connect Customer’s Credit Cards to Their Rewards Accounts

Tablet-based POS systems like Toast allow customers to tie their rewards accounts to their major credit and debit cards. That way, there is no change in the way they pay for meal. Instead, anytime guests pay for a meal, they will automatically earn points and have the option to redeem rewards without being required to present a physical loyalty card or account number.

4. Track Rewards Points on Smartphones

Some restaurant loyalty programs have found that when a customer is about to unlock their loyalty reward, they spend 39% more on average (National Restaurant News). However, in order to see this type of uptick in average spend at your restaurant, customers need an easy way to track their rewards so they know when they are close to unlocking a new reward. If your tablet POS system offers the ability to customize digital receipts, the system can provide customers with their rewards points total as well as the additional points earned after each meal.

Interested in learning more about the different ways to improve your restaurant by introducing more advanced technology options? Talk to one of our expert restaurant technology consultants today!

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