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Cafes & Restaurants

Fast Food Loyalty Programs: How to Get Around the 'Third Party Delivery App' Problem

Written by 
Brad Davis
November 9, 2019

Loyalty programs and fast food restaurants have always gone hand in hand. But how do you engage customers with a loyalty program when a growing majority of your clientele are ordering online, via a third party food delivery app?

It’s a question that many restaurant owners – from international fast food chains to the old couple who own the curry place on the corner – are asking themselves.

In the last five years, online ordering and food delivery has grown 300 per cent faster than the rate of consumers dining in.

Orders placed through mobile apps will become a $38 billion industry by next year, already making up more than 10% of all fast food sales.

In short, if your restaurant isn’t appearing in mobile apps like UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash or Deliveroo, a good in-store loyalty program will only get you so far.

Sure, you can create a digital loyalty app for your restaurant – but if everyone is ordering your food through a third party food delivery app, who is going to download it (or even know about it)?

This is where QR Codes come into play.

QR code on product packaging
QR code on product packaging

A “Quick Response” code allows brands to enable consumers access to things simply by hovering their smartphone cameras over the code.

By using this technique as a validation method for redeeming rewards through a loyalty program, you can directly engage those customers of yours who prefer to watch Netflix on the couch while they eat!

customer loyalty programs for fast food businesses
Image Source: ERR News

How fast food restaurants can increase customer retention in three simple steps

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how QR code technology can get your fast food loyalty program off the ground, and help you navigate around the intermediary of third party food delivery apps.

1. A customer orders a meal from your restaurant online

Let’s say someone orders a meal through a mobile app like UberEats, for delivery to their house or workplace. They pay through the app, you cook the food, bag it up, and the courier delivers it. Nothing different from normal, right?

2. The customer notices your loyalty program promotion on the packaging

The customer pulls the food out of the bag to find that there are various promotional material all over the packaging – the burger wrappers, the fries scoop, the cup, and so on.

Perhaps a small brochure highlighting the benefits of the loyalty program falls out of the bag as well.

It's here, when customer open their food, that you can really grab their attention - and their loyalty.

3. The customer uses the QR code on the receipt or the packaging to redeem their first reward

After finishing their meal, the customer downloads your digital loyalty app, opens it up and scans the QR code printed on their paper receipt or on a sticker to redeem their first reward.

Perhaps it’s a free side with their next order of a main, or a free upgrade from medium to large.

Whatever the offer is, it needs to be enticing enough that they choose your restaurant again the next time they get hit with those hunger pains!

Food delivery service

And just like that, you’ve successfully acquired a new loyalty program member who is regularly engaging with your brand outside of their chosen food delivery apps.

By having your digital loyalty app on their device, you have the power to send your customers push notifications, texts and emails with exclusive offers and tailored rewards.

Your system for retaining customers works in conjunction with any and all food delivery apps, while costing a fraction of what a full-scale mobile ordering and personalised delivery service would cost.

Want a masterclass in fast-food loyalty engagement? Take a lesson from restaurant giant McDonald's.

What else can you do with QR codes to increase customer retention?

Not only can your delivery customers enjoy the same loyalty program perks as your dine-in customers, but you can also use the QR code function to offer spontaneous side promotions and gamify your customer experience.

example of scratch card offer
A digital scratch card on a loyalty app

Offers like Stamp Me’s Scratch & Win promotion inject a bit of fun into fast food loyalty programs and keep your restaurant front-of-mind. Your QR codes can link to scratch card-style promotions in your loyalty app, which engage customers on another level.

Loyalty app providers like Stamp Me offer tailored loyalty programs to restaurants on a subscription basis, which has all the capabilities of QR code scans for convenient redemption of rewards (we call this function OneStamps).

games on packaging
A OneStamp code on food packaging

How does 'OneStamps' work?

Our OneStamps function allows restaurants to offer their customers a way to redeem rewards without physically being in the store.

QR code on coffee cup
A OneStamp on a sticker

Stickers with unique codes can be slapped onto packaging, coffee cups, receipts or anything else that ultimately reaches the end consumer, and they can scan the code through the Stamp Me app (at which point the code automatically expires and can’t be re-used).

The first scan of the unique code will also automatically join the user to the offer and provide the specified number of stamps.

OneStamps are a custom product using variable printing; Stamp Me can set this up for your restaurant, and the pricing varies depending on:

  • design
  • size of sticker or card
  • quality of the printed material
  • number of colours used
  • quantity of sticker or card being printed
  • timing

For more information on how Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions can offer your business a versatile and highly effective fast food loyalty program that will boost sales and increase customer retention (including your take-out customers), get in touch today.

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