Almost all chain and many independent restaurants offer reward programs, also known as loyalty programs. Roughly half of U.S. adults belong to at least one restaurant reward program. Millennials, followed by Gen Xers, are the most likely to join a restaurant rewards program. Nonparents far outrank parents as members. We're starting to see reward programs offered at location-based entertainment venues that get regulars coming bacl and eating at their food facilities.
Free stuff and discounts are the top reasons consumers join rewards programs. But digging deeper into demographic differences can help restaurants tailor their offerings beyond freebies to reach target consumers like Gen Zers. Gen Zers love to experiment with new-to-them foods. For this digitally-connected generation, there's social currency in sharing that they are the ones to discover new items. This helps explain why exclusive discounts and early access to new products particularly appeal to Gen Zers in rewards programs.
Here's a chart showing customers' most preferred rewards, both for all adults and for adults who are members of 4+ restaurant reward programs.