Research: QSR's Love For Loyalty Intensifies

Americans are hungry for restaurant loyalty programs. And QSR companies that want to feed that need should step up their digital game, according to new research from Paytronix and PYMNTS. 

The study finds that 68% of consumers ordered from a restaurant in the last month, not including those using an aggregator like DoorDash or Uber Eats. And 44% of all consumers had ordered from a QSR. About half of those restaurant patrons have had some kind of interaction with a loyalty program.

Based on 2,400 adult participants, the new study finds that younger adults, the college-educated, and individuals who earn more than $100,000 are the most enthusiastic about loyalty initiatives. Among Gen Z, 64% participate in at least one loyalty program at a table-service restaurant, while 61% of millennials patrons do. That compares to 37% of Gen-Xers and 27% of baby boomers.

Mobile apps are a core component, used by half of all loyalty program members at table-service restaurants and 60% of QSR programs. And 70% of QSR members say they use their loyalty perks at several of the chain’s restaurants.

These consumers say digital tools that make the dining experience easier for them would encourage them to use loyalty programs more. And 34% say that tangible improvements to the ways they order and pick up -- such as enabling online ordering and payment and fast-lane pickup -- will have the most significant impact on their loyalty.

“Many restaurant patrons want to choose a dining experience optimized by practical digital features such as technology-enabled ordering and pickup options,” the report says. “Loyalty programs and digital technology can be powerful tools for restaurants seeking to engage new audiences. As consumers continue facing an expanding array of food choices, restaurants will have to balance their adoption of new technologies with mastery of the basics — customer service and food quality — to remain competitive.”

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