Panera Bread’s MyPanera™ loyalty program launched in November 2010, and now has 10.4 million members. Equally impressive is that 40%-45% of all transactions in the company’s 1,500+ locations are linked to the program via membership cards. That’s a lot of information about members’ buying habits and preferences – which the company uses to “surprise and delight” guests, says Ron Shaich, founder/exec. chairman. “Because we are able to track individually what people do, we are able to market to them in a way that is unique to them, to offer things that actually further their engagement and affection for Panera.” Among the personalized, often unexpected, rewards are exclusive previews and tastings, cooking and baking tips, recipe books, and/or invitations to special events.
Members of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Frequent Diner Club, launched 30 years ago, earn points for dollars spent at the company’s more than 70 locations. Participants can opt to automatically receive a $25 Dining Reward at 350-point increments or “bank” points to redeem annually from a catalog of premium rewards – ranging from steaks and cooking classes to a wine library, spa experiences, and London and Paris vacations. As an added incentive, Silver (spending $1,000 annually) and Gold ($2,500) tiers earn more: 1.25 points per dollar spent for Silver and 1.5 for Gold, who also receive priority reservation privileges at Lettuce restaurants. The company says the program was built to show appreciation to its best customers, and that it helps create a conversation with them – an important dialog, as Lettuce’s ultimate metric is guest satisfaction.