What is the future of restaurant loyalty programs?

A Deeper Dive: Mastercard’s Stephanie Meltzer-Paul joins the podcast to discuss loyalty programs and why they’ve become so popular in the restaurant industry.

Loyalty programs are all over the place. But are they really necessary?

This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Stephanie Meltzer-Paul, the EVP of global loyalty for Mastercard, to talk about loyalty programs.

We asked Meltzer-Paul to join the podcast given how popular these programs have become. Just about every major fast-food chain, and many casual-dining concepts, have one of these programs, many of which were added only recently.

But there have been some high-profile upgrades of these programs that haven’t always gone over well with loyal customers, often creating bad press in the process.

We ask Meltzer-Paul about these issues, and why so many companies are spending so much effort on these programs. We talk about whether these programs are truly necessary—she has an interesting answer for this—and why it may sometimes be necessary for popular programs to accept some angry customers as their programs mature.

And we ask her about the future of loyalty programs and what kinds of trends can be expected out of them in the coming years.

It’s all about loyalty on A Deeper Dive so check it out.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Subscribe on Spotify.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Brands shift their attention back to smaller operators

The Bottom Line: While plenty of franchises like Subway still want large-scale franchisees, there is a movement to keep their sizes down.


Should Cracker Barrel get out of the gift shop business?

Reality Check: The retail component of the family dining concept drew off sales and profits during the brand's most recent quarter. Maybe it's time to leave the shops out of future Cracker Barrels.


Wendy's, whose chairman is an activist, may be getting an activist

The Bottom Line: Activist investor Blackwells apparently plans to nominate “several directors” to the burger chain’s board, according to Reuters.


More from our partners