Burger King will start testing its new loyalty program, called Royal Perks, on both coasts today as the Miami-based burger chain becomes the latest fast-food concept to start pushing for ways to keep its most loyal customers coming back.
Royal Perks will be available today in Los Angeles, Long Island, Miami, New Jersey and New York City. It’s uncertain when it will expand nationally. “We’re going to test, refine, expand and learn,” said Whitney Gretz, vice president of digital and loyalty at Burger King, said in an interview. “The goal is to keep adding features and markets.”
Fast-food chains are increasingly pushing loyalty programs in a bid to remain competitive for customers, who are frequenting drive-thrus and ordering delivery amid the pandemic. Wendy’s kicked off its Wendy’s Rewards program last year. McDonald’s is currently testing a loyalty program in the U.S. with plans to make its debut nationally this year.
Such programs are increasingly important marketing tools for chains, which provide loyal customers with rewards and in exchange get more data than they receive from a typical customer—which enables them to tailor marketing and other messaging to that specific customer.
Starbucks, the giant coffee chain, has helped prove how big loyalty can be. Its Starbucks Rewards program now has 22 million members and in the fourth quarter of last year they represented 50% of sales at the chain’s company-operated locations.
Gretz said that customers have come to expect it. “It’s a priority for our guests,” she said. “They’re asking about it. They participate in multiple programs and they see the value in it.”
Such programs can make ordering easy, saving the information, which saves customers time. And the personalized offers also tend to drive sales. “They like that they’re getting personalized offers,” Gretz said. “Everyone is demanding more from all the brands they’re interacting with.”
Royal Perks gives customers 400 “crowns” for signing up, and they earn 10 crowns for every $1 they spend. The company enables customers to earn these points on delivery orders made through the company’s website or its app, and customers can use their accumulated crowns to get anything on the menu. Birthday rewards can be redeemed for the full month of the birthday.
Burger King is also examining third-party partnerships to potentially let customers redeem their crowns for experiences. “We’re really creating something unique,” Gretz said.