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The Food Institute: Amid Inflation, Loyalty Programs as Popular as Ever


Panera also is hoping to attract new business with its new spicy chicken sandwiches. Eat This, Not That (April 16) quoted a Panera spokesperson as saying the company sold more than 1 million in just nine days despite the $10.99 price tag.

CEO Niren Chaudhary told Forbes Panera considers itself a disrupter in the coffee sector, rejecting the notion premium coffee has to be expensive. He said customers are not taking advantage of the service – just getting the free coffee and not buying anything else – because “Panera has never been known for coffee.” Rather, he said, customers have been coming in more often and buying more items to go with the coffee.

“A subscription model streamlines workflows and saves companies time and money,” Guy Marion, founder of subscription management platform Brightback, a Chargebee company, told The Food Institute.

The experts said the key to successful loyalty/subscription programs is the ability to personalize the benefits and to make consumers feel like they’ve “won” something. Chick-fil-a’s program was cited for its flexibility, offering rewards to everyone, no matter whether they order on-site or online, eat in or take out.

“Loyal customers are extremely valuable to both retailers and brands,” said Benjamin Marston of retail data science firm 84.51°. “At Kroger, a loyal customer’s omnichannel spend is 10 times higher than a non-loyal customer. Retaining these households is key to long-term growth.”

Click here to read the full The Food Institute article.

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