Everyone loves a freebie and in this economy retailers, dining spots, and services, especially chains, are fighting to not only gain your business but convert you into a dedicated, repeat customer. One method is eClubs or other loyalty programs. For the most part, all you need do is turn over your name, email address and birth date. In return, you get some sort of freebie for registering, as well as coupons and special offers year-round, plus a birthday “gift.” This post looks at some of the most “rewarding” restaurant loyalty programs.
Many fast-food and casual dining restaurants issue plastic cards encoded with a unique number. The card gets swiped by the cashier at each use and automatically tracks purchases and rewards. For instance, through Qdoba Rewards you get 100 points for each entrée purchased. Every 1,000 points earns you a free entrée.
Red Robin Red Royalty has recently ramped up its rewards. Not only do you receive a free appetizer just for registering, but buy nine items and get your 10th free. Visit five times in the first five weeks of your membership and receive $20 off your sixth visit. Ask for a Fazoli’s Fanatic for clerks to stamp at each visit. Earn a free garden salad or dessert on your fifth visit and free adult entrée of your choice on your 10th time in.
Tokyo Joe’s Addict Club gives you access to monthly deals (which change every month). After signing up online they send you a Tokyo Joe’s key fob. “Flash your fob” and the deal is yours. Many deals are buy one, get a free — meal, drink, appetizer or kids meal or half-price specials.
One of the newest programs comes from Panera Bread. The more you use your My Panera card, the more you get in return, from free pastries or drinks to exclusive invites for special private tastings.
Other eClubs simply email you links to a printable coupon or notice of deals for club members. Just for joining Sweet Tomatoes Club Veg we got a coupon for 15% off our next meal, for up to four adults. Noodles & Company Noodlegrams gave us a coupon for a free dish with the purchase of a second dish of equal or greater value.
Country Buffet membership appropriately starts with a free buffet meal, while Mimi’s Café eClub members receive a free breakfast. At Del Taco, signing up for the Raving Fan Club earns you two free chicken soft tacos, then a free premium birthday shake.
Another eClub can get you free dining at even the finest of restaurants. OpenTable is a popular, free online reservation service. Once you create an account, every time you honor an online reservation, points are awarded. Most reservations net 100 points though some go as high as 1,000. Points can then be redeemed for OpenTable Dining Cheques: 2000 points equal a $20 check, 5,000 equal $50, and 10,000 equal $100. Dining Cheques can be used at any OpenTable restaurant and with more than 10,000 from which to choose, odds are you’ll find one that suits your tastes. Bon appetit!