- Denny’s added monthly offers and personalized challenges to its rewards program, according to a press release issued Thursday.
- The challenges, which Denny’s describes as gamified elements, provide specific rewards for certain customer behaviors. For example, loyalty members who eat at the chain four times in July will unlock a free Grand Slam breakfast.
- The addition of gamified elements to the brand’s loyalty suite falls in line with a general industry trend towards adding rewards features hopefully to shape customer behavior and engagement.
The featured challenges, which will change monthly, should help boost customer engagement by tying the value granted by rewards to specific forms of customer interaction, Denny’s President John Dillon said.
“At a time when guests place a premium on value, we are excited about this game-changing summer launch. The fact that it’s also fun is the icing on the proverbial pancake,” Dillon said.
To reward its existing members, Denny’s will give them two free pieces of bacon. The rewards program “will hold offers, fun challenges, and keep track of rewards so they can easily redeem them for the Denny’s flavors they crave,” according to the press release. Aside from the challenges, the rewards appear similar to those described in an archived version of Denny’s website from May.
In April, Denny’s announced it was working with Olo and Sparkfly to launch a new customer engagement suite for its rewards program. That move came just months after the chain appointed Sherri Landry, formerly of CEC Entertainment, as chief marketing officer, as part of an effort to boost the brand’s relevance and customer connection. In March, the brand launched an AR menu that gave participants a chance to access deals and special offers.
Restaurant brands have spent the past year retooling their loyalty programs as inflation has pushed consumers to seek greater discounts. Some, such as Denny’s, have turned to gamified or interactive elements, ranging from implementing tiers based on annual spend like at On the Border, thereby encouraging repeat visits, to the launch of actual games like at Chick-fil-A. These shifts have accompanied broader efforts to improve the personalization and specificity of loyalty programs, as brands enhance old offerings or move beyond simple dollar-for-points accumulation schemes.
The new moves to complicate and enhance programs have coincided with a general shift towards reducing discounts. While such discount cuts rarely are presented openly, they can take the form of points devaluation, with Dunkin’s changes to its coffee redemption prices being the most well-known example. Others have shrunk the discount rate on most items while increasing it for a handful of popular items, as TGI Fridays did in May.