My latest obsession is over food app rewards. It really began before the app, I'm talking about the membership loyalty programs circa 2012. Remember the movie "Up in the Air" where George Clooney has a zillion frequent flyer miles? I remember watching that movie and not long after a friend compared his Starbucks stars to frequent flyer miles. I had to get a Starbucks card because I was living on chai tea lattes #mylife. Back then, the color of your card revealed your status and was based on visits. The Gold card status made me feel similar to having a titanium black Amex card. Sometime in 2016 Starbucks switched their program from a visit-based structure to a purchase-based structure. #stillgoldstatus I'm sure the app was around back then, but as we know I'm on the late show when it comes to technology. In 2018, I discovered the app on my phone and am now a full fledged auto reload customer. It is not the same as presenting my gold card, but it is a lot faster. And the gold card still pops up on the app.
Starbucks was my first introduction to food apps and rewards. Now I have about a dozen on my phone. How many do you have? I have 3-4 that are my go to weekly favorites. In addition to Starbucks, Chick-fil-a is another fav. Their program is purchase-based, but the feature I like the most are the pop-up rewards. Random-not random. I like to think it's because I'm missed and they just love my business. But I know it's all analytics and nothing personal at all. But still, I am a fan. In fact, I have a free chicken biscuit waiting on me now. Sometimes, the app tries to get personal by adding a local managers picture from the last restaurant I visited. That's sweet. Because I'm goal-oriented the fact that I'm only Silver status with Chick-fil-a and not the top Red level is irritating. If I think about it to long I will be in the drive thru this afternoon. Dumb. But true. Plus I have accrued enough points for a free chocolate chip cookie. #yum
I also really enjoy the Which Wich app. This one is great for lunch time because the lines can be so long. You order ahead and then just pick up and before long you have a free sandwich, chips and drink. It's all about the points! And bonus, because I'm a frequent shopper, Jose at the counter knows me. Well he knows my name and my favorite sandwich. One time, I had a free drink and I didn't want the drink, so he said, "Take a cookie instead." Now that is service!
A few others that give you points for purchasing are Jamba Juice, Panera Bakery, and Firehouse Subs. This also gives you a glimpse into my favorite fast food places!
There are many other food apps which allow you to place your order and pick up or have delivered. Good, if you are in a hurry and know what you like. But there is no benefit from repeat purchases to get rewards. I like Zoe's Kitchen, Shake Shack and Corner Bakery for ease of ordering and speed. I'm guessing they all may be working on some type of reward program. Let's hope!
So why are these programs so rewarding? They are easy, fast, personalized, and inexpensive. Easy to load on your phone from the app store and available in iOs or Android. Once you are familiar with the features it is so quick to order. Many even have a favorites button or previous order button. As mentioned above, it seems catered to your tastes. Thank you analytics. I have been known to click on a suggestion. It's called marketing and it works. Thank you-no thank you. I really enjoy the food apps because I get rewarded without spending an exorbitant amount. It's a drink, a meal. And then after a few orders, I have a free drink or meal! One day I was able to eat the entire day free. Free Jamba juice for breakfast, free Which Wich for lunch, Starbucks in the afternoon, and Chick-fil-a for dinner. #yougetmypoints