Restaurants Boost Rewards for Price-Wary Consumers

As restaurants try to prevent inflation-concerned consumers from trading down, many brands are becoming more aggressive in their rewards and deal offers in an effort to keep diners coming back.

“With some of the macroeconomic trends ahead, I think it would make sense if the rewards programs started to become more generous, and more restaurants are participating in them,” Or’el Anbar, director of analytics at fast-casual chain Just Salad, told PYMNTS in an interview. “Because it’s easy to roll out to a lot of point-of-sale systems and use the technology restaurants already have in place to now offer reward functionality, and customers are going to be looking for value.”

The salad chain, for its part, announced the launch of its new “Race to Rewards” program earlier this month, per an emailed press release, which offers discounts when members complete “challenges,” much like competitors Sweetgreen’s Rewards and Challenges program.

Inflation is affecting how consumers engage with restaurants, and price-focused rewards could be key to easing their anxieties. Research from the August edition of PYMNTS’ Consumer Inflation Sentiment study, “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: Inflation Slowly Ebbs, but Consumer Outlook Remains Gloomy,” revealed that, in response to inflation, 78% of consumers are eating at home more. Plus, 38% reported they are opting more for lower-priced restaurants.

These decisions come as restaurant prices inflate well above the cross-category average, although still less than grocery prices. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that, while prices for all items were up 7.7% in

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