The fight for the fast-casual food diner is a tough one, and loyalty among that group can be tough to earn. At least one chain, though, is stepping up its game in an effort to grab a larger slice of the industry’s share of stomach. TGI Friday’s is reportedly going to makes its already popular rewards program significantly more flexible, adding “relevant experiences,” personalized offers and content to its menu of reward options.
 
It’s also pushing the ways members can collect points beyond the traditional dining for dollars method. Diners will now be able to use an enhanced mobile functionality to trigger in-restaurant interactions, and they will be able to earn points through interacting with the restaurant on social media.
 
The chain currently bills its “Friday Rewards” program as a “friend with benefits” and entices diners with “free food like chips and salsa with every Fridays visit, invites to special events, and all kinds of other great rewards. You know why? Because that's how we treat our friends, that's why.”
 
Members receive one point for each dollar spent, as well as other perks such as a “jump the line pass” every third visit that lets them skip to the front of the crowd, a free birthday dessert, a chance to preview new menu items and invitations to exclusive events.
 
The new program is being created in partnership with SessionM, which focuses on “making your data actionable so you can make your customers more loyal and profitable.” The company promotes clients such as Nike, the Miami Heat NBA team, Arby’s, Coca-Cola and others.
 
“When TGI Fridays first launched our original loyalty program in April 2008, we were the first big player in casual dining restaurants to have a loyalty program. Now that others are catching up, we’re taking another leap forward and bringing our guest experience to a whole new level, both in and out of the restaurant,” said Stephanie Perdue, chief marketing officer at TGI Fridays. “With deep and broad expertise in building interactions that matter, SessionM is the ideal partner to work on this groundbreaking push with us.”
 
“With restaurants, guests are often anonymous from the time they come in, all the way up to when they pay the bill. At that point, you’ve already missed an opportunity to make a lasting impression,” said Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of SessionM. “Starting every interaction – whether in the restaurant or on the app – with an understanding of the customer is absolutely critical. We often say that guest loyalty begins with demonstrating loyalty to the guest, and TGI Fridays wholly shares that philosophy.”

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