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Friday's debuts new loyalty program

T.G.I. Friday’s on Tuesday introduced a revamped customer loyalty program at its 580 domestic locations, providing easier reward redemption levels and offering the program 3.7 million members more options.

“It gives guests more choice, control and flexibility in how they engage with our Give Me More Stripes program,” said Trey Hall, senior vice president and global chief marketing officer for the Carrolton, Texas-based casual-dining chain.

Friday’s originally introduced its Give Me More Stripe program on April 1, 2008, and supplanted a Gold Points loyalty promotion that it operated with its Minneapolis-based parent company, which owns the Radisson hotel chain.

This version of the program offers five reward levels, from 50 points to 150. Customers accrue one point for each dollar spent at a Friday’s.

“They have more reward levels to choose from and they can decide when they redeem their points rewards based on what works for them,” Hall said. “They can make choices. They have the flexibility to redeem for smaller items such as desserts and sandwiches at lower point levels and save up more points for bigger items such as steaks and things like that.”

For example, at 50 points they can get a free dessert and at 80 points a sandwich or burger. Previously, there was one reward at 100 points: an $8 coupon. That 100-point reward remains, but a chicken or seafood entrée has been added. “At 150 points, it’s all about beef and steak and things like that,” Hall said.

Roger L. Brooks, author of “The Power of Loyalty,” said in a phone interview: “What I like about Friday’s is they took an approach that is very aggressive in giving what I think is an extraordinary reward. They are paying out 8 percent on a $100 spend with an $8 certificate. Typically, in any rewards program you are in the 1 to 3 percent [range]. ... They went really far.

“The whole idea with any loyalty program and to set yourself apart from others in your space is not to be ordinary,” Brooks added. “You want to be extraordinary. You want it to be better than everyone else’s.”

Friday’s has tested the new program in five markets over the past few months, Hall said, “with great success.”

“We believe very strongly in the power of loyalty programs,” he added. “If you look at the value of a GMMS member versus the value of a regular guest, it’s three to four more times more valuable. So it’s important to keep the program competitive.”

Currently, the Stripes program is available only at domestic locations in the Friday’s 900-unit global system. “We have some technology differences between here and, for example, Hungary, but eventually we want it to be global,” Hall said.

The Stripes loyalty customer is important to the casual-dining chain, Hall said. “They come more often and spend more money and they become our advocates,” he said.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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