Panda Express announced Tuesday the launch of its first points-based national rewards program. Like many other rewards programs in the “loyalty 3.0” era, Panda Rewards offers personalized rewards and “surprise and delight” prizes as guests spend more over time at Panda Express.
The rewards program also introduces an overtone of gamification to the digital program by encouraging guests to “collect good fortune.” For every dollar spent at Panda Express, a customer will receive 10 points, and once 200 points are accrued, they can begin cashing in points for prizes. Every month, members will unlock a randomized “good fortune” gift, which might include special discounts, free points, or a digital fortune cookie. Members will also be able to redeem a birthday gift of their choice.
"Sharing good fortune is an important value at Panda, and we are delighted to launch our first rewards program nationwide as a heartfelt expression of gratitude towards our loyal guests for their continued support throughout the years," Andrea Cherng, chief brand officer at Panda Express, said in a statement. "We look forward to engaging our guests in a playful and meaningful journey of good fortune as they collect unique prizes offering exceptional value every time they dine at Panda."
Guests can choose to cash in their points for their preferred rewards, which range from free upgrades to free entrees, or a drink of their choice.
Panda Rewards points do not expire unless a purchase has not been made for a year. Members can accrue points through ordering on the mobile app, in-store, on the website, or through the drive-thru lane.
Panda Express is in good company: many other foodservice brands have introduced or revamped their loyalty and rewards programs this year in efforts to appeal to younger guests and encourage repeat visits. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery launched its My Snooze Benefits tiered loyalty program in April with the goal of getting average visit counts up form three times a year to 4-5, Adam Porter, the chain’s director of digital strategy, said during a CREATE Live Learning webinar in April.
In January, both Jimmy John’s and Chipotle revamped their rewards program to add gamification and free food perks, respectively. In April, Sweetgreen launched its own loyalty program that comes with both a free and paid subscription option, each with its own plethora of perks.
Although the Panda Express rewards program is simpler and more straightforward than these subscription-based or gamified loyalty programs, the California-based quick-service brand could always add more features to the program as it gains traction amongst guests.
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