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11 notable new loyalty programs, revamps, and upgrades of 2023

From Sweetgreen going all-in on an app, subscription and loyalty program; to Subway’s new MVP rewards program—loyalty got a major upgrade this year

Was 2023 the year of the revamped rewards program? Ever since digital loyalty programs became the norm – with their emphasis on personalization, customization, and a more flexible points to rewards structure —restaurant brands have been introducing and reintroducing loyalty programs for the modern era.

Two of the biggest loyalty trends in 2023 were NFT-based programs (which started gaining momentum at the end of 2022 with the creation of Starbucks Odyssey) like Wow Bao’s newly upgraded loyalty program; and subscription programs, which were a big hit with Sweetgreen and Panera customers.

Many companies that jumped on the loyalty bandwagon for the first time in 2023, including Cracker Barrel and Cheesecake Factory, were hopeful that a rewards program would resonate and really make a difference with attracting and retaining returning customers.

“We believe it has the potential to be the best, most engaging loyalty program in the full-service dining industry and will help us further extend our hospitality into the digital realm,” Cracker Barrel’s then-CEO Sandra Cochran said ahead of the company’s loyalty program debut in the fall.

Here is a breakdown of 11 new loyalty and rewards programs and significant program revamps that made their debut this year.

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