The battle to win loyal guests continues in the restaurant space – and lately, many restaurant brands are vying with each other to stand out in the market with perks including special experiences and merchandise in addition to food. Amid economic challenges like higher interest rates and more controlled consumer spending, loyalty programs have become critical for restaurant brands. However, some brands have been pushing so hard to attract guest sign-ups that those with franchisees are getting some pushback from operators about the new offerings (and therefore delivering an uneven experience with regard to the loyalty rewards offered). If you’re trying to fine tune your loyalty program right now, it’s most important to be able to run it consistently and efficiently. Above all, keeping your loyalty program members interested and engaged means keeping your program simple. It should be easy for your guests to sign up and understand how they can accumulate rewards – and they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to redeem them. Your guests should have the same loyalty experience across your stores. When you can deliver these things, you may be surprised to see how much your loyalty members value them. Case in point: An annual loyalty survey from Deloitte found that as consumer participation in loyalty programs has increased, it’s been fairly even across paid and free programs. So you may have an opportunity to offer a paid program that allows you to deliver a more premium experience and incentivize additional guest engagement and spending.