A majority of consumers – 55 percent – don’t use a restaurant loyalty program, according to a new study from William Blair. For restaurant operators, this represents a big opportunity for growth at a time when competition for restaurant spending is stiff and loyalty programs can cultivate stronger attachments to brands. As restaurants have stepped up their pursuit of guests in the past few years, these programs have evolved well past the punch-card system and even the digitized system of accumulating rewards points. Nation’s Restaurant News highlighted some of the newer offerings to come to these programs – and many of them focus on gamification, customization or otherwise elevating the experience around buying food from a certain restaurant. Jimmy John’s and Chipotle, for example, have introduced a competitive element to their programs: At Jimmy John’s, the “gauntlet” challenges guests to purchase all 25 sandwiches on the menu within a set time frame in order to win a Jimmy John’s beanbag chair, while at Chipotle, a sweepstakes-style program enhancement dangles the opportunity for 3,100 members to win free food for a year. Other brands are playing with the subscription model, offering tiered program options – some free and some paid – that unlock exclusive menu items, provide early access to events and products, or allow members to access different levels of giveaways and other perks.