Jimmy John’s Gamifies Its Loyalty Program

The QSR is adding achievement badges to combine challenges with rewards.

January 18, 2023

ATLANTA—Jimmy John’s has updated its rewards program to be more gamified and experiential, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. The company announced the launch of achievement badges to its Freaky Fast Rewards program, which will combine challenges with digital badges and rewards.

“Three years in, we’ve seen great success and an opportunity to continue to evolve the program. Consumers love gamification, so it’s the natural next step,” Darin Dugan, Jimmy John’s CMO, said in a statement.

The first achievement badge released by the company is called “The Gauntlet,” and it’s earned when a rewards member purchases all 25 Jimmy John’s core menu sandwiches by March 15. If customers achieve this goal, they receive a Jimmy Chips beanbag chair.

“Through our active and robust Freaky Fast Rewards membership, we know that our members value when brands know them on a more personal level,” Nathan Louer, vice president of brand marketing and activation at Jimmy John’s told Nation’s Restaurant News. “We see an important opportunity to drive frequency and loyalty with personalized offers and challenges. Gamification is not necessarily the future of rewards programs, but it’s something that we deem important for our rewards journey.”

Jimmy John’s will be releasing new badges throughout the year, and the company admits that some won’t be as ambitious as The Gauntlet.

“We’ll be releasing new surprise and secret Achievement Badges throughout the year,” said Dugan. “Whether you enjoy dining in, ordering delivery or eating late—there’s bound to be an Achievement Badge with your name on it.”

Eateries and retailers are stepping up their loyalty programs to encourage repeat visits and increase customer spend. Chipotle Mexican Grill recently announced it is launching "Freepotle," a new Chipotle Rewards benefit that gives members up to 10 free food drops throughout 2023.

"In an environment full of pricey subscription programs, we're introducing a pass to our real food that is free to join and will provide more value to our community than ever before," said Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer. "'Freepotle' makes Chipotle Rewards a must-join program for all Chipotle fans in 2023."

Last fall, Panera Bread updated its loyalty program to include choice-based rewards. Panera’s loyalty program, MyPanera, now allows members to select their reward from multiple options based on their personal preferences, instead of a single, pre-selected reward.

The company says the new benefit is rooted in MyPanera's relationship-based loyalty program, where rather than a transactional points system, members are rewarded based on frequency of visits, spend and their individual purchases and preferences.

Loyalty customers spend more at convenience stores, according to recent Paytronix research. In fact, convenience store in-store loyalty check sizes have eclipsed inflation. C-store loyalty members annually spend 38% more on average than other customers, and the report found fuel visits increased by 8% in 2021 for loyalty member customers. Also, the most loyal c-store customers are visiting businesses one or more times per day.

Look for “Welcome to the Club” in the February 2023 issue of NACS Magazine to learn how c-store loyalty programs are moving beyond simple points and rewards to a personalized experience.

A free NACS webinar is available that shows retailers how to improve their current loyalty program.

Also, NACS published a free report on how convenience retailers can build loyalty program affinity beyond rewards and provides insights on c-store loyalty programs, shopper expectations, program engagement, personalization and program access/communication.