Simplicity and Variety Key Components of Customer Experience at Bloomin’ Brands

When officials at Bloomin’ Brands launched their Dine Rewards loyalty program 18 months ago, it came after considerable research and customer surveys.
Barb Millette, Senior Director of Loyalty and CRM for Bloomin’ Brands, talked to Loyalty360 about the loyalty program’s progression and its very simple concept.
“It’s a visit-based program that allows you to earn and redeem at, not just at one, but four great restaurants,” she explained. “Our guests love the variety and having options from bold steak at Outback to ‘made-from-scratch’ Italian at Carrabba’s, fresh seafood at Bonefish, or indulge in 100 wines by the glass and a fine dining experience at Fleming’s. Simplicity and variety are two important components of the customer experience. I am very proud of our program overall because we’ve received tremendously positive feedback from our members and it continues to deliver very encouraging results for our organization.”
Dine Rewards is the first nationwide loyalty program in casual dining to offer rewards across multiple restaurant concepts. After just three visits to Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, or Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, customers can earn 50 percent off on their fourth visit. The program gives customers the flexibility to choose when, where, and how they want to dine while earning rewards and there’s no cost to enroll.
According to the company, Dine Rewards has more than 4.6 million members enrolled in the program.
“Data plays a vital role in loyalty programs,” she explained. “As a program matures, it creates a wealth of information about members, which helps you connect and build deeper relationships with them. Through a variety of sources, including surveys, research, transactional data and direct feedback, our Dine Rewards program helps us understand what is meaningful and motivating to our members and allows us to determine where we should spend our time and efforts. Whether it is lifestyles, life stages and/or preferences, we all change at some point. It’s important to stay attuned to their behaviors and see when those changes occur so that we can adapt.”
Technology aids the company’s customer-centric approach.
“Technology plays a very active role in our Dine Rewards loyalty program’s experience and engagement efforts,” Millette said. “We have integrated our program into all of our digital and technology channels, which gives members the choice of how they want to stay connected and keep track of their activity.”
But earning and maintaining brand loyalty is an ongoing struggle.
“It’s a question all loyalty programs must face: How do you continue to drive engagement after the initial enrollment?” Millette said. “I believe the key is awareness, ongoing dialogue, and great experiences. Many programs often tend to go somewhat silent after a customer has joined the program, but acquisition is only the beginning in the loyalty journey. It’s essential to continue having conversations and interactions with your members on a steady basis to allow your relationship to grow.”

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