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Loyalty Rewards, Customer Experience, Restaurants

How Loyalty Can Supercharge Your Third to First Party Conversion Efforts

Posted on June 5, 2024

Leveraging Loyalty to Migrate 3rd-Party to 1st- Party Orders


Third-party delivery platforms, also known as “DSPs”, like DoorDash, GrubHub & UberEats, help restaurant brands gain mass exposure to new customers by leveraging their extensive customer bases. These platforms attract vast numbers of people who regularly use their services to find and order food, providing restaurants with a direct line to a large audience that might not have been reached through other marketing channels.

By listing on these platforms, restaurants are featured in various categories and searches, making them visible to users searching for what to eat for their next meal. The DSPs often highlight restaurants through curated lists, special promotions, and featured sections, helping these brands to be prominently displayed to a lot of potential customers.

In essence, third-party delivery platforms serve as powerful tools for restaurant brands to gain widespread exposure and drive online ordering revenue that they may not have encountered otherwise. This increased visibility is crucial for restaurants looking to expand their customer base and drive top-line revenue in a highly competitive market.

DSPs are certainly going to help you get orders from guests, however, they command up to a 30% commission cost which will directly impact your bottom line. This then begs the question, how do you get guests to convert from ordering through a DSP to instead start ordering directly from your website, bypassing those painful fees? 

Here’s how you can effective marketing to make this happen. 


It's common practice to put a bag stuffer in 3rd party orders offering a discount on the next order. However, the guests are eating your food right now, they aren't planning the next time they will order at that moment and no one keeps a menu door anymore.

Instead, give them an incentive to join your loyalty program that they can sign up for right then and there while they are enjoying your food.  Yes, that's right, a loyalty program can and will make a difference in retaining your guests on your first-party ordering channel. 

The key is to make sure you have a compelling sign-up offer. t needs to be compelling enough to make your guests take action immediately. 

Examples of compelling sign-up offers: 

  • 25% off (given either in percentage or dollars)
  • free appetizer/dessert
  • Buy one get one free item

What is the easiest way for your customers to get to the sign-up page from a bag stuffer? Put a QR code in the bag stuffer, along with the URL as well, that takes them immediately to be able to download. 

Supercharge this effort by promoting your loyalty program on your online ordering page, so why not take them there immediately? This will both enable them to sign up for your loyalty program AND expose them to your 1st-party ordering channel. 

What happens next? Your customers will have an incentive to order directly over ordering from 3rd-party platforms.  Not all guest orders that sign up for the loyalty program will always necessarily come from your website, but you'll certainly be migrating a considerable percentage of those orders.


Just like in the physical world, you need real estate in the virtual space. Your website is that key place where you will optimally showcase your brand and generate the best customer experience possible. Great UX/UI with a solid brand message is a must. 

You should also make sure your loyalty program is explicitly and strategically placed on your homepage as well as on your online ordering site, clearly communicating the value it adds. Guests must have the possibility to sign up for loyalty at several stages of the online ordering journey - from start to check-out. 

By the way, a single sign-on feature, one that vendors like Spendgo provide, makes it significantly easier since your customers just need to create a single account to both place orders and participate in the loyalty program. 


In all your public listings on platforms like Yelp, Apple Maps, or Google, ensure that the phone numbers and ordering URLs direct customers to your online ordering website rather than to any third-party marketplace. Third-party delivery services often take control of these pages without your knowledge, so it’s important to regularly check and update your listings to maintain direct customer engagement.  

Listing sites are also a great channel both to have customers rate their experience at your restaurant and to promote loyalty program participation. Encourage your customers to leave feedback by rewarding them with points or perks for every review they make after making a purchase. 

This strategy simultaneously incentivizes customers to use your loyalty program and to publicly review your restaurant. This will trigger higher rankings, and higher visibility, ultimately building trust and increasing new and repeat orders. Don't worry, this can all be automated and optimized using customer review platforms like Ovation that are integrated into your loyalty platform.


Social media platforms are powerful tools for restaurants to connect with current and potential customers, guiding them to order directly from your website and encouraging them to join your loyalty programs. 

Make sure the bio on your social media accounts has a direct link to your digital storefront (in addition to a direct link to join your rewards program)! By leveraging engaging content such as mouth-watering food photos, customer testimonials, and exclusive offers, your restaurant can attract attention on networks like Instagram and Facebook, which are particularly effective due to their visual and interactive nature, Twitter's quick updates and interactions help maintain customer interest. Additionally, platforms like TikTok offer viral potential through creative video content. 

Including clear calls-to-action links to your online ordering site and loyalty program sign-ups in your posts, stories, videos, and other publication formats, you can seamlessly convert social media engagement into tangible customer loyalty and increased sales. Keep in mind that your social media profiles also act as an extension of your real estate, so treat them as such!

You can also leverage social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to run digital ads that allow for precise targeting. Clear, clean, and consistent calls to action in your digital ads is key to driving users to order directly. 

Communicating the benefits of joining your loyalty program, to ultimately getting them to use your 1st-party channel, is an effective call to action. Make sure your CTA is ultimately focused on acquisition and retention (AKA loyalty!).


Investing in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and ad platforms like Google Ad Network enables restaurants to effectively drive traffic to their ordering platforms and loyalty programs. By utilizing targeted keywords and geo-targeting, restaurants can reach local customers actively searching for dining options. 

Best practices include crafting compelling ad copy with strong calls-to-action (CTAs) communicating an "order now and earn rewards" message, which can be customized to include your most attractive product offerings and the rewards attached (ex. dollars off on your most popular combo). Make sure your interest targeting is somewhat broad and not too specific as this will increase the reach of the ad as well as lower the cost.

Ad formats like responsive search ads and display ads with eye-catching visuals can capture user attention while retargeting ads remind past visitors of their benefits. These strategies ensure higher conversion rates and foster customer loyalty directly through the restaurant's network.  


The ultimate goal of migrating your guests from ordering via third-party DSPs to ordering directly from your website is powering your ROI. This is why having a comprehensive plan for conversion including a powerful loyalty program, is necessary.  

Did you know that by effectively promoting your direct online ordering channel you can slash 3rd-party platform-generated costs by over 50% and could easily gain almost an entire month’s worth of online sales back in your pocket each year?

Want to learn how to successfully implement these strategies in your restaurant? Schedule a demo with us.