Liquid Barcodes


Burger King Promises “Royal Perks”

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


As the global pandemic  takes its toll  on  Burger King  in 2020 and 2021 with sales declining 8.6%, we’re looking at the information emerging about how the “Royal Perks” loyalty program is seen one of their drivers for recovery. 

José Cil, Chief Executive of its parent company  Restaurant Brands International, is positioning the program as a tool that will help the brand “move away from using promotions to offer deals”. 

At the time of writing in March 2021, the program is currently a trial both geographically and functionally, with the brand is taking a cautious approach to what consumers should expect. Executives are not committing to a nationwide launch in 2021 as they “take time… going through a fairly rigorous scale-up” to “get it right before it hits nationwide”. 

The trial is  currently available  to digital customers of Burger King restaurants in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, New Jersey and Long Island. 

From an operational perspective, the new digital channels are certainly performing well for the brand, with  global digital sales reaching $6 billion in 2020 and more than doubling in home markets. 

José Cil

José Cil is the Chief Executive Officer of Burger King’s Parent company Restaurant Brands International 

The approach sounds sensible, but with arch-rival McDonald’s one step ahead with its loyalty launch confirmed throughout North America this year, we were keen to review on the Royal Perks proposition and how it compares at this early stage of development. 


Royal Perks

Burger King is calling its Loyalty Program “Royal Perks” 

Burger King’s Royal Perks Program 

  • It’s a points-based program with a currency called “Crowns”. 
  • Members earn 10 Crowns for every $1.00 USD they spend, but for now, they only earn when they order on the BK App or Earning and burning points for orders made in-store is promised “soon”. 
  • Members earn double crowns through the full month of their birthday. 
  • Benefits promised as “coming soon” include free upsize of fries, drink, hash browns, or coffee once per day – something loyal customers will love. 
  • Exclusive offers and challenges are also promised as “coming soon”. 
  • Crowns are added to the member’s account within 48 hours. 
  • Crowns expire after six months. 

The BK app

The BK app is the main channel where members can earn Crowns as well as the website. 

While the pandemic can easily be blamed for shares of Burger King’s parent company to  have fallen 6%, our hope is that the team is approaching their loyalty project as a way to be loyal TO their fans, as well as expecting it FROM them. 

The program in place so far has been described as “very similar to Starbucks Rewards“, and while this is not a bad start, Starbucks has the added advantage of leading the coffee industry with its loyalty mindset and innovation, something Burger King will need to compensate for if it wants to truly delight its customers. 

In our view, the company sounded strangely unenthusiastic at launch, with its Chief Marketing Officer Ellie Doty quoted saying: “It feels like we’ve just accepted what brands have told us is possible with loyalty programs over the years. 

Our view is that the program has plenty of potential when the promised benefits are fully live nationwide, for example with the free upsizing concept an impressive, affordable and certainly compelling concept to users, however the program does feel somewhat transactional with little or no emotional benefits for users so far. In summary, in our view, it’s a proposition to “fix the basics”. 


Liquid Barcodes

Burger King is fixing the basics with its simple loyalty proposition 

Burger King’s Subscription Trial 

While it’s exciting to note the new program’s potential, it is disappointing to note the brand’s failed experimentation with its coffee subscription concept in 2019 – a $5 monthly fee for a coffee every day for one regular hot brewed coffee each day in a small size. 

From the outset, the subscription package had mixed reviews, with some describing it as a “missed opportunity” and others calling it a “brilliant marketing strategy“. We may never know why, but the subscription program was discontinued after just a few months. 

My personal view is that Burger King coffee is not well enough established to tempt consumers from the incredible range of options available, from McCafé, to Starbucks, to Dunkin’ among others. Clearly a loyalty program can only drive behaviour change when the core product is appealing in its own right. Loyalty levers can then drive preferences, but will never compensate for a great cup of coffee, and in a great size. 

As loyalty concepts goes, it seems that “Royal Perks” is being very carefully tested ahead of launch and we wish Burger King every success creating something creative and compelling to help drive their business performance for the months and years to come. 


Burger King logo


About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialising in the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.

How we do it:

We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.

Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.

One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.

Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:

About Me:

Paula Thomas

Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Host of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” Podcast

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing content. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my consulting clients have included Telefonica O2 Priority, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer Group (UAE), as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a former judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards and proud host of the “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast – the industry’s first podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.






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With our loyalty platform, we help design and operate world-class, tailor-made subscription and reward programs that make sure your customers always come back.

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We are trusted by global brands.

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

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Liquid Barcodes

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

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