Loyalty programs may have proven successful in many industries — retail, hotel and airline, to name a few — and now the National Restaurant Association is trying to gauge their potential in the restaurant industry.

The Washington, D.C.-based association has launched a strategic partnership with Loyalty 360, the Cincinnati-based Loyalty Marketer’s Association, and arranged for operator and consumer research to analyze the potential of loyalty marketing programs.

Loyalty 360 will also be involved in developing a strategy for the National Restaurant Association’s members for social and emerging media, according to a restaurant association news release. Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter should be a focus of this research because of their potential for brand engagement.

To predict the potential for loyalty programs in the restaurant industry, the associations are planning to research existing programs in the industry, along with consumer research of attitudes and perceptions.

“Loyalty and reward programs are important to restaurants, as frequent guests are the core of any customer base,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association, in the release. “By joining forces with the loyalty experts at Loyalty 360, we are able to create increased value for our members by providing a suite of resources to help them face their current marketing challenges and develop successful loyalty programs.”

The association’s members, as the first survey subjects, and are asked about what loyalty practices they use, whether dedicated resources are available for strategy and implementation and what metrics they are looking for with which to measure loyalty programs, according to the release.

Consumer research, on the other hand, should focus on awareness, preferred loyalty programs already in place, and what factors keep restaurants loyal to their favorite restaurants.