Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to further examine the mediation mechanism to account for the influence of brand experience on brand loyalty by integrating the experiential view of consumption and the appraisal theory of emotion. Design/methodology/approach – An onsite interview survey was conducted in 21 stores of four service brands: Burger King, Cold Stone Creamery, McDonald’s and Starbucks Coffee. Confirmatory factor analysis is used for assessing validity and reliability. Structural equation modeling is used for examining construct relationships. Findings – Brand awareness/associations, perceived quality and hedonic emotions mediate the relationship between brand experience and brand loyalty. Hedonic emotions play a powerful mediation role. Moreover, it is the experiential view of consumption rather than the appraisal theory of emotion that plays a dominant role in accounting for the influence of brand experience on brand loyalty. Originality/value – This research extends previous studies on the relationship between brand experience and brand loyalty by adding hedonic emotions as a powerful affective mediator. Our research also contributes to practitioners by providing strategies for experiential marketing.