Paytronix provides reward program solutions to restaurants and retailers. Reading this blog will keep you informed about all new theories related to acquiring and retaining guests so that you can improve their LTV.
Whether catering is already an established part of your restaurant or a new addition, offering your catering customers a rewards program designed just for them is a great way to grow a loyal repeat customer base. Restaurant catering is a $33 billion industry, so it makes sense that casual, fast casual, and quick-service restaurants are making catering loyalty programs a priority.
Why Catering Loyalty?
For restaurants that don’t already offer catering, launching a catering program provides a steady flow of sales. It also provides excellent opportunities to reach new audiences and grow awareness of your brand among those who might experience your brand for the first time at a catered event. The average business spends $1,100 per month on catering, with average orders over $200. Thirty percent of catering customers order weekly, and twenty percent of them order multiple times per week.
That steady flow of reliable large orders could be a huge boost to your sales. By gaining even one or two new catering customers per week, you can reduce the strain of trying to acquire over twenty individual new guests. Pairing a top-notch experience with a rewards program specifically for your catering customers is a great way to grow loyalty and inspire repeat purchases.
Driving Loyalty Through Catering Rewards
The nature of catering makes it necessary for you to develop a separate rewards program for your catering business. If you have a rewards program for individual orders where for every ten orders you get one free, applying that to catering might result in a free order worth hundreds of dollars, revenue you don’t want to miss out on. Here are a few ways you can use a catering rewards program to drive loyalty:
Offers for First Time Orders: The first time a catering customer places an order is the first opportunity to make a fantastic first impression. Experts caution against giving discounts in this situation as it devalues your product from the very start of your relationship, but instead suggest providing a small dish for free, for example, a plate of cookies. The margins in catering tend to provide enough cushion where there is room for something like this — and if your cookies are amazing, it could be something that customers choose to add on to future orders.
After the First Order: After you deliver a great experience to your first-time customer, why not ask them for their business again while your restaurant is fresh in their memory? Offering a quick turnaround promotion for catering orders placed within a certain time from their initial order could help to get you on a catering customer’s regular rotation.
Points per dollar or per order: One idea around catering rewards is to offer a point system based on either dollar amount or order frequency and then to allow customers to cash in their points for different items. A certain number of points could be required to earn a free dessert, or an appetizer. Other catering rewards programs let you redeem points for money off your next order or for gift cards. Taking a critical look at your customer data is necessary to know what type of rewards your restaurant should offer.
Rewards for the Order Placer: Often in catering, the person placing the order is doing so on behalf of a business and may not be eating any of the catered meal. Some catering rewards programs allow a small number of points to be redeemed for an individual entrée in addition to any catering rewards as a way to reward the person who places the order and to maintain that relationship.
Know Your Customers
Much like your other guests, it’s important to know as much possible about your catering customers as well. Knowing the order cadence for each guest so that you can accurately target your lapsed catering customers with promotions and incentives is just as important as in any other piece of your marketing campaigns.
What Does Success Look Like?
Whether catering is new to your restaurant or not, measuring your performance is necessary to know if your efforts are working and what areas need to be targeted for improvement. Some metrics to look at are:
Repeat Customers: If they aren’t choosing to book you for catering again, you’ve either failed to make that first experience memorable or perhaps your sales team didn’t follow up as well as they should have.
Rewards Enrollment: How many of your catering customers are signing up for your catering rewards program? If they are repeat customers but are not enrolled, it may be either a communication problem or a value problem. Make sure that these customers know about the rewards, that you’ve made the enrollment process as easy as possible and that the rewards are things that appeal to them.
Follow these tips and you can add a catering rewards program to your restaurant that highlights the unique aspects of the catering business and provides a boost to your revenue.
Recently the (FASB) Financial Accounting Standards Board and (IASB) International Accounting Standards Board got together to try to make “revenue” mean the same thing in every industry and every country.
And while that might sound easy, it turns out that the US alone is notorious for having different rules for different economic sectors. So, the FASB and IASB set out to fix that.
In 2018, the new model guidelines they set for public companies went into effect. And in 2019? They go into effect for private companies.
In a nutshell, these guidelines are going to affect nearly every program you run as part of your rewards or loyalty program. The new accounting rules for loyalty programs—even programs as simple as “buy 9, get 1 free”—may force you to change how you represent the costs and revenue in your accounting system.
Tune into a free, on-demand webinar, “New Accounting Rules for Loyalty,” to learn how these new accounting rules affect your loyalty programs and what you need to know. Click here to watch.
In the webinar, Andrew Robbins provides examples for both simple “buy 9, get 1 free” programs, plus more complicated points-based programs.
It’s likely that you track your “buy 9, get 1 free”-type program with an incremental cost/expense accrual accounting model. You’ll hear why the new accounting rules for loyalty programs will require you to change to a deferred revenue model.
You’ll also learn why some types of loyalty programs need to switch to deferred revenue models, others don’t. For example, while rewards programs need to switch to the deferred revenue model, general offers can remain on the incremental cost model. But what about e-clubs and challenged-based promotions? We’ll dig into those as well.
Take advantage of the 5-step process for implementing these new accounting rules for loyalty programs.
These new rules could have a major impact on your company’s accounting systems and you should be prepared.
Learn everything you need to know, with plenty of examples to help make the concepts clear. You can even download the video to review with your own accounting team.
Your guests are going through their phones right now and deleting apps they don’t use. Why would they keep yours?
If your mobile app delivers convenience and enhances their experience with your brand, they’re more likely to use it. If not, it will be added to the millions of apps that are downloaded and deleted every year.
Whether your brand is a restaurant, convenience store, or retail store, engaging your guests on mobile contributes to the overall impact of your loyalty program. That’s why we’re investing in continually developing new features in the Paytronix-powered mobile apps. Here are some of the highlights from 2018 and what’s in the works for 2019:
New User Experience. Enhancements to the user experience get members into your loyalty program more quickly, reduce abandonment so that more members join, and tells each member where they are in the program along with any rewards and promotions they can utilize.
New Brand Enhancers. Soup to nuts, the apps have taken a huge leap forward. Everything is customizable – from the progress bar to the font styles, icons, colors, images and more. Build an app that reflects your brand and deliver the experience your guests love.
New Food Ordering Experience. Native in the apps, the ordering experience is now fast, easy, and totally friction-free. Plus, with the new Curbside integration, you’ll be able to fire orders and get them to guests when the food is at its maximum tastiness. When the guest arrives, the store will be notified, and servers can then bring the food, hot and ready, out to the guest’s vehicle! Your guests will be thinking “Skip the line? How about I wait in my car and let the server come to me?” It’s never been easier to create a food ordering app and provide amazing service.
The newest features don’t stop there. The team is already working on:
More App Usage Monitoring. Quickly answer questions about active app users with dashboards designed specifically for mobile app management.
More Online Ordering Integrations. An expansion of native online ordering with SSO is on the way. Up next is Monkey Media, and more.
More Customization Options. Branded apps get you to the market quickly and you’ll enjoy the ability to change the page layouts and flows to match your guests’ needs.
Apple Pay and Google Pay Options. These two payment options are dominating the market – and your guests want to use them to pay.
CMS Features. You’ll have a self-service tool that will enable you to change app graphics on the fly to match seasonal and other brand enhancing promotions.
Every restaurant understands that attracting new customers is crucial for sustained success. But even though the millennial generation begins with those born in 1979, many restaurant owners struggle to connect with this audience—not to mention Generation Z, the generation that comes after it.
Today, we’re going to examine common attributes and behavioral trends for both of these newer generations and touch on a five-part framework to help ensure that restaurants can attract and retain more millennial and Gen Z customers.
Traits of Restaurants’ Millennial Customers
For millennials, life is very much about collaboration. After all, they are largely responsible for the pervasive crowd-sourcing trend, which features reviews of restaurants and hotels, traffic updates, and ride sharing. Restaurants that want to tap into the millennial customer set need to think about collaboration.
Since the advent of social media, millennials have been sharing everything from selfies and pictures of their meals to videos of their pets. Shareability is an important element for restaurants’ millennial customers.
Millennials are conscious of their own environmental footprints, as well as those of businesses. Millennial customers expect restaurants to give careful consideration to the environment—and the smart ones are doing so.
While everyone has shorter attention spans these days, millennials were the first to grow up with the Internet, email, and various other digital distractions. Restaurants can capture attention by creating content that is useful, entertaining, and of course, shareable.
Of the more recent generations, millennials are known to be the most adventurous, often opting to seek out new experiences rather than making expensive purchases. A restaurant that offers a compelling experience can help millennials satisfy their urge for unique adventures while also fulfilling their need for nourishment.
For a more in-depth look at millennials and how restaurants can attract them, click here to watch our free, on-demand webinar, “Driving Millennial and Gen Z Visits.”
Traits of Restaurants’ Gen Z Customers
Although younger than millennials, the members of Gen Z—born between 1996 and 2010—sometimes display more maturity. Gen Z seems to be made up of old souls who are a bit more conscientious than the previous generation.
Whereas millennials are focused on collaboration, Gen Z is focused on competition. They understand the importance of hard work and are willing to put in the effort to obtain the prize—whether that be in their careers or their personal lives. Restaurants that incorporate healthy competition into their programs will pique the interest of Gen Z customers.
Millennials appear happy to post on social media and share information in general, but Gen Z won’t share data with brands unless given assurances that it will be secure. Restaurants can encourage Gen Z customers to share their information by allaying concerns and making the benefits clear.
While likewise conscious of the environment, Gen Z seems to be more concerned about social issues and equality. Not every restaurant or brand needs to take a social stance, but those that do—and those that take action based on their stance—can likely expect increased loyalty and visits from Gen Z.
Similar to millennials (and probably most of us), the members of Gen Z don’t have much of an attention span. However, they’re even savvier when it comes to the content that brands deliver. They can easily see through contrived concepts and aren’t interested in things that lack uniqueness or a strong purpose.
In contrast to risk-taking millennials, Gen Z is a group of people who are generally both more cautious and more strategically opportunistic. Instead of jumping into things with both feet, they think more analytically to determine how things can benefit them and people as a whole.
For a more in-depth look at Gen Z and its impact on restaurants, click here to watch our free, on-demand webinar, “Driving Millennial and Gen Z Visits.”
Five Keys to Attract More Millennial and Gen Z Restaurant Customers
Simply knowing these details about the two generations isn’t enough. To get more millennial and Gen Z restaurant customers, a brand must implement a plan to capitalize on these traits and give both generations what they want.
Jeff Fromm, the president of the ad agency FutureCast, is an expert on millennials and Gen Z. He joined us for a free webinar and presented his analysis of the two generations. He also discussed a five-part framework that restaurants and c-stores can use to establish programs that will connect with both millennials and Gen Z.
Click here to watch our free, streaming workshop called “Driving Millennial and Gen Z Visits.” You’ll learn the five easy-to-follow steps and find out how every restaurant can vastly increase its number of millennial and Gen Z clients.
For restaurants, gift card programs represent a major opportunity for increased income, increased customer engagement, and increased audience size. But it can be hard to know how a restaurant’s gift card program is measuring up without comparable data.
So, to help restaurants learn how to sell more gift cards, including information about exactly how gift card programs for restaurants can be tracked and measured, you can find all of the most important gift card program details right here.
Restaurant Gift Card Sales Trends
In every restaurant segment, gift cards sales continue to increase year after year. And, while the sales channel (corporate versus in-store versus third-party), it’s worth noting that the breakdown of the third-party sellers is especially interesting. It turns out that discount and third-party retailers help boost sales and contribute to a healthy gift card program.
The report also includes a breakdown of how much value is loaded onto gift cards by type of restaurant.
Since holidays often represent a large peak for restaurant gift card programs, the report also includes an analysis of holiday gift card sales versus non-holiday gift card sales, as well as holiday gift card sales by date in both November and December.
Of course, selling gift cards is really only half of a restaurant gift card program story. The redemption of the gift cards represents an opportunity for upselling and building loyalty, but can also be challenging when it comes to attribution and overall planning.
In this report, you will see a break out of the percentage of gift cards that are actually redeemed by their recipients, as well as the number of days it takes those recipients to redeem them.
The redemption percentage also varies among different types of restaurants—quick service, fast-causal, casual dining, and fine dining—and the lowest redemption percentage will likely come as quite a surprise. And, in fact, the percentage difference between the type of restaurant with the top percentage of redemption and the type with the lowest is a full 24%.
The report wraps up with two case studies to give a few examples of successful gift card programs for restaurants and help spark a few ideas for your own programs.
In the first case study, we reveal how Grotto Pizza drove multiple visits from each gift card purchase, increased the average size of the gift card purchase, increased gift card sales overall, and also increased visits during its typical off-season.
In the second case study, we explore what it takes to actually transfer a gift card program from one processor to another. When Zaxby’s learned that their gift card software provider would no longer process gift cards, it was faced with finding a new gift card provider. To its surprise and pleasure, the transition was smoother and faster than it expected, and also simplified its accounting procedures.
The best time to start planning for a successful restaurant gift cards program is…as soon as possible! Download this free report to see exactly how gift card sales and redemptions have stacked up in the past. Plus, get ideas and tactics to ensure your own gift card program is strong throughout 2019 and beyond.
It seems that mergers and acquisitions in the restaurant industry are happening at an unparalleled pace. Large groups are buying up smaller chains, and some small chains are even buying larger ones—all in an effort to stay competitive during this challenging time.
More worryingly, the number of Chapter 11 bankruptcies being filed seems to have increased as well.
But what can you do about it? How can you safeguard your business and keep it primed for future growth?
The first step is to understand the key factors that are driving these events. Of the seven factors we’ve identified, six are outside of your control, but don’t let this deter you. Knowing about and preparing for these influences can set you apart from the competition.
The last one is entirely in your control and may be the most crucial factor in determining a restaurant’s success. It’s also the one that restaurants are most likely to disregard.
We’ll start with those first six factors driving restaurant industry change:
Some might argue that employee turnover is within a restaurant’s control. And things like salaries, any benefits, and the general work environment can certainly have a major impact. But the restaurant industry tends to see a high percentage of employee turnover no matter what perks are offered, and constantly having to manage staffing comes with the territory.
In most cases, employees are deeply affected by any kind of change to a business. But they’re often management’s last thought when major changes like mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies happen.
Remember, during a significant event for a restaurant, the employees are experiencing uncertainty firsthand … and conveying it to the customers they interact with. Communicating better with employees not only helps them feel more secure, but also makes them less likely to jump ship for another opportunity. Additionally, they will be less inclined to express uncertainty or frustration to your customers.
While it isn’t something a restaurant can control, weather very much affects business. From hurricanes to wildfires to snowstorms, any number of significant weather-related issues can crop up, depending on your location.
These unfortunate circumstances can also present an opportunity for a restaurant to connect with the people and make itself a “safe haven” for the surrounding community. Although a restaurant can’t control the weather, it can absolutely control what is done in response.
Each new generation possesses unique attributes. Generation Z, for example, consists entirely of people who have never been without the Internet and cell phones.
These “digital natives” have a high expectation for convenience and attach a sense of urgency to all needs and desires. They want what they want, when and where they want it. If a restaurant can’t keep up with that, it’s in trouble.
They’re also going to seek information on the Internet. Knowing this, a restaurant’s website and overall digital presence, including online reviews, should fuel the desire to purchase.
Along with the generational factor comes the technological factor. Rapid change in technology makes for more opportunities, but it also adds more challenges.
A restaurant needs to keep informed about technological developments in the back of the house (e.g., classic POS and accounting), the front of the house (e.g., digital menu boards and ordering), and revenue-generating applications (e.g., loyalty programs and CRM). The data gathered from all three areas provides the basis for the restaurant’s data analytics.
It’s a lot to stay on top of for restaurant owners and executives. Fortunately, a company like Paytronix can help a restaurant meet the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities.
The Market Itself
Customers have more options than ever for dining, takeout, and delivery—and they get constantly bombarded by advertisements and promotions for them.
It’s imperative to get customers to choose your restaurant over the competition. One of the key ways to do so is to take a great interaction in the restaurant and extend it out into the marketplace so that it stays with customers and drives them to visit the restaurant again. We’ll dive more deeply into this in the seventh factor.
As was discussed in considering the newer generations, people seek immediacy. Customers expect to be able to consume a restaurant’s food when and where they want it.
Easy delivery and pickup have become major drivers in the restaurant industry, and that’s true even in the fine-dining segment. Being able to give customers the same high-quality food that they would be served in the restaurant—whether via takeout or delivery—is essential for keeping up with expectations.
While the first six factors are generally out of a restaurant’s control, this last factor is entirely within it—and may be the single most important element in determining a restaurant’s success.
The emotional connection a customer makes with a restaurant can’t be underestimated. Through carefully orchestrating the entire customer experience, a restaurant can nurture an emotional connection that will compel guests to come back—and to tell their friends.
In this free webinar, we discuss how to create that connection and give you an exact framework for the customer experience, covering everything from the moment guests arrive to the moment they leave. This proprietary template helps you identify your key challenges and opportunities, and you will then be able to make major impacts on the customer experience.
Apple Pay with NFC Loyalty is now live in 2,000+ locations.
Guests have an easy, secure, private way to pay and pass their loyalty identification in one NFC tap.
The speed of Apple Pay can now be combined with an incredible convenient loyalty experience for all Paytronix customers. The recently completed integration of Apple Pay with the Paytronix Rewards Platform promises easy, secure and private mobile payments that simultaneously record loyalty data in a single NFC tap that’s fast and convenient.
“For the brand, this solution reduces the complexity and more importantly the time required for a cashier to process an order, a key metric for QSR and Fast Casual chains,” said Todd Michaud, restaurant technology consultant with Power Thinking. “For the customer, it brings loyalty functionality into the Apple Passbook, which means one less app they must navigate at check-out, greatly improving their ease-of-use. This in turn will lead to greater adoption, providing marketers with additional data to improve the program effectiveness. Any improvement like this that can positively impact the consumer, store operations and marketing is definitely a win-win-win.”
Some of the benefits that Apple Pay brings to restaurants, retailers and end users include:
Convenient Guest ID. With the NFC Apple Pay integration, guests tap their phones not only pay, but also deliver their loyalty identifier and redeem rewards.
Easy Reward Redemption. The Paytronix software automatically calculates progress to rewards and real-time reward redemption.
More Active Users. Easy identification, payment, and redemption leads to more active users, a broader, richer individualized guest purchase data set, and the ability for the merchant to drive incremental revenue with targeted offers using the Paytronix platform.
Secure Transactions. When a credit or debit card is used with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, each transaction is authorized with a one-time, unique, dynamic security code.
Fast Line Speed. One-tap for payment and loyalty means faster line speeds in restaurant locations. In stores, Apple Pay works with iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, and Apple Watch.
Online shopping in apps and on websites accepting Apple Pay is as simple as the touch of a finger with Touch ID, so there’s no need to manually fill out lengthy account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information.
“I’ve seen the Paytronix Apple Pay with Loyalty ID in action at one of Paytronix’s largest fast casual customers. This combination of mobile payment and loyalty transforms the guests’ experience,” said James Park, CEO, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh. “It’s convenient for both the cashier and the guest to transact with a simple phone tap. We can’t wait to get it in our stores.”
“The Apple Pay with NFC Loyalty solution makes it so easy for the guest to sign up and participate that front line staff are likely to become ambassadors of the program,” said Andrew Robbins, president, Paytronix Systems, Inc. “This innovation is just one of many you’ll see from Paytronix this year as we continue to provide technology that solves guest experience challenges for both the marketing and the operations teams.”
Technomic projects growth for all segments of the restaurant industry next year, with most growth in the two or three percent range. But one restaurant segment is projected to outpace the others by leaps and bounds at 7.5%…
Today, we’re going to examine some of the reasons fast casual restaurants are beating out the other segments, and learn the tactics you can use in your own strategy—no matter your restaurant type.
First, it’s important that we get clear on exactly what “fast casual” entails. Restaurants that fall into this segment include Panera, Freshii, Caliburger, and many more. Fast casual restaurants offer a quick dining solution with a more upscale atmosphere.
Generally, fast casual restaurants offer healthy options, well-designed interiors, affordable quality, and flavor diversity. Beyond these elements, one of the keys that sets this segment apart is its focus on providing solutions for the time-pressed customer.
The fast casual customer is tech savvy and busy. He or she demands convenience and wants to be in control. Fast casual restaurants have developed a wide range of innovations to give more control to their customers, from facial recognition loyalty programs to self-service kiosks.
This focus on quality, atmosphere, and, most importantly, guest convenience has led to more and more fast casual restaurants opening up across the country, and already established brands rapidly adding locations.
Luckily, even if your restaurant doesn’t fall into the fast casual segment, there are still important lessons to learn from them and innovations to put in place that can dial up your convenience for customers and give them more control and more satisfaction.
Here are four things you can begin to implement now:
Efficient Apps. Your customers want to interact with your restaurant in a way that is most convenient for them and, often, that way will be via their mobile devices. An app that allows your customers to check-in, earn and redeem rewards, pay, and other such features makes it easier for people to stay involved in your loyalty program and easier for them to interact with (and purchase from) your restaurant.
Mobile Payment. An easy mobile experience is key to success, and allowing for payment via mobile devices enhances that experience. Mobile payment can allow people to pay for delivery and pick-up orders, and can also allow them to pay via their mobile devices even while at the table in your restaurant. It makes it easier for your customer to pay when and how they want to, and also ensures that they stay connected with and engaged in your loyalty program. Plus, mobile payment also ensures you’re gathering useful data about customer behavior.
Curbside Pick-Up. Allowing people to order and then get their meal without even getting out of their car demonstrates that you value your customers’ time. This offering doesn’t need to be specific to QSRs or fast casual restaurants either; both casual dining and fine dining could add this service to their offerings.
Delivery. With more and more delivery-only companies coming on the market and with the biggest players continually increasing their speed and transparency, adding delivery options to their offerings should be something every restaurant is considering. It’s important to note, too, that 52% of delivery orders are digital, so it’s important that your website and/or app connect seamlessly with your delivery experience.
The old saying is “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” but perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, “if you can’t BE ‘em, join ‘em.” You don’t need to be a fast casual restaurant to capitalize on the techniques fast casual restaurants are utilizing and the success that they’re enjoying.
Focus on putting the control in the hands of your customers by enhancing your technology, and it makes it just that much easier for your customers to choose to dine with you again and again. Learn more about the fast casual segment in our latest on demand webinar, “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em by Putting the Guest in Control.”
Today’s customers can be your best friend or worst enemy. In an age where one shared bad experience can go viral and bring heaps of negative attention onto a brand, it’s important to understand what’s bringing customers through your front doors and what’s driving them away. As a frequent restaurant visitor, I’ve experienced behaviors from brands that were more likely to turn me elsewhere than to bring me in to eat.
Here are three reasons why I may have stopped eating at your restaurant:
1. You sent me kids offers before I had children. Kids eat free promotions are a great way to drive traffic from families, particularly on days when business is slower than usual. However, if you’re running this kind of campaign, make sure that it’s going to guests who can take advantage of it. Without the means to collect data and segment your audience, you end up sending offers like this to everyone, which all-but guarantees any guest without kids will avoid your brand on a night when families with children make up a large percentage of the dining room.
Moreover, sending messages that have nothing to do with the person receiving them can damage the relationships you work so hard to nurture. Relevant communication can strengthen relationships and increase guest loyalty. Gaining insights into buying behaviors will allow you to better segment your guest population and ensure that your single guests aren’t getting invited to join you on a night filled with hungry kids.
2. I had a poor mobile experience. I’m sure I’m not alone when in saying my phone plays a significant role in my dining experience. Whether I’m out and researching where I should eat in my immediate area or using a mobile ordering feature to skip the line, I am more prone to select a restaurant with a fast, user-friendly experience. When I encounter a restaurant without a mobile-responsive website that requires me to pinch and zoom just to look at the menu, I’m probably going to pass.
Additionally, if I’m required to use more than one mobile app to get the full guest experience, I probably won’t bother using any of them. It’s hard enough to get guests to use one mobile application, so why make users download an app for online ordering and a different app for loyalty program management? I encountered this once, and that was the last time I engaged with that brand on my mobile device. In fact, that was the last time I ate there. When making decisions regarding your mobile platform, always ask ‘will this make it easier or harder to do business with us?’
3. Your service is too slow. Line speed is a concern shared by every restaurant operator. Many claim this as a reason why they are hesitant to implement loyalty programs, as they fear that increased guest interaction will lengthen transaction times. However, with the right technology and program structure, line speed should not be a concern.
For starters, your program should prevent members from gaming the system. I once visited a coffee shop with a visit-based program and stood behind a customer who rang up multiple items on multiple transactions, just to maximize their visit credits and loyalty program points. This is the kind of behavior your program should strive to eliminate, as it will cause people to go elsewhere rather than wait in a slow line.
Furthermore, today’s guests expect a quick and convenient ordering experience. Guests increasingly prefer the ability to skip the line entirely by ordering ahead or getting delivery, even from concepts that traditionally have not offered delivery services. This is why more full-service restaurants are installing takeout windows and drive-thru fast food concepts are partnering with third-party delivery services. In 2018, you should think convenience over culture. What is the most convenient way for guests to get a satisfactory meal from your restaurant? If you maintain this mindset, you’ll continue to receive my business.
Ultimately, maintaining guest loyalty comes down to knowing your guests and meeting them where they want to go. By allowing the guest to interact with you in the way they prefer and collecting the data you need to communicate with them in meaningful, relevant ways, you’ll see far fewer people like me walk out the door and into another restaurant!
Leslie Wilson-Lopez recently joined the Paytronix Data Insights team from Togo’s Eateries, Inc., a fast-casual chain of restaurants with more than 230 sandwich shops across the U.S. As director of brand management at Togo’s, Leslie was responsible for cross-channel marketing initiatives, including digital loyalty and gift programs, online ordering, guest and social response, quarterly promotions, and new product introductions.
Paytronix: Why did you decide to join the team?
Wilson-Lopez: The Togo’s Rewards program was one of my favorite initiatives. I led the review process that selected Paytronix as Togo’s loyalty partner, worked closely with Paytronix as we rolled out the program, and continued to collaborate with Paytronix on day-to-day program management. Paytronix helped Togo’s understand its guests and what motivates them, create relevant guest engagement, and measure the impact of our work. Consequently, I believe in the power of a rewards program and using customer data to drive transactions.
Paytronix: What are you most excited about in your new role?
Wilson-Lopez: I am working with some of the most imaginative brands: YogurtLand, Boudin San Francisco Sour Dough, Peet’s Coffee, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Shari’s Café, and Fine & Vine Hospitality. Together, we are continuously pulling levers on the customer data to drive transactions – ultimately growing the brands’ connection to their customer base so that the brands can retain them over a longer period of time. We’re motivating first-timers to visit a second time, moving light users to medium users, and more to increase the customer value.
Paytronix: What is the secret to motivating guests to change their behavior?
Wilson-Lopez: The secret is in the data. The data has to teach you something that informs action. You need a before state, an action, and an after state to measure.
The Paytronix platform offers a myriad of tools for motivating behavior, from the core loyalty program structure to its campaign tools. Marketers can segment and target guests on more than 60 different attributes and then dial farther within each attribute. The easy-to-navigate campaign center enables the user to see the change in behavior and measure incremental lift. That’s unique.
Beyond the tools that are available in the platform, Data Insights uses big data tools, machine learning, and predictive analytics to further segment the data. Based on what our data experts see in the information, we make recommendations for testing core program design options, offers, timing, and message cadence. We are seeing great success with 1-to-1 visit challenges that are designed to motivate the guest to add another visit to their usual cadence.
Paytronix: As a customer, when you compared Paytronix to other providers, what were the key differences?
Wilson-Lopez: Compared to its competitors, Paytronix is constantly evolving and developing new technology based on consumer trends and desires. It’s on the cutting edge of what customers want. For example, every marketer wants to attribute their efforts directly to sales. That’s hard to do. Paytronix has the tools to measure direct impact of promotions on the bottom line and can prove ROI. In addition, Paytronix just introduced “Click to Load” which only loads the offer onto the guest’s account when the guest takes an action, i.e., clicks the link presented in the email. I found that other companies had interesting looking user interfaces, but when it came down to features and function that helped me do the job at hand, they just weren’t there. Plus, they did not have the security, controls or the robust platform for detecting fraud that Paytronix has.
Paytronix: Of the Paytronix solutions, what do you think will be the most transformative to how restaurants engage with their guest in the next two years?
Wilson-Lopex: Of course. NFC (Near Field Communications) capabilities for both the Apple and Android mobile platforms will change the way guests pay and identify themselves in restaurants. Paytronix announced Apple Payment with NFC Loyalty ID for restaurants in February and is the first loyalty provider to have this successfully up and running in restaurants. This feature streamlines the payment process for both the brand and the guest. Guests simply tap their phones to identify themselves at the POS, pay for their transaction, and redeem rewards.
Other providers have said they have the technology but have failed to deliver. That’s one thing I love about this company – its honesty. In addition, they treat everyone with respect, kindness and professionalism – from their employees to their customers and partners. No idea is a bad idea. The response is never “no,” but “how can we improve to make that happen?”
Paytronix: How will you be incorporating data analytics into your clients’ programs?
Wilson-Lopez: Loyalty and customer engagement are critical to growing a restaurant business. It can get more people interested and engaged with a brand and also influence those who already love the brand to increase their interactions.
As a Data Insights strategist, I get to help restaurants leverage their customer data to better understand guest behavior and to set strategy for increased engagement and visits. Helping restaurant professionals grow their businesses is something I’m extremely passionate about.
Today, social media has changed marketing dramatically. A restaurant can run a TV or radio campaign, but they have no way to systematically measure the results. With a tool like Paytronix, we can see what the response to a campaign is in real time, quickly evaluate that data and determine how to move forward.
There are so many things we do for more than 350 brands.
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