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Summer months present a challenge to restauranteurs when regular guests may be out of the area on vacation or taking advantage of warm weather to grill at home.  Using your guest engagement platform to create innovative campaigns drives visits and incremental spend.  Check out these five proven ways your restaurant can keep your guests engaged and excited all season long. 

1. Prepaid Meal Passes
Last summer, HuHot Mongolian Grill revamped its traditional summer gift card promotion and launched the HuHot Grill Pass.  During the month of July, guests purchased the Grill Pass for 5, 11 or 25 entrees and had until the end of the year to redeem.  When guests prepaid for their meals, they were more likely to add on additional items like appetizers and desserts. HuHot found that its guests spent 80% more than the cost of the Grill Pass during the redemption period.  With meals already paid for, these passes are a great way to keep guests coming back again and again.

2. Instant Wins
July is National Hot Dog Month, which presented a perfect opportunity for National Coney Island to reward its guests with instant wins.  Throughout the month, new and existing program members had the chance to win free menu items like beverages or fries with every swipe of their loyalty card.  After winning, guests then had 14 days to come back and redeem their wins.  This instant win promotion had the effect of not only exciting guests but delivering huge impact for their business, nearly doubling enrollment as well as increasing visits by nearly 40%.

3. Quests
Giving your guests the opportunity to complete a quest in order to receive a reward is a great way to increase transactions.  The Yogurtland Flavor Quest challenged guests to visit and earn stamps in a virtual passport by trying new flavors that were released throughout the summer. The more new flavors they tried, the more yogurt they could earn at the end of the quest. The first year this promotion was run through the Yogurtland loyalty program and mobile app, participation tripled with 32% of participants coming in once a week or more.

4. One-to-One Visit Challenges
Even if your guests aren’t on the road, encouraging them to visit their favorite location more frequently is a successful way to increase your sales.   Sending your guests one-to-one visit challenges allows both the number of visits needed and the length of the challenge to vary in order to reach the maximum ROI.  Infrequent guests may be given fewer visits over a longer time span than your best guests who may need to visit more often over a shorter time to complete the quest.  Using machine learning to figure out the best challenge for each guest gives you the best chance to truly drive incremental visits during these slower months.

5. Win Back Campaign
Summer is a great time to reach out to guests who haven’t visited recently with a win back campaign.  For one restaurant, targeting guests who haven’t visited in the past 12 months with the richest offers while providing those who are actively engaged lesser offers led to great success. During one of its win back campaigns, this restaurant saw a lift in visits from their least frequent guests of 176%.  By encouraging these guests to come back and increase their activity you have an opportunity to keep them coming back all summer.

Learn how you can introduce these high-impact promotions to your marketing strategy – by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or requesting a demo today.

The post 5 Summer Promotions to Deliver High Impact appeared first on Paytronix.

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Restaurants commonly make three mistakes that restrict their ability to acquire new customers, keep them active, and encourage more frequent visits. You might be limiting the impact of your customer loyalty program without even realizing it, but eliminating these three things will help spur more growth.   

  • Stop requiring app downloads as the only way to participate. According to a recent Harris Poll survey, 58% of respondents were less likely to join a loyalty program that required them to download an app. Another study revealed that 18% of adults in the U.S. still don’t use a smartphone. Considering the number of people who don’t want to download an app and those who are unable to, why would you make that the only method for guests to enroll? By letting more guests interact with your restaurant in the ways they prefer, you increase your ability to market to them and drive incremental visits and spend. Ideally, guests should be able to enroll at the POS, via text-to-join, and even with a physical card. A mobile app is a valuable tool, but don’t make it your only one.
  • Stop sending non-personalized emails. Your customer engagement strategy should be focused on building relationships with your guests. Sending the same generic email to everyone hinders your ability to connect with individual customers. According to SendGrid’s 2018 Global Email Benchmark Report, guests receive an average of seven emails per month per brand, with open rates of about 18%. How can you make sure that your marketing communication doesn’t become part of the 82% that guests never see? One way is by personalizing your emails directly in the subject line. When customers are only one visit away from earning a reward, including that information along with their name in the subject line will cut through their crowded inbox and influence them to visit. Getting customers to enroll is an important first step but keeping them active by communicating timely offers and promotions is what creates value for your restaurant.
  • Stop missing opportunities to target nearby guests. An effective way to increase personalization and drive more visits is by utilizing geo-targeting in your marketing strategy. If some of your customers are nearby and debating where to eat, pushing them a notification at that time may be all the prodding needed for them to select your restaurant over all of their other options. Sending targeted messages to nearby guests results in a significantly higher visit rate than cold email blasts. By reaching out when they’re already close to a location and reminding them of available rewards or promotions, you can accelerate their visit frequency and trigger valuable incremental visits.

To learn more about why you should stop doing these three things, check out our free, on-demand webinar, “3 Things to Stop Doing in 2019.”

The post 3 Mistakes Restaurant Loyalty Programs Need to Stop Making appeared first on Paytronix.

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Do you plan your marketing campaigns months in advance? Do you run the same old campaigns on a predictable basis? Do all your guests receive identical offers? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on to learn how leveraging new technology and changing your approach to a one-to-one model is the missing piece in your customer engagement program.

Picture this: it’s a random Tuesday and your boss says, “We need to get more guests through the door.” You respond by carefully crafting a “We Miss You” campaign to send out to guests who typically visit often but haven’t been in for a while. You send all of them a visit challenge that promises a reward if they come in once in the next 30 days.

While these types of campaigns are effective, is 30 days the right time frame for everyone? In reality, a challenge that has the same message, the same period of time, and the same reward can’t work for everyone. If you send this challenge to a guest who usually visits every day, why would you reward them for coming in once in 30 days?

With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based marketing tools, one-to-one offers and challenges are auto-targeted for each guest. Whereas, one guest may be asked to visit three times to earn a particular reward, a more active guest may be asked to visit five times to earn a different reward. One-to-one marketing enables you to target guests based on their individual visit behavior and easily create better content for your campaigns. You simply set the parameters: – How much do you want to spend? Are guests required to visit within a certain time frame? What are the respective rewards for the challenge? The AI-based system processes these rules to deliver a personalized brand experience to each customer.

As with any type of campaign, Paytronix doesn’t lock you in to a basic set of off-the-shelf promotions. One-to-one campaigns can be leveraged in several ways depending on your brand and business objectives.

  • One-to-One Cadence Rule/Uploader: This version of the one-to-one challenge is “On Visit X, use this reward.” And the intelligent algorithm we’ve created will determine the best challenge for each guest.
  • One-to-One Continuous/Lapsed Designation: This option enables you to send targeted campaigns all year long, rather than doing so on specific days. You also aren’t limited to a set number of tiers that your guests fall into. For example, typically you have tiers such as; guests that visit less than three times, three to five times, or more than five times. With one-to-one continuous campaigns, you can have an endless number of tiers. Manually, this would take an exorbitant amount of time to craft and set up, but with this feature, guests are auto-targeted for you.
  • One-to-One Points/Visit Challenge: This version enables you to vary the thresholds and timeline for a guest’s offer. Some guests may be asked to visit two times in a month for a reward, while others may get a week to visit once to complete the challenge.

Giving control of your promotions to a “machine” can be scary. This feature gives you peace of mind that you are still in control, just with less manual work. You can monitor how your one-to-one campaigns are performing and adjust the parameters in real time to achieve your desired results.

Stop wasting time and brain power on manual campaigns and maximize the return on your marketing investment with a little help from AI.  Learn how – by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or request a demo today.

The post Easily Create One-to-One Marketing Campaigns with Artificial Intelligence appeared first on Paytronix.

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Have you ever wondered how the popular TV show Game of Thrones relates to the restaurant industry? The parallels may not be immediately apparent, but a fictional struggle for power among warring families isn’t too far off from the battle for market share and guest visits. In fact, what we know about the Game of Thrones characters can be applied to your pursuit of industry dominance. Warning: Spoilers for Seasons 1–7 lie ahead.

Jon Snow: Though being misleading could be advantageous in creating political coalitions, Jon is extremely loyal and honest. He has never learned a secret that he was able to keep for very long. This type of transparency is something that restaurant guests value as well, whether it’s knowing the nutritional content of a dish or the sourcing of its ingredients. Your customers also want your values to align with theirs. For younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, this can be a deciding factor when picking a restaurant.

Arya Stark: In the House of Black and White, Arya was asked to lose her identity and become “no one” in order to be inducted into the Faceless Men. When she realized she couldn’t, she started her journey home and regained her identity. Knowing who you are and what you do well is likewise important in the restaurant industry. It may be tempting to follow the latest trend, but you don’t want to go against your brand. While many restaurants are using third-party delivery, some have prioritized controlling their brand and are instead keeping delivery in-house.

Cersei Lannister: Many know her as a ruthless ruler, but Cersei is willing to work with anyone she feels will benefit her. She partnered with the Boltons and the Freys to pull off the Red Wedding, and with Euron Greyjoy to strike at Daenerys’ forces. Restaurants similarly rely on partnerships for providing things like Wi-Fi marketing and online ordering. Having these integrations as part of your guest engagement program is critical to delivering high-impact results.

Bran Stark: How much easier would communication have been in the time of Game of Thrones if messages didn’t need to be delivered by ravens or in person? Imagine if the Three-Eyed Raven had sent all the raw data of Westeros to Bran, and he used machine learning to piece everything together. Bran could have sent a personalized email with a subject line like “Jon Snow, the names of your parents are inside!” Machine learning finds connections between data that you may not have previously known existed, and personalization helps ensure that your email messages are read. 

Margaery Tyrell: While betrothed to Joffrey Baratheon, Margaery endeared herself to the commoners by visiting orphanages and donating leftover food to the poor. Restaurant guests appreciate similar philanthropic efforts. Knowing that a brand supports a worthy cause may make them inclined to do the same. If you give the members of your loyalty program the option of cashing in their rewards as charitable donations, it could engage their hearts as well as their wallets.

Rickon Stark: The youngest child in the Stark family, Rickon is not remembered for much other than the way he died from an arrow shot by Ramsay Bolton. Instead of running in a straight line, he should have known that zigzagging might have saved him from that fate. Restaurants should likewise avoid being predictable. If your standard promotions have grown stale, try doing something different like offering a subscription service or prepaid meal passes. They are great ways to get your guests energized and excited again.

Knowing how to succeed is half the battle. As your restaurant tries to topple the competition and claim the industry throne, you may want to consider infusing your marketing strategy with some of these lessons learned from Game of Thrones.

The post Game of Knowns appeared first on Paytronix.

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Restaurants across the industry are increasingly innovating and finding new ways to provide convenient and frictionless experiences.  Advances in guest engagement, from Wi-Fi marketing integrations to subscriptions, make it easier than ever for visitors to interact with your brand. They also enable you to determine which messages and promotions will resonate best in the future.

Guest engagement helps you get to know more of your customers and keep them active with your brand. Here are five of the top trends for delivering high impact to your top-line sales:

  • Wi-Fi Marketing Integrations
    Restaurants that provide Wi-Fi to their guests are sitting on a goldmine of data. By integrating guest engagement platforms directly with Wi-Fi marketing, you can maximize the effectiveness of your program. Rather than having to transfer data manually from one system to another, you can create a seamless flow of information, letting you market to your guests more efficiently.
  • NFC Smart ID
    Whether customers place their order themselves at a kiosk or interact with your staff at the register, they value convenience but still want to be able to earn and redeem rewards for being loyal followers of your brand. To achieve frictionless on- and off-premises experiences, integrate your loyalty program with NFC payment platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay. They allow guests to participate in your program and pay for their meals with one quick tap.
  • Catering Loyalty
    If your business lends itself to catering, you have likely implemented a catering option or are thinking about it. Gaining even one new catering client per week can be the equivalent of more than 20 individual customers. Pairing catering with loyalty is a great way to get to know this group of guests and inspire repeat purchases. But in most cases, catering loyalty should be kept separate from your regular program because having the same rewards structure would result in a lot of free items and an unnecessary loss in revenue. 
  • Subscriptions
    With modern consumers demanding a frictionless experience, the subscription model provides a perfect solution. Subscriptions can drive repeat visits, boost sales, and build loyalty. When guests have already paid for meals, it guarantees return visits to your location rather than your competition. In addition, preselling meals generates immediate revenue and offers additional opportunities to upsell drinks and appetizers since the base cost has previously been covered.  Integrating subscription-styled services with your loyalty program lets guests continue to earn rewards and enables you to learn more about any shifts in their behavior. And because meals are already paid for and loaded onto an account, guests need only identify themselves at the POS to enjoy a quick and easy experience.
  • One-to-One Marketing
    A one-size-fits-all approach no longer works for customer engagement programs and sending out the same offers to everybody is not going to deliver the impact you need. Individualized offers and promotions provide content that is relevant to each guest and give you the best possible revenue drivers. Using machine learning and data analytics may even uncover guest preferences that you might never have noticed otherwise.

By not sending one-to-one offers, you risk cannibalizing your profits and even alienating some guests. As you get to know more of your customers and learn more about them, purchase data can be used to fine-tune your marketing strategy beyond just visits, frequency, and spend.

To find out more about how to incorporate any of these trends into your restaurant’s customer engagement strategy, contact Paytronix today to get started!

The post 5 Trends in Customer Engagement That Restaurants Can’t Ignore appeared first on Paytronix.

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Looking for ways to update your guest engagement strategy? Today’s loyalty programs don’t just offer discounts – they leverage machine learning to target guests with the offers and promotions most relevant to them while motivating behaviors that increase revenue. In order to be successful, loyalty programs need to enroll as many guests as possible, encourage them to become active members, and drive incremental purchases, so if your impression of a loyalty program is just a digitized version of the old-fashioned punch card, think again!

Here are seven ways to reward guests that can be built into your loyalty program to boost guest activity and ROI for your brand:

1. Experience-Based Rewards

Some loyalty programs reward their guests by providing memorable experiences. This works particularly well for fine-dining brands, which may offer access to exclusive events and allow points to be redeemed for private tasting menus. Some programs also give members a superior dine-in experience through priority seating and the ability to make reservations in advance. Receiving preferential treatment and exclusive experiences makes these guests feel not only valued but special.

2.  Tiered Birthday Rewards

The birthday reward is a staple of most loyalty programs, but it doesn’t need to be the same for all of your guests. California Pizza Kitchen’s CPK Rewards program offers different birthday rewards for guests depending on their level of engagement. Whereas guests in the lowest tier are rewarded with a free birthday dessert, those in the other three tiers receive a free birthday entrée. Guests in the diamond and elite tiers also receive free entrées on their half birthday and earn double points throughout their birthday month, giving these guests even more reasons to celebrate! Using this rewards structure for birthdays makes it possible for all members to benefit, but the rich rewards are reserved for your best guests.

3.  One-to-One Marketing

Loyalty programs should no longer employ a one-size-fits-all approach. Sending out the same offers and promotions to all of your guests is not going to drive the impact you need. As the penetration of your program grows and you gather data on more of your guests, you can use these insights to fine-tune your marketing strategy. Restaurants should target each guest with individualized offers and promotions, providing content that is relevant to them while giving you the best possible revenue drivers. 

4.  No Card Required

Physical cards shouldn’t be necessary for loyalty members to identify themselves. Some alternatives include providing a phone number or email address at the POS, using a mobile app to check in, or adding a pass to their preferred NFC payment app, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. These options enable guests to be recognized without having to carry another card in their wallets.   

5.  Bankable Points

While many loyalty programs still automatically reward guests with free menu items or dollars off after they reach a certain threshold, that isn’t the only structure available. A bankable points system allows guests to save their points and redeem them at different levels. With the URewards program from Uccello’s Ristorante, guests can redeem as few as 100 points for an order of pizza puffs or save until they reach 750 points and redeem them for 25 reward dollars. Starbucks has likewise chosen this format for its recently redesigned rewards program, which gives guests the flexibility to choose the rewards they want, big or small. Bankable points programs are a great option to engage a broad range of guests and promote loyalty in both the short and long term.

6.  Charitable Donations

For some guests, knowing that their points are going toward a good cause is its own reward. One restaurant that gives loyalty members the opportunity to pay it forward is Silver Diner. With its “Eat Well, Do Well” program, guests simultaneously earn rewards and help local schools, as a percentage of their purchases goes towards improving scholastic nutrition and fitness programs. Restaurants can also support local charitable efforts by running limited-time offers and allowing members to donate their points to worthy causes.

7.  Catering Loyalty

If your business lends itself to catering, you have likely implemented a catering option or are thinking about it. Gaining even one new catering client per week can be the equivalent of more than 20 individual customers. Pairing catering with loyalty is a great way to get to know this group of guests and inspire repeat purchases. But catering loyalty should be kept separate from your regular program because having the same rewards structure would result in a lot of free items and an unnecessary loss in revenue. A catering-specific loyalty program should be based on the recency, frequency, and average spend of your catering orders.

With so many reward options available, there’s no reason why your loyalty program shouldn’t stand out as something truly rewarding for your guests. Contact Paytronix today to get started on improving your program!

The post 7 Innovative Ways to Reward Guests in a Modern Loyalty Program appeared first on Paytronix.

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Experts predict that the online food delivery market will reach $24 billion by 2023 and that it will make up 40% of total restaurant sales by 2020. As your guests increasingly demand the convenience of delivery, it is imperative to decide whether you should partner with one of the leading third-party delivery services or tackle delivery on your own with an in-house fleet. Depending on the size and scale of your operations, either choice could be the right one to allow your brand to compete in a shifting industry.

There are several reasons why you would choose to use a leading aggregate delivery service like GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats, or Postmates:

  • Exposure: For small brands, being listed alongside industry leaders makes their cuisine more visible to prospective delivery customers who have never heard of their restaurant before. For large brands, it also creates awareness about the availability of delivery service. Getting the food they crave without having to change out of their pajamas will thrill your guests and strengthen their relationship with your brand.
  • Convenience: Not only is it convenient for guests, but it’s also convenient for the restaurant operators using these third parties. Partnering with brands that are the best in their field lets you focus on what you do well without stretching your team too thin.
  • Expense: Launching an in-house fleet won’t come cheaply if you have many locations for which to provide vehicles and delivery drivers. Employees could be designated for a delivery role, but that can be a drain on resources during times when orders aren’t coming in.

On the other hand, there are also reasons to keep delivery in-house as part of overseeing the entire guest journey from start to finish:

  • Guest Experience: When guests order delivery and something goes wrong, 44% blame the restaurant – as compared to the 25% who blame the delivery company. Once it leaves your restaurant doors, the food also leaves your control. Making sure branded cars and uniformed employees deliver meals to customers is a priority for some brands that want to leave a positive impression.
  • Control of Data: Your customer ordering data is one of your most valuable assets. When using third-party delivery, you are prevented from making important connections between how guests behave when ordering delivery versus when visiting your brick-and-mortar locations because their data sits with the third parties and doesn’t link back to your loyalty programs.
  • Margins and Commission Fees: Profit margins in the industry are already slim, so giving a percentage of each order as commission to a delivery company might be unpopular among managers and franchisees. While there’s a larger upfront expense to finance an in-house fleet, keeping more of each purchase may prove advantageous in the long run.

What does the future hold for delivery? It’s clear that diners want to be able to enjoy their favorite cuisine at home in the most convenient manner possible. To learn more about these two delivery options, check out a webinar on this topic, “Delivery Wars: Third Party vs. In-House.”

The post Choosing Between In-House and Third Party Delivery appeared first on Paytronix.

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Guest engagement programs allow you to learn about and engage with the customers who participate. But what about the guests you don’t know – the ones who haven’t yet enrolled? Even with a loyalty program that has reached a 30-40% penetration rate, over half of your guests are still unknown to your restaurant. How can you communicate with those guests to offer them promotions, drive visits, and gain insight into their purchasing behavior?

One way is through coupons. By using coupons to complement your existing one-to-one loyalty program, you can improve your ability to market to all of your guests.

Here are three key benefits of introducing coupons into your restaurant’s marketing strategy:

  • Engage with unknown guests through offers. People are more willing to try new restaurants when they can receive a discount, so posting coupon codes on your website or on social media gives you a way to acquire new customers. Once you get them through the door the first time, you can rely on your existing guest engagement strategy to motivate repeat visits.
  • Drive enrollment into your restaurant loyalty program. Another way to use coupons is to promote enrollment and transition guests from unknown to known. For example, coffee sleeves or tabletop signage could carry a message encouraging guests to sign up and enter a code like “WELCOME” to receive a future discount.
  • Measure engagement across channels. With coupons, you have the ability to issue distinct codes for each channel and then evaluate how each code performs based on redemption. This can inform future decisions on where to focus marketing efforts for maximum effectiveness. You may not know all of your guests as individuals yet, but you are able to assess which coupons drive visits, as well as the purchase behavior of the guests who redeem them.

You can also use insights from your loyalty program to enhance your coupon strategy. If you know that certain messaging or promotions have been successful with the segments that visit less frequently, those same promotions are likely to work on your unknown customers as well.

Coupons can be a powerful tool when used correctly.   

To learn more about how to make coupons part of your marketing strategy, check out our on-demand webinar, “Not Your Grandma’s Coupons – Using Coupons to Reach More Guests.”

The post Increase Restaurant Loyalty & Reach More Guests with Coupons appeared first on Paytronix.

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More than ever before, customers are driven by convenience; they want what they want when they want it, and where. And, so, to keep up with consumer demand, restaurants and convenience stores need to begin serving up their offerings outside of their own walls.

The term “off-premises” refers to delivery, takeout, and catering experiences. An off-premises interaction is one in which a customer is receiving and consuming food or goods outside of the restaurant or c-store.

The challenge for c-stores, and for restaurants especially, is to maintain the positive brand experience—and collect the essential customer data—when the entire interaction is taking place outside of their walls.

For the most part, the guest engagement drops to just two critical touch points: the point of order (whether online or over the phone) and the time of distribution (either pick-up or delivery).

Controlling the Experience in Two Key Touchpoints

The point of order might happen over the phone, it might happen on a restaurant’s website, or it might happen on a third-party site. Clearly, it’s easiest to control the customer experience when they’re calling your restaurant to place an order. However, that’s no longer the most convenient option for customers and they’re increasingly likely to place an order online.

On your own site, it’s crucial to make sure that the ordering process is just as easy and streamlined as it would be if they were sitting at a table and ordering from a server. The experience needs to be easy to navigate, the online menu needs to be thorough and easy to understand, and the expectations of when and how delivery will happen need to be thorough.

To maintain your positive brand experience at the point of sale, it needs to be as simple, reliable, and predictable as it would be in the restaurant.

When people order on a third-party site, two things are essential: First, that your menu is completely accurate, clear, and thorough. Any mistakes on that site won’t be attributed to that site; they’ll be attributed to your restaurant. So it’s essential that you ensure that your menu and offerings contain no mistakes or confusion points.

The second essential point is that the third-party company that collects the order also needs. To share the customer data with you. Obviously, it’s important to get the data to fulfill the order, but it’s also important to allow you to build customer profiles, segment your customers, and create effective programs and promotions.

When it comes to distribution, it’s obviously easier to control the customer experience with take-out. It should be fast, it should be easy, and it should be clear where the customer needs to go to receive their order. Receiving their take-out order should be just as easy and pleasant as receiving an order at a table.

Delivery, however, sets up a whole different level of challenges. A restaurant could opt to employ their own delivery force, partner with a logistics company, or leave it up to a third-party order and fulfillment company.

When a restaurant maintains its own delivery force (and/or supplements that force with a logistics company) it’s much easier for them to maintain a positive brand experience. But with a third-party ordering and fulfillment company, it’s entirely out of their hands.

Another reason that data sharing is important is that while third-party delivery takes the brand experience out of a restaurant’s hands, the data allows them to follow-up with a positive experience and/or positive promotion.

One of the greatest keys to maintaining a positive brand experience off-premises is to examine the whole off-premises experience from before it begins to after it ends and engineer it to inject as many positive brand interactions as possible.

Customers want convenience, but they also still want quality, efficiency and a positive experience that affirms for them that they’re valued and important. The best way to ensure this is to carefully plan their experiences—and then to reward them for their orders and continued patronage.

For more tips on how to control the off-premises brand experience, please reach out to your Paytronix representative. If you’re not yet working with us, we’d be happy to discuss your challenges and opportunities, and offer ideas for a solution. Please call us at 617-649-3300, extension 5.

The post How to Control the Off-Premises Experience appeared first on Paytronix.

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Imagine a day in the life of the modern consumer. They wake up, make coffee with beans they had delivered in one day with an Amazon Prime subscription, shave with their razor from Dollar Shave Club, and get dressed in an outfit delivered from this month’s StitchFix box. Next, they ride to work using a pre-paid ride from Uber, and on the way browse articles on their phone with an online subscription to their favorite newspaper. They come home, make dinner from a Blue Apron kit while listening to commercial-free music with a Spotify premium account, and then take a spin class as part of their ClassPass subscription.

As consumers we’ve become used to subscription-based services in every aspect of our daily lives. The subscription business model has grown rapidly, from $57 million in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. Within the restaurant industry, several brands have already been successful with subscription-based meals, most notably Olive Garden with their Never Ending Pasta Pass. A limited number of guests could spend $300 for a full year, or $100 for an eight-week pass that allowed them to have unlimited servings of pasta, soup, salad, and breadsticks for the duration of their pass.

With your customers accustomed to subscriptions from the start to finish of their day, more restaurants are using subscription styled packages. While some like Olive Garden have guests pay a lump sum for unlimited benefits, others like HuHot Mongolian Grill have given guests the option to buy meal passes in quantities of five, ten or twenty. Third-parties are also starting to appear in this space like MealPal, a service which allows customers in major metropolitan areas to buy twelve or twenty prepaid lunches to be redeemed at any of their participating locations. 

Here are three reasons why you should consider a subscription plan for your restaurant:

  • Repeat Customers: When guests purchase a package of prepaid meals, it guarantees a return visit to your restaurant instead of the competition. Guests who buy their meals in advance are going to make sure their money doesn’t go to waste.
  • Sales: When you sell a ten-meal package, that sale is recorded immediately rather than hoping that guest comes back ten times over the next few months. You can focus on selling add-on items to these guests when they return, which they can be enticed to buy since they forget about the initial cost and feel that on the day, they are spending very little.
  • Loyalty: These multi-meal passes can be connected to your restaurant loyalty program, allowing guests to continue earning points, and allowing you to gain valuable insights and data from changes in behavior.

Introducing a subscription meal plan is just one way to boost return visits and build strong relationships with your guests.  For more information on making a subscription part of your restaurant’s strategy, register for our upcoming webinar on March 7: How Restaurants Can Take Advantage of the Subscription Business Model”

The post “How Restaurants Can Take Advantage of the Subscription Business Model” appeared first on Paytronix.

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