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Taco Mac Reaches a Broader Customer-base: Modernizes Brewniversity with Paytronix

“Paytronix gave us the flexibility we needed with our loyalty program, so our marketing team can stay creative. In any given week, we’re testing new promotions or sending a survey out to our Chancellor level loyalty members by email or push messaging.”  -Chris Ray, Vice President of Information Technology, Taco Mac Restaurant Group


The Organization: Founded in 1979 with the inspiration of combining Buffalo-style chicken wings and southern hospitality, Taco Mac has been an Atlanta institution for more than 35 years.  As the popularity of Taco Mac’s wings increased, cold beer and sports were added and the draft lineup grew to feature 100 micro-brewed beers and imports—decades before the craft beer movement took off. Today, Taco Mac serves guests from 30 locations across Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

In 2015, the chain celebrated the 25th anniversary of Taco Mac Brewniversity, a beer loyalty program dedicated to the exploration and enjoyment of delicious, unique, and rare craft beers. Earning credit for each unique beer they try, guests also educate themselves through events at the store and the brand’s extensive beer knowledge base.  Brewniversity was awarded the VIBE Vista Award in 2016 for the best beer program in America.

Members earn credits that lead to higher status, and in turn to better rewards. Members advance in beer knowledge from a Bachelor’s, to a PhD or even a Chancellor of Taco Mac’s Brewniversity. 

The Challenge: Taco Mac’s Brewniversity is wildly popular with customers, but had outgrown its 25-year-old technical infrastructure. Increasingly, the brand found the quality of the data to be unreliable. Replication of the data was the primary issue. When the system went down, restoring data from a backup system took at least two days and was riddled with inconsistencies.

Avid program users enjoy receiving a printed view of all the beers they’ve experienced. The printout was generated from the POS system – sometimes consuming more than four feet of printer paper. For those members with long and active beer histories, the printing process could take several minutes. The issue was that when a long tour was printing, it took the POS system down across the location for up to ten minutes, causing service delays across the location. 

Taco Mac wanted to add more features and data to the program, but needed to shore up its system rather than adding more to an unstable platform. That’s where Paytronix came in.

The Solution: 

Taco Mac selected the Paytronix Rewards platform as the new foundation to modernize its Brewniversity program—taking it mobile to improve upon just about every aspect of the existing program’s features.

The Brand can now rely on the accuracy of its Brewniversity data. With the data it’s collecting today, Taco Mac creates a highly personalized guest experience—attracting more members with engaging offers that drive increased sales and repeat visits.

Taco Mac remodeled its loyalty offering by adding a mobile program.  Taco Mac’s Brewniversity members can enroll, identify themselves, and view their history of beer selections alongside real-time updates to their loyalty status within the Brewniversity app—guiding members along the path of earning their beer degree and rewards.

Marketing gained the power to motivate guests with offers that were not possible previously. Paytronix enables Taco Mac to build rich guest profiles and then deliver targeted, one-to-one promotions using in-app messages and real-time email.

Today, members can earn Brewniversity credits by completing a variety of purchase and visit behaviors, including mini beer tours, and half credits for five-ounce “nooner” beers. With the ability to target rewards to specific behaviors, Taco Mac motivates behavior by adding urgency and appealing limited time offers to its program.

Results: Guests love the extra personal experience they get. Yet it’s the Taco Mac servers and bartenders who like the new loyalty-driven Brewniversity most. Bartenders have the option of pulling up a member account on the POS screen to view and make suggestions—which helps them upsell and drive higher checks and tips—for a regained confidence in the program that has encouraged new membership. Guests have the same access in the mobile app, or if the guest wants a printed version of their history, it’s a speedy process that runs while the POS continues to operate.

Cardless Registration – Because the new mobile app eliminates the need to register cards in-restaurant or to carry a card at all, Taco Mac can now engage and enroll new members at off-property events.

Better Education – With improved purchase history tracking, the new app can recommend available beers that the guest has not yet tried. It also helps enforce the daily purchase limit.

More Rewards – Because of the flexibility and configurability of the Paytronix system, Marketing has the power to compel guest visits and spending with promotions and offers such as double credits and bonus credits that were not possible previously.

Data Analytics – Are provided through reports and dashboards, uncovering actionable insights from the disparate data sources of Taco Mac’s guest interactions.             

Increased Traffic – Taco Mac began with an initial Rush Week Double Credits promotion upon launch, which resulted in a noticeable increase in the overall visits and spend for that week when compared with other weeks. Having just hit the six-month anniversary of the loyalty program, Taco Mac leveraged the platform’s reports and dashboards to analyze the progress and success of the loyalty program since launch. 

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