The Loyaltees Awards highlight leading and innovative brands in the restaurant and retail industries. When it comes to incredible guest engagement strategies, this year's winners set a new standard of excellence.


The Greene Turtle Innovates with Mobile Game Integration

Best Mobile Loyalty Innovation – The Greene Turtle “Greene Turtle Rewards Gamification.”

In a competitive market for mobile apps, The Greene Turtle’s Turtle Rewards app has distinguished itself by engaging consumers with sports-related games and prizes that connect beautifully with the casual dining chain’s sports-loving, competitive guests.  User-friendly iOS and Android versions of the app serve as powerful guest-acquisition tools, registering guests in the program in order to play and receive rewards, quickly generating a positive financial impact on the business.

“Guests who played the games visit 89 percent more than The Greene Turtle’s average guest and spend 58 percent more than that same pool of guests,” said Nick Kegg, marketing director for The Greene Turtle. “Not only are they playing, but they’re coming back and playing again.”


The Organization First opened in 1976 in Ocean City, Md., The Greene Turtle is a family-friendly sports bar & grille that includes 37 locations in markets across Maryland and extending into Washington, D.C., Virginia, Delaware and Long Island, New York.Greene Turtle - Slider 6 Combining comfort food and a casual atmosphere marked by big screen TVs broadcasting local and national sporting events, “The Turtle” has become a popular year-round destination where families, friends and fans of all ages feel at home. 

The Challenge

Fostering its guests’ love for sports has always been a priority for The Greene Turtle. Prior to integrating games into the loyalty program, however, the brand found leveraging this excitement on a consistent basis challenging. The Greene Turtle relies on the sports calendar and events like March Madness to increase guest activity, but engagement can be difficult during relatively slow periods in the sports year or, in the case of March Madness, when bracket predictions fall apart and guests lose interest in the remainder of the tournament. While the brand offers a unique Turtle bracket that promises high-stakes rewards – this year, The Greene Turtle intends to give away a franchise if any of its guests pick a perfect bracket – the restaurant chain needs a way to consistently compel its valued, sports-oriented guests to enjoy every game at The Greene Turtle. 

The Solution

The Greene Turtle implemented Paytronix loyalty in 2014. In terms of enrollment methods, the program offers Paytronix-provided white-labeled Android and iOS applications, as well as physical membership cards in order to compel the widest array of possible members to join the program.

In October of 2014, The Greene Turtle leveraged Paytronix’s open API in order to embed Gamescape’s mobile gaming platform into its rewards program application, creating a seamless member experience. The game offers a year-round, relevant way for The Greene Turtle’s members to stay connected.

The Guest Experience

Guests can play games in The Greene Turtle’s app by tapping the Game tab. In Pick ¢Em style games, members select the teams that they believe will win upcoming professional and college-level match-ups. If they select all of the winning teams correctly, they win a $10 reward. Another game called Winning Streak, which was recently released, asks members to predict in-game outcomes in real-time. To start, members are asked questions about who will win a certain matchup. The game then generates relevant questions that are tied to that particular game. If the players answer 10 consecutive questions correctly, they win a $10 reward.

The Greene Turtle communicates with its guests about earned rewards and upcoming professional games through push messages and emails.

The games serve as a powerful guest acquisition tool, since guests must be registered in order to make picks and receive rewards. Maximizing the number of members enrolled in a program is one of the three leading factors in a program’s ability to make a positive financial impact on the business.

The Benefit

Results of the integration have been staggering. Guests who played the game visit 89 percent more than The Greene Turtle’s average guest and spend 58 percent more than that same pool of guests.

Nick Kegg, marketing director, said the brand is “seeing about 1,000 unique users playing per week. Eight hundred of those users are returning users – that’s what I find the most exciting. Not only are they playing, but they’re coming back and playing again. We’re creating loyalty with our members outside of the restaurant as well as inside with our food and atmosphere.”

In general, Kegg feels that the games have driven enrollment and he is optimistic that, as the brand continues to market the application during boon times like March Madness, the program will continue to have a material impact on the business.

The Greene Turtle’s mobile application integration to Gamescape earned the company a 2015 Loyaltees nomination for Mobile Innovation.

The Future

Kegg is excited about the future of the brand’s mobile application. He said The Greene Turtle intends to integrate the game’s trivia questions to the televisions in each location. This will not only “drive in-restaurant experience, but also create more loyalty with members,” he said.

The Greene Turtle intends to keep weaving the loyalty program into its marketing strategy and looking for new ways to engage its members on its unique mobile platform. 

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