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.

 
 

Which Wich: New Vibe Club™ Rewards Program Makes Substantial Impact

Beginning in October 2015, Which Wich rolled out its Vibe Club™ Rewards program. Within about two months, it was installed in all of its 400 locations. Total same-store registration counts skyrocketed by more than 250% since the launch of the new loyalty program. 

“Which Wich set out to create a new points-based digital rewards program that would enable the brand to influence customer behavior by driving more visits, different purchase occasions, bigger tickets, and more add-on items such as drinks and cookies. We also wanted to directly measure the program impact. The Which Wich Vibe Club Rewards program has done all that and more,” said Chenin Pecora, Marketing Manager, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.

 

The OrganizationWhich Wich Logo

Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches was founded in Dallas in late 2003 by restaurant entrepreneur, Jeff Sinelli. The national sandwich franchise chain is best known for its customizable sandwiches, creative ordering system, and personalized sandwich bag. In 2014, QSR named Which Wich one of its "2014 Best Franchise Deals" and Forbes listed Which Wich as one of its 2014 "30 Best Franchises To Buy." Which Wich currently has 400 locations open or in development in 39 states and eight countries.

The Challenge

The high-growth, fast-casual sandwich brand needed to create and scale a rewards program across all its restaurants. The goal for the system-wide program was to deliver value to franchisees while delivering an exceptional guest experience that accentuates the overall brand experience.

Earlier in 2015, Which Wich was testing a digital program in its Texas restaurants while running a paper punch-card program elsewhere. To scale effectively, it needed a platform that would integrate with others in its digital ecosystem including its POS and online ordering systems. The sandwich chain also wanted to eliminate inconsistencies in the punch card program as well as limit the fraudulent punches that were likely taking place.

The Solution Beginning in October 2015, Which Wich rolled out its Vibe Club™ Rewards program. Within about two months, it was installed in all of its 400 locations. The rapid rollout was made possible by a handful of key factors.

First, Which Wich was steadfastly focused on designing a simple-to-understand program that would enable it to capture insightful member data. The Paytronix team brought its experience to the table. During a program design workshop, the two teams were guided by Paytronix’s nine loyalty design principles, leveraging benchmarks and best practices to create the chain’s innovative, yet simple program.

Second, Which Wich created an innovative market-specific training program that got franchisees and restaurant employees on board and excited.  Third, it chose a partner that had rolled out more than 300 programs before them. Leveraging Paytronix's experience in program design through software deployment and integrations gave Which Wich the speed to market it needed to be successful.

By bringing the rewards program to a digital environment, Which Wich was able to give its franchisees the ability to leverage customer data by sending localized marketing messages with the Local Store Marketing toolset that is built into the Paytronix Reward Program software. Franchisees can access marketing tools and reports to see the direct benefits of the program. The Which Wich team built trust and commitment across the chain by simply giving access.

The brilliance of keeping the program design simple meant that guests were able to quickly recognize the value proposition and were eager to join the program. Guests earn points for each type of item purchased. For example, a 14” Wich purchase gives the member five points, while a Fountain Drink purchase is worth one point. When the guest earns 35 points, a free 7” Wich is added to their account. In-store POP materials helped guests visualize the program while program marketing messages were reinforced throughout the guest experience.

Guests earn and redeem their rewards when ordering online, too. With a direct integration to the online ordering platform, members enjoy the benefits of the program while taking advantage of the convenience of online and mobile orders. Members can either download a mobile app to place an order or visit Which Wich online at http://www.whichwich.com/#!/order-online.  

The Results The results of the program so far span from increases in enrollments chain-wide, to marketing insights, and franchisee buy-in. Specifically, the results include:

 Improved enrollment and registration numbers

  • Total same-store registration counts skyrocketed by more than 250% since the launch of the new loyalty program;
  • Penetration rate, or the number of Vibe Club Rewards checks as a percentage of overall checks, increased with each subsequent roll out, with overall penetration up to more than 35% since the first roll out. Reaching 35% of its customer base gives the Which Wich team an incredible ability to create Loyalty Impact.

Increased Visits

When compared to the previous visit history for members of the Texas stores with electronic loyalty:

  • The number of new recruits visiting more than once in the first two weeks of membership increased by more than 50 percent;
  • 115% more members returned for a second visit based on a snap shot of customer behavior in week seven when compared to a similar snap shot of data prior to launch;
  • Spend per Vibe Club Rewards visitor was 36.7% higher at seven weeks from enrollment;
  • In the eighth week after enrollment, 16.9% of enrollees returned, compared to 7.2% of enrollees in the prior program;
  • Total spend eight weeks after enrolling was 71% higher in the new program as compared to the prior program.

Quotes

“Which Wich set out to create a new points-based digital rewards program that would enable the brand to influence customer behavior by driving more visits, different purchase occasions, bigger tickets, and more add-on items such as drinks and cookies. We also wanted to directly measure the program impact. The Which Wich Vibe Club Rewards program has done all that and more,” said Chenin Pecora, Marketing Manager, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.

“Which Wich was able to transition from a card-based to a fully digital rewards program that is simple for our customers to understand and was easy to rollout across the country to all our restaurants.  We were pleased that we were able to measure the impact of the Vibe Club Rewards rollout so that we could clearly document the difference between our new program and what we had before,” said Pecora.

Discover How to Drive Incremental Visit and Spend

Pinkberry wanted to create a promotion for its new Pinkbee’s™ low-fat milk ice cream product that would compel loyalty members to act and drive a sales and visit lift over the busy Fourth of July weekend. 

Spoiler alert: Open rates aren't always a good indication of email performance. 

 

Download this Paytronix case study and discover how Pinkberry was able to drive incremental visit and spend.