5 Summer Promotions to Deliver High Impact

Many restaurants face more of a challenge during the summer months, when regular guests may be out of the area on vacation or taking advantage of the warm weather to grill at home. Using your guest engagement platform to create innovative campaigns will help drive visits and incremental spend. Check out these five proven ways that 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 entrées and had until the end of the year to redeem them. Since the guests had prepaid for their meals, they were more likely to buy additional items like appetizers and desserts. In fact, HuHot found that purchasers spent 80% more than the cost of the Grill Pass during the redemption period. Because of the initial expense, these passes 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 had 14 days to come back and claim their prizes. This instant-win promotion not only created excitement but also delivered huge impact for National Coney Island’s business, nearly doubling enrollment and increasing visits by almost 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. In the first year that this promotion was run through the Yogurtland loyalty program and mobile app, participation tripled and 32% of the participants visited once a week or more.

4. One-to-One Visit Challenges
Giving your guests reasons to visit their favorite location more frequently is a successful way to increase your sales. With one-to-one visit challenges, you can vary the length or the number of visits needed in order to maximize ROI. Whereas infrequent guests might have to make fewer visits over a longer time span, your best guests may need to visit more often over a shorter period to complete the challenge. 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 attract guests who haven’t visited recently through a win-back campaign. One particular restaurant experienced great success by sending the richest offers to guests who hadn’t visited in the past 12 months and lesser offers to those who were already actively engaged. During one of its win-back campaigns, the number of visits from infrequent guests increased by 176%. Once these guests have returned, there will be opportunities 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.

5 Benefits of Offering NFC Loyalty ID

Technology continues to change the relationship between guests and their favorite brands. Today, one-click ordering, cashless payments, and subscriptions deliver frictionless purchase experiences. To meet rising expectations, restaurants and c-stores must provide guests with easy and hassle-free checkout, and a great way to accomplish this is with NFC Loyalty ID.

NFC, which stands for near-field communication, enables two devices to exchange data when they are brought into close proximity of each other. By simply tapping their phones at an NFC-enabled payment terminal, guests complete their purchase without having to dig through their purses or wallets to find a means of payment, and Paytronix passes along their identification for the brand’s guest engagement program. If they are not members already, the device will display a message inviting them to join the program.

Here are the five biggest benefits of integrating NFC Loyalty ID into your service offerings:

  1. Improve line speed. Being able to transmit data and complete a transaction with just one tap reduces waiting time at the register. In addition to benefiting your busy guests, it makes transactions quicker and smoother for the cashier.
  2. Heighten data security and quality. With NFC payment, sensitive credit card data is stored by the mobile wallet providers, but not by the restaurant or c-store. Guests can feel confident when paying with mobile wallets since they are more secure than swiping.
  3. Gain insight into guest behavior. Knowing the visit times, locations, and transaction details for each guest enables brands to send targeted communications and offers.
  4. Engage a younger demographic. Those who use Apple Pay and Google Pay are typically about five years younger than a brand’s average guest.
  5. Enjoy higher check averages. When guests are earning visit credit via mobile payment with NFC Loyalty ID, they tend to spend more.

NFC Loyalty ID represents the intersection of convenient payment and guest engagement. Through innovative technology, retailers can provide frictionless guest experiences while at the same time capturing data and offering easy enrollment in a loyalty program.

You won’t want to miss out on the chance to increase guest engagement by capturing key data that will enhance your one-to-one marketing strategy. Paytronix was the first to market with this new technology, which is now live in more than 2,000 locations. For more information, watch Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Payment.

What Your Restaurant Should Look for In a Gift Card Program

Gift cards outperform other marketing tools for most businesses. Unlike coupons or discounts, they are prepaid and don’t require a large investment for the business. That makes them very attractive for both large chains and independent restaurants.

Gift card programs offer many benefits, including:

  • introducing your restaurant to new customers,
  • over half of consumers using a gift card will visit more than once to deplete their card, providing additional upsell opportunities, and
  • two out of three consumers spend nearly 40 percent more than the gift card value.

Choose the right provider.

Examine your restaurant and find a gift card provider that matches your needs. We spoke with Michelle Tempesta, head of Marketing at Paytronix, and she shared some considerations:

“Find a gift and loyalty provider that provides value outside of just the gift cards. Partner with a company that specializes in gift cards, and the reporting, security, and sales channels that go along with them.”

Tempesta explains that restaurants with multiple locations should also look for gift card providers that are able to move funds from the location a card was purchased at to the one it was redeemed at. For example, a customer purchases your gift card from location A, and then redeems the gift card at location B a few weeks later. The gift card provider should be able to move the money from the purchasing location to corporate, and then release the funds to the store it was redeemed at, or  move the money from the purchase location directly to the redeemed location.

This is especially important for franchisees and large chains, where accounting for each location is completely separate.

As for security, Tempesta suggests: “Look for a gift card provider that uses registration codes, similar to a PIN, and non-sequential numbers for the cards. Sequential card numbers allow thieves to guess at card numbers until they get one right.”

Finally, ensure your gift card provider is integrated with your POS system. Your staff should be able to check the balance on gift cards at the POS.

Replenish your gift cards.

If you use the same provider for your gift cards and loyalty programs, you may be able to keep the customer data on the same account. This is important for high volume, low cheque concepts like pizza shops that sell by the slice. Your most frequent customers can take advantage of using a preloaded card in place of cash.

How it works is customers can set up their card to auto-replenish funds when their balance reaches a certain amount. For instance, if the balance on the card drops to $10, the system would automatically reload the card to $40, and charge their credit card for that $40. These cards can easily be added to an app for customer convenience.

Sell your gift cards.

Strategies for selling your gift cards will depend on the size of your program. If you are a large chain with multiple locations, you will want to have a larger distribution chain for your gift cards, where a single location may be able to run smaller campaigns.

Ensure your gift cards are displayed clearly in your restaurant. The simplest way to market your gift cards is to display them prominently for your customers to see. Train cashiers to point out cards displayed at the cash.

Run a marketing campaign promoting your gift cards. Send out box toppers, flyers, and hang signs in your store promoting your gift cards. Let your customers know that you offer gift cards. Consider treating the buyer to a special bonus, like a $5 gift card they can use themselves when they purchase a card worth over a certain amount. Consider a staff sales contest that runs in conjunction with the campaign.

Make your website gift card friendly. Offer your gift cards for sale on your website—they make great last minute e-gifts. And make sure your online ordering program allows your customers to redeem their gift cards online too.

Partner with a provider to offer your gift cards for sale in third-party stores. Sell your gift cards at local warehouse and grocery stores by partnering with distributors.

Don’t wait for the holidays. Gift card sales begin to increase mid-November, and continue upwards until December 25th, so consider timing your gift card promotions around that time. Thinking of setting up a new gift card program? While most gift cards may be sold in the run-up to the holiday season, setting up a new gift card program can take some time, so to be prepared, and to take advantage of birthdays and other gifting occasions, start now.

Gift cards are an excellent marketing strategy to introduce your restaurant to new customers, and increase sales when implemented correctly.

This post was contributed by Elizabeth Kelly, the Marketing Specialist with SpeedLine Solutions Inc. 

3 Mistakes Restaurant Loyalty Programs Need to Stop Making

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.”