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). […]
Consider all of the conveniences that are available to modern consumers. They can wake up, make coffee with beans that were delivered in one day through Amazon Prime, shave with a razor from Dollar Shave Club, and get dressed in an outfit that was delivered in this month’s Stitch Fix box. As they ride to work in a prepaid Uber, they can browse articles on their phone courtesy of an online subscription to their favorite newspaper. After returning home, they can make dinner from a Blue Apron kit while listening to commercial-free music via 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, increasing sales from $57 million in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. Throughout the restaurant industry, several brands have successfully introduced subscription-based meals, with Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass being a prime example. A limited number of guests could spend $100 for an eight-week pass or $300 for a full year, entitling them to unlimited servings of pasta, soup, salad, and breadsticks.
Since customers are accustomed to paying for subscriptions, more restaurants are offering subscription-styled packages. While some emulate Olive Garden in requiring guests to pay a lump sum for unlimited benefits, others, such as HuHot Mongolian Grill, have given guests the option to buy meal passes in quantities of 5, 10, or 20. There has also been an emergence of third parties like MealPal, a service that allows customers in major metropolitan areas to buy 12 or 20 prepaid lunches and redeem them at any of its participating locations.
Here are the three primary reasons why you should consider a subscription plan for your restaurant:
- Repeat Customers: When guests purchase a package of prepaid meals, it guarantees return visits 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 10-meal package, the profit is realized immediately rather than over the course of someone’s next several visits. When these guests return, they can often be enticed to buy add-on items because they tend to forget about the initial cost and will be spending very little on that day.
- Loyalty: These multi-meal passes can be integrated with your restaurant loyalty program, letting guests continue to earn points and allowing you to gain valuable insights 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, check out our webinar, “How Restaurants Can Take Advantage of the Subscription Business Model”
Facts and figures are easy to come by for any guest engagement platform, be it loyalty programs, e-club programs, or CRM. But what are the key measures that marketers can rely on to deliver material impact with the customer engagement program? Running more than 350 programs has provided Paytronix with a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t, telling us where to focus effort for the greatest impact.
To remember the most important measures, use the acronym EAT. It stands for Enrollment, Activity, and Triggering. Plus, there’s an additional measure called Penetration Rate. Consider how these four measures impact your guest engagement program:
- Enrollment: Adding new members drives program impact. Although some members will inevitably move on from your brand for a variety of reasons, the key is to add more than you lose. Enrollment can be encouraged through numerous marketing strategies, including promotions and cashier contests. You should also make it easy for guests to join by offering mobile apps, text-to-enroll, NFC loyalty, and website enrollment.
- Activity: It takes active members for a program to maximize its potential, and the level of activity provides a multiplier effect on the amount of impact. Having a frictionless, guest-centric, fully supported program will result in a high percentage of active guests. Your program should offer attainable benefits and make it easy for guests to interact with the brand. Implementing well-thought-out customer engagement strategies will provide the best results on your program’s success.
- Triggering: The extent to which your team can trigger incremental spending is directly related to the impact your program delivers. Incremental spending is primarily measured in two ways, with the first being an analysis of pre- and post-program transactional data. How were the members behaving before the program launched and what are they doing post-launch? Typically, Paytronix programs see at least a 20% increase in spend after the launch happens.
The other way to measure is by using target-and-control campaigns. These enable the marketer to hold a control group out from the targeted segment. When results are reported, a clear picture of incremental spend and visits comes into focus. The control group behaves as it normally would, while the target group exhibits the behavior prompted by the marketing message or special challenge presented. Target-and-control programs answer the question that CFOs have been asking CMOs for years: “How many of these guests would have visited anyway?”
- Penetration Rate: The percentage of checks associated with a guest who identified as a member is the penetration rate. This is an important measure because the higher the penetration rate is, the more opportunity the brand has to drive impact with the program. If the penetration rate dips below 15%, the brand should be alarmed, as programs with low penetration rates generally underperform on all organization expectations. Paytronix clients routinely achieve penetration rates of 47–70%.
Brands that focus on these four measures deliver the greatest impact to their organizations. Visit us at www.paytronix.com to learn more.
Most things about marketing and running a business aren’t easy. There are very few “set it and forget it” tactics that yield any real results. Which is why we’re so pleased to bring you four promotions that you can set up and let run in the background to generate perpetual visits and results!
These aren’t quite “set it and forget it” methods since nothing about your program should be forgotten, but they’re a great way to ensure that you’re constantly generating visits from your program members and, of course, constantly increasing your membership base.
Let’s start out with why “running promotions”—or programs that continue in perpetuity—are so important to the success of your convenience store loyalty program.
First, while big launches make a huge splash and can create an impressive spike in your metrics, that spike only lasts so long. After the promotion ends and the signage is taken down, any customers who didn’t join and any new members don’t know anything about your program.
Similarly, special promotions only last so long. An increase in spend or visits during a designated promotional period is certain to taper off once that promotional period ends. […]