Why Chick-fil-A Has the Edge in the Great Chicken Sandwich Battle of 2019

 

When Popeyes launched a new chicken sandwich earlier this month, its locations were flooded with large crowds of people eager to give it a try. Interest in the new offering was also fueled by social media, as the Twitter accounts of several rival QSR chains and their respective fans chimed in. With so much buzz, Popeyes sold out of its chicken sandwich across the country.  

It seems that most of the discussions about the best chicken sandwich have led back to one place: Chick-fil-A. Billing itself as the “Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich,” Chick-fil-A has been pleasing customers for over 50 years. And a significant factor in its sustained success is a loyalty program.

With such a loyal following already in place, some may think that rewarding guests who were going to come in anyway just cannibalizes profits. The key is to reward those who might not have visited without an offer, moving

your restaurant from a possible option to the preferred choice. Chick-fil-A’s loyalty program is a tiered one that converts casual visitors into loyal guests in the first tier and provides exclusive member benefits in the later tiers.

Members of the program earn points for every dollar spent, including on catering and mobile orders. Using the app, points can be redeemed for rewards that range from a cookie (150 points) to a salad (1,500 points). Members also occasionally receive additional rewards loaded onto their account by their local Chick-fil-A location.

The benefits increase as members advance from the entry tier to silver or red status. In the silver tier, they can gift rewards to friends and family or donate a meal to charity through the chain’s partner, Feeding Children Everywhere. After earning 5,000 points in a year, members join the red tier and enjoy even more exclusive benefits, such as two tickets to the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame or six tickets for a Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour.

Having a loyalty program has helped Chick-fil-A cultivate a strong base of repeat customers and brand advocates. If there’s a poll to determine the best chicken sandwich, it can encourage participation by sending out push notifications to its most loyal fans. And when another brand makes a splash with a new chicken sandwich offering, these fans will be among the first to say, “It’s good … but it’s no Chick-fil-A.”

To learn more about how a loyalty program can provide impact for your business, call Paytronix at 617-649-3300, ext. 5, or request a demo today.

The Vision That Led Paytronix to Acquire Open Dining

In 2001, we set out to build a company that would create great guest experiences for restaurants. By developing a set of solutions at the intersection of payment, convenience, and loyalty, we have accomplished just that.  We have many first-to-market innovations which include NFC Loyalty, one-to-one promotions, text-to-enroll, and pay-by-mobile. 

Based on our experience with more than 400 brands, we recognized an opportunity to drive sales using customer data in not only on-premise interactions, but off-premise ones as well.  Our customers have been urging us to provide an ordering solution that leverages Paytronix’s AI-driven guest intelligence.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Open Dining, the online ordering startup designed for the SMB market. Founded in 2009 by software engineer Tim Ridgely, this feature-rich product now serves more than 1,500 locations and is drawing raves from clients, resellers, and POS providers alike.

 

 

What’s on the Roadmap?

Sharing a passion for exceptional guest experiences, Tim and his team have joined the Paytronix crew and new loyalty features are being added to the robust ordering platform. Over the last decade, Open Dining has done a remarkable job of listening to customers and creating ways for restaurants to sell more food and build loyalty. As a result, Paytronix now offers an Order & Delivery solution with the industry’s finest features, including a full suite of guest satisfaction survey tools, easy-to-use menu and modifier selectors, and integrations with some of the most advanced POS systems and third-party delivery partners.

Paytronix Order & Delivery already includes loyalty enrollment, accrual, and redemption functions that are not available with any other platform. And the roadmap for online ordering and delivery contains a number of innovative features that will be revealed at the upcoming Paytronix Users Experience (PXUX) event, which is taking place in Denver on September 18th and 19th.  

 

How Will Customers Benefit from This Digital Ordering Solution?
The simple answer is increased sales. Our customers exist in an incredibly competitive market where consumer trends change but selling more food remains the top priority. In conjunction with all of the other Paytronix products, Order & Delivery helps retailers maintain guest relationships as consumers shift toward off-premises spending.  

Many of our clients have a limited number of people on their marketing and IT teams, making it challenging to oversee a large ecosystem of vendors. A single platform will simplify the process of creating and managing programs.

 

How Will Web-Ordering Partners Benefit?
As we continue to implement technology faster than any other platform in the space, our partners will benefit from our continued investment in integrations and by gaining access to a broader set of integration points.

We invite you to learn more about this exciting new product. Click on the links to schedule a personalized demo and to register for PXUX 2019.

The Future of Gen Z and Convenience Stores

Convenience stores have been an American staple for close to 100 years, serving an important function for the average consumer. But with technology changing so rapidly and major retailers like Amazon making moves that threaten the market, will c-stores continue to be relevant to the next generation?

It’s necessary to answer this question because Gen Z (the next generation with purchasing power) constitutes nearly 27% of the entire U.S. population and is on track to be the largest generation of consumers. However, its shopping habits are substantially different from other groups. If convenience stores can’t capture the interest of this generation now, they’ll struggle to stay relevant … and stay in business.

Here are six trends that conveniences stores need to be aware of – and capitalize on – to create loyal shoppers among Gen Z.

  1. They are technology natives. Gen Z is the first true digital generation, and its members are accustomed to being able to use mobile phones, apps, and the Internet to do anything they need to do. That means, of course, that a c-store must incorporate technology into its interactions with customers, whether it be apps, mobile ordering, paying via mobile, or some combination of them.
  2. They expect diversity in their food. We already know that this is a “foodie” generation – perhaps even more so than others. But Gen Z has wider access to a variety of cuisines from cultures around the world, which makes it incumbent upon convenience stores to offer many different types and flavors of foods.
  3. They expect a mobile presence. Beyond a fondness for technology in general, the members of Gen Z are especially attached to their mobile devices. They expect the businesses they frequent to cater to them in the form of a mobile-optimized site, an app, a mobile loyalty program, and/or SMS messaging.
  4. They use online reviews to guide choices. More than any other generation, Gen Z makes buying choices based on online reviews. Studies have shown than a one-star increase for a business on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. C-stores need to constantly monitor their online reviews, as well as encourage happy customers to write them.
  5. They have an expectation of immediacy. Members of this digital generation are accustomed to being able to access what they want when they want it. Convenience stores, therefore, need to implement ways for Gen Z customers to get items as quickly as possible, including offering NFC Loyalty and mobile payment.
  6. They regularly order online. There has never been a time when Gen Z couldn’t place orders for things online. Just a few years ago, two-day shipping was a revelation, and now people can have a reasonable expectation of getting a delivery in less than an hour. A c-store that wants to stay competitive in the marketplace needs to offer store delivery, curbside pickup, or both.

Digital guest engagement programs are the key to making Gen Z (and all generations) feel as valued as possible. They enable c-stores to gather data and use it to deliver promotions, discounts, and messaging that is relevant on an individual level. These programs can include and/or integrate with an app, mobile payment, delivery options, and any number of other digital touchpoints.

Because the promotions are personally meaningful, customers partake in them and visit the c-store location more frequently. And encouraging those habits when Gen Z is young helps create loyalty for life.

Engaging Gen Z customers requires a comprehensive plan. To learn more about attracting this generation to your stores, check out our on-demand webinar, “Does Gen Z Have a Need for Convenience Stores?”

3 Data-Backed Marketing Tools for Connecting with Your Customers

In the age of Big Data, having a wealth of information can be both a blessing and a curse. There are a lot of valuable insights to gain, but you need a team with the right skillset to determine what is important and apply it to the creation of effective campaigns as well as your overall marketing strategy. Since no solution is going to work for every brand, taking a deep dive and developing a customized approach will always yield the best results.

Here are three data-backed tools that you should consider implementing to engage customers and increase sales:

  1. Subscriptions: Falling under the larger umbrella of stored-value payment, subscriptions are a growing trend. Some brands choose to let their customers load prepaid meals onto an account, which is not much different than preloading cash to spend. In both cases, when guests store value on a card or in an account that’s linked to a loyalty program, visits and spend typically increase. Prepaid meal passes have sometimes resulted in incremental spend being boosted by up to 80%. When stored value is paired with auto-reload features, it can produce additional benefits like a 15% increase in weekly visits.
  2. Artificial Intelligence: More than a hip term, AI is a tool that is helping marketers determine the most impactful ways to reach their guests at a reasonable cost. Taking individualization beyond bands and segments allows marketers to optimize promotions and maximize their ROI. One-to-one visit challenges that offer rewards based on individual guest behavior have generated remarkable results. One such challenge saw the number of visits increase 10.5% across all guests and almost 28% among those who were already visiting somewhat regularly. Choosing the right promotion can entice more visits and spend from even your best guests.
  3. Segmentation and Predictive Scoring: Targeting guests by likelihood to take actions can further refine any marketing strategy. Whether guests are inclined to visit once a week or once a year, you can craft promotions that will work for each segment. Thoughtfully structured campaigns typically drive a 15-25% increase in visit frequency and prompt behavior changes like visiting at a different time of day, spending more, and trying new products. Predictive models can also be used to identify segments that are likely to visit without receiving an offer, helping you avoid cannibalization.

In the hands of the right data insights team, these tools will motivate increased visits and spend, which ultimately leads to improved top-line sales. To learn more about building a successful loyalty program, download “Target Low-Frequency Guests. Here’s Why.