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Carrabba’s Italian Grill SMS program sees 68 percent redemption rate

June 16, 2010

carrabasgrillCarrabba’s Italian Grill tested an SMS program in the Orlando market that resulted in a 68 percent redemption rate on offers pushed out to 627 consumers.

The text message campaign was meant to build a database of names to which Carrabba’s could then promote multiple services at a time of the day when customers are most likely to be influenced. The campaign also aimed to further engage customers and learn more about their interests while deepening Carrabba’s brand awareness and technological advances.

“We wanted to drive specific components of our business on a hyper-local basis that are meaningful to our managing partners and will assist in increasing traffic and overall restaurant sales,” said Jamie Miller, marketing manager at Carrabba’s, Tampa, FL.

Carrabba’s locations at the Florida Mall, Altamonte Springs, Gainesville, Ocala, Oviedo, Formosa, Palm Bay, Merritt Island, Kirkman, Clermont and Daytona participated in the test.

carrabasgrill-2There were 424 redemptions of the 627 participants, accounting for a 68 percent redemption rate on offers texted out.

To get consumers to opt-in for mobile promotions, Carrabba’s sent out emails to its Amici Club members, encouraging them to text-in and participate.

Additionally, a geotargeted online display campaign promoted the program.

And, a targeted billboard campaign on broadcast television spots also encouraged consumers to opt-in.

After just three weeks, Carrabba’s was able to get 627 participants.

Carrabba’s delayed the initial offer for two hours after consumers signed-up. 

This eliminates people signing-up for the program and receiving the offer in the same visit. It also increased the propensity of a customer to make a return visit to redeem the initial offer.

The restaurant chain also tested a scanning redemption device that allowed servers to scan the offer.

carrabbasgrill3Once scanned, the offer was automatically uploaded into the mobile campaign server – thus allowing for accurate recording of redemptions. Devices were made available through NetInformer.

For some locations it was wine sales they wanted to grow, for others, it was early dining from 4-6 p.m.

Depending on what component they wanted to feature, Carrabba’s created offers that were texted to the customers that opted-in. 

“Our customers are mobile and part of that equation is being where our customers are,” Mr. Miller said. “The other part of that equation is being there when our customers want us to be and provide them with offers that are meaningful to them. 

“SMS is a powerful channel that resonates with a large segment of our customer base,” he said. “It allows our managing partner the opportunity to test various traffic-driving offers that are location- and time-specific while receiving results quickly.” 

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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