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Duffy’s deepens relationships with valuable loyalty members via mobile check-ins

March 25, 2014

Duffy's mobile app

Casual-dining restaurant chain Duffy’s Sports Grill is betting on mobile to take its thriving loyalty program to the next level via check-ins and real-time messaging.

Duffy’s MVP loyalty program currently drives 70 percent of transactions across the chain’s 24 restaurants in southern Florida. By enabling members to check-in for rewards and receive limited-time offers via mobile, Duffy’s hopes to further drive results for the program by helping it enhance its relationship with members.

“All restaurants realize the potential millennial spending has for the future of their brands. Extending the benefits of a loyalty program to the mobile device attracts more millennials to the program,” said Michelle Tempesta, director of marketing at Paytronix, Newton, MA.

“Plus, adding identification, messaging, and loyalty balances to the mobile app, gives members an enduring reason to keep the branded app on their device and access it again and again,” she said.

Duffy’s MVP loyalty program, which boasts 425,000 active members, is powered by Paytronix.

Check-in codes
The chain launched the mobile app last year. When it launched, guests could check their reward balance, find Duffy’s locations, view the menu and register new MVP member cards.

The program is now being expanded with the addition of mobile check-in, mobile sign-up and real-time messaging capabilities.

Mobile check-in allows members to earn points or redeem rewards when they check-in via their smartphones as a way to identify themselves at the POS. This will enable Duffy’s servers to see who has checked in on their POS screens and reward loyal guests for revenue-generating behaviors.

Guests touch the “Check In” button within the mobile app to receive a temporary short check-in code, which the server enters into the POS. Customers can also text to receive a check-in code.

“Traditional mobile identification methods don’t work well in casual-dining settings,” Ms. Tempesta said. “For example, in a quick service restaurant where the service occurs at a counter, the guest would scan a code appearing on their device at the POS.

“In a casual dining environment, the POS, in most cases, is not directly available for the guest to scan the device,” she said. “Mobile check-in codes simplify the cardless identification process.”

Incremental enrollments
Duffy’s will also be able to send members real-time triggered messaging such as limited-time offers, new menu items surveys, distance to the next reward and remind guests of rewards earned as well as expiration dates.

Restaurant customers can also now sign up for the loyalty program from their mobile devices via Duffy’s mobile app, text messaging or on Duffy’s Web site. As a result, Duffy’s will have better data from guests.

There is also a MVP Kiosk in each restaurant where customers can sign up.

The Duffy’s MVP loyalty program segments guests based on behavior into three spending tiers: MVP, All Star and Hall of Fame. Paytronix, which is integrated into the chain’s POS, provides check level data and other metrics so Duffy’s can design messaging, offers and promotions tailored to each tier’s behavior.

Casual dining restaurant chains such as Duffy’s are increasingly looking to mobile to help build customer loyalty through better dining experiences.

For example, BJ’s Restaurants recently rolled out a mobile payments feature for its diners as it tries to boost sales and revenue after a challenging season. The payments feature is currently available on a mobile Web site for premier loyalty members, but the chain plans to roll it out for non-members in the near future. Via the mobile site, guests can access an electronic bill and pay on their own schedule (see story).

“When it comes to mobile signup, the adage ‘more is better’ applies,” Ms. Tempesta said. “For many of our customers, introducing a mobile app boosts enrollment across all engagement and frequency levels.

“In fact, a client that introduced a mobile application one-year into its loyalty program attracted 25 percent more incremental enrollments in its second year,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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