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T.G.I. Friday’s adds 7,500 My Stripes members thanks to mobile app enhancements

September 20, 2012

The My Friday's Tab feature lets users pay their tab via mobile

Since T.G.I. Friday’s revamped its mobile app to include payments and loyalty functionality, the chain has seen a significant increase in the number of application downloads and new loyalty members.

In the spring, T.G.I. Friday’s integrated the ability for restaurant customers to open a tap in the Friday’s app and pay via the app. The app’s functionality was further enhanced this summer with the ability for users who are loyalty members to have the corresponding points from purchases made via the app applied to their loyalty card.

“With the loyalty integration, people are beginning to see the utility of it, not just the convenience, with the ability to not have to give their loyalty number to the server,” said Kevin McKeand, vice president of strategic partnerships and major account development at Tabbedout,  Austin, TX.

“Since they integrated the loyalty program into the app in late July, the program has added 7,500 new members in an eight-week period,” he said. “This validates that giving more utility around loyalty programs makes a big difference.”

Tabbedout provides the mobile payments and loyalty functionality for the My Friday’s Tab within the Friday’s app.

A different customer experience
T.G.I. Friday’s also reports that it has exceeded its annual download goal of 85,000 downloads with the total number of downloads for the year well over 255,000.

The My Friday’s Tab payment and loyalty features have been integrated with approximately 70 percent of T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants.

The restaurant chain has been focusing this year on reenergizing its brand by delivering a different customers experience, with servers playing a key role is helping to make the experience a positive one.

The payments and loyalty functionality in the mobile app helps T.G.I. Fridays accomplish this goal by making it easier for customers to pay their tabs and earn loyalty points.

With the app, customers do not have to wait for a server to bring them their tab and can pay when they are ready directly from the tablet using their smartphones.

Users also no longer need to provide their server with their loyalty number, which is typically written down on a pad and then transferred into a terminal. Now, users can open a tab, place an order and transfer the value of the order to their loyalty program all from within the app.

The T.G.I. Friday’s Give Me More Stripes loyalty program enables members to earn points for their purchases and to redeem those points for free items.

Users can also use the app to review their order in detail.

“Guests using their device can have a very simple, easy experience that doesn’t take away from the guest, server interaction,” Mr. McKeand said. “This allows servers to do the things that they were trained to do to enhance the guest experience.

“It frees up the server from having to go through the normal close out process and frees up the guest from having to wait to get a check and pay it,” he said.

Raising the bar
To promote the app’s new functionality, T.G.I. Friday’s sent regular email communications to the 4 million-plus customers who are members of the loyalty program.

The restaurant continues to refresh the app. Its latest version was released Sept. 18 and is fully compatible with iOS 6. Further enhancements are in the works with an eye toward  making the loyalty program more convenient.

Other partners in the app program include Cilck Here, DecisionPoint and Micros.

Tabbedout recently introduced a new SDK that will make it easy for other restaurants to integrate mobile payments and loyalty functionality into their apps.

“If you go back a year, there wasn’t a leader in the restaurant space in terms of providing guest functionality inside a mobile app,” Mr. McKeand said. “Typically, users who downloaded a restaurant app would see pictures of food and nearby locations.

“T.G.I. Friday’s has really raised the bar,” he said. “Now, you had better have some form of mobile payment in there and not just pretty pictures of food.”

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

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