Case Study: Restaurant Chain Uses Loyalty Data to Improve Customer Experience

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MadGreensMerchant: MAD Greens
Location: Colorado
Size: 12 locations
Platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Privy, Twitter
Bottom Line: Marketers should be strategic in deciding which platforms they use to promote which types of offers to their customers.

If sales of a particular menu item seem slow this month, then Lucas Clarke is curious to know why that is. The director of marketing at MAD Greens, a Colorado-based chain of restaurants that specializes in seasonal salads and sandwiches, Clarke uses the data from his company’s card-linked mobile loyalty program to learn about sales trends in real-time.

“[We’re getting] a lot of metrics on what our customers are spending, where they’re spending it, and what they’re spending it on,” Clarke says. “It gives us a lot of information to improve our customer experience. If we notice that people are not purchasing the new seasonal salad or the seasonal sandwich, why is that? Is it that they don’t want to try anything new? How can we influence them to pick up that new item and try it out?”

Once he’s collected data from the restaurant’s mobile loyalty program, Clarke turns to Privy to start enacting change. He relies on the hyperlocal marketing platform to create targeted coupons and special offer campaigns that can be pushed to customers via email, Facebook ads, and sponsored Twitter posts.

“With Privy, you’re able to build a campaign — a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ for a new salad — and you’re able to push that out via an email blast to your customer database,” Clarke says. “Then, they’re able to click on the link, claim the offer, and redeem it in the restaurant with a code at the register that corresponds to what’s in our POS system to track back that sale.”

Customer targeting is incredibly important for Clarke. Although he typically runs identical campaigns at all 12 MAD Greens locations, he’ll sometimes use the geo-location features available through platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords to reach customers located in particular geographic areas.

“You can geo-locate only Fort Collins with [Facebook and Google’s] ad software, and then put a link to Privy that is the coupon offer. You’re able to track how effective a certain ad campaign is based on the number of clicks and the number of claims. You compare those two for your specific geo-targeted online ad campaigns,” Clarke says. “You could say, ‘I got 300 clicks on this ad, but I only got seven people to claim the offer.’ Not very effective, so maybe I need a better picture. Maybe I need a better tagline.”

When it comes to hyperlocal marketing, Clarke says there’s no single platform that covers all the bases. When he wants to run geo-targeted campaigns, he uses Facebook and Google AdWords. When he wants to target his company’s catering business, he uses LinkedIn posts to spread the word. He’s also been increasing his usage of Twitter and Pinterest, purchasing sponsored posts, reaching out to area influencers, and posting attractive photos of his company’s top selling menu items on the popular social networks.

In the coming year, Clarke would like to expand his focus and start testing out both text message campaigns and mobile ordering. “Mobile ordering is something that’s pretty hot right now. I’ve seen a couple of good proposals that I would definitely be interested in looking at,” he says. “Right now we just rolled out the loyalty app and there’s a lot of functionality with that, as well as Privy. I don’t want to spread myself too thin. I want to be able to manage all these things really effectively and get the most bang for our buck.”

The Takeaway
Clarke isn’t limiting himself to the functionality that one hyperlocal platform can provide. The marketing director is taking a more-is-more approach, strategically utilizing various programs based on his specific goals and desired results. Although he’s focused on using Privy to create targeted offers, he’s branching out by promoting those offers in a variety of ways, including paid ads on Facebook, sponsored posts on Twitter, email blasts, and push notifications to customers who’ve downloaded his company’s mobile loyalty app.

Stephanie Miles is an editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.