Mobile loyalty becoming 'increasingly important' for restaurants

By Joe Lutrario and Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurant operators who have tapped into mobile loyalty schemes are seeing impressive results
Restaurant operators who have tapped into mobile loyalty schemes are seeing impressive results

Related tags: Loyalty program, Credit card

Mobile loyalty systems will play an increasingly important role in the restaurant industry, with operators reporting impressive figures through their use.

In an unprecedented move, Thai restaurant group Busaba Eathai has revealed the impact and usage figures for its loyalty app, which is powered by mobile payment technology provider MyCheck. The 12-strong business recorded a 2.4 per cent rise in average spend per month and has doubled daily transactions through the use of the app.

Using the system, customers can check-in, receive relevant offers, make a payment with a debit or credit card or their PayPal account, and leave without waiting for the bill. The app includes a loyalty scheme called Path To Enlightenment, which uses gamification to provide customers with incentives, such as their favourite dish for free.

Busaba first implemented MyCheck’s mobile technology last summer and usage and business impact figures for July 2014 to January 2015 show new members increased by an average of 230 per cent per month. Some 39 per cent of app users are repeat diners, contributing 67 per cent of daily transactions. Repeat visits by users rose by 6.9 per cent per month, while daily transactions doubled from December to January.

“We have seen repeat business, engagement levels and interaction with our customers go sky high since we launched the app and it has become a critical tool in our success as a business in an increasingly competitive environment,” Busaba chief executive Jason Myers told BigHospitality.

Myers said he believed more restaurant groups should introduce their own branded apps, rather than relying on third-party payment apps and mobile wallet solutions.

“A lot of companies out there are looking at payment systems, but I think if more of them could couple that with loyalty and data capture in their own branded apps, it could really revolutionise the restaurant sector,” he said. “I would really like to see more restaurant groups using this technology, because I think consumers are really going to enjoy it.”

Brand loyalty

Gil Hazan, MyCheck VP for Europe, agreed that branded payment and loyalty apps are the future for restaurants in the UK.

“The majority of restaurant loyalty programs are pretty generic and uninteresting. They typically involve sending coupons or other offers designed to entice customers to visit the restaurant during quiet times or periods of economic uncertainty,” he explained.

“The app we developed for Busaba is quite different, the loyalty is achievement-based and drives customers back to the restaurant. It is not just about getting new people through the door but making sure people come time and time again, and enjoy the experience.”

He added that consumers are increasingly loyal to restaurant brands, making them much more likely to download a branded app than a generic one.

To read the full case study on Busaba Eathai’s mobile loyalty programme, click here​.

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