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Earl of Sandwich drives customer loyalty with new rewards app

Earl of Sandwich is looking to engage its customers with a new mobile application and rewards program.

The app will be available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play starting this week and next. The restaurant chain is working with Punchh to create the Earl’s Rewards app.

“We’re focusing on mobile because that is what our customers and the consumer research is telling us is the direction that transactions are migrating towards quickly,” said Steve Heeley, president/CEO of Earl of Sandwich, Orlando, FL.

“In other words, people want to be able to do everything on their mobile device now, including payment, banking and, most specifically, interconnecting their user experiences with social media,” he said.

“The strategy behind the app is to create and utilize a mobile-based loyalty program that is simple for the user to use and does not require huge back-end infrastructure for processing that traditional loyalty card programs require. The fact that it’s mobile-based makes it easy to enroll and easy to use, as you don’t have to carry a separate card.”

Earl of Sandwich is a restaurant chain that aims to bring the sandwich – which originated in 1762 with the fourth Earl of Sandwich – to consumers around the world. The first of 24 Earl of Sandwich restaurants opened in 2004 in Orlando.

Rewarding customers
One of the main functions of the restaurant’s app is to reward its customers.

The app includes a digital punch card that tallies customers’ purchases and calculates loyalty points. Customers can earn more loyalty points by referring their friends to Earl of Sandwich via the app.

Points can then be redeemed at the point-of-sale within the restaurant.

Additionally, customers are able to retrieve special offers via the app. These offers are personalized to users based on their preferences and prior purchases.

The app is being used at six Earl of Sandwich locations, and the restaurant hopes to expand and accommodate the entire chain at a later date.

Building loyalty
The restaurant’s app is also intended to help generate word-of-mouth marketing through reviews.

The app allows users to share reviews of the restaurants via social media. As consumers share content, they receive points.

Nowadays, restaurants are looking to mobile to not only drive repeat traffic but also bolster their loyalty programs.

Earl of Sandwich is not the only restaurant using a mobile app to help its customers.

For example, Jersey Mike’s Subs recently launched an app for iPhone and Android devices (see story).

Trying to build loyalty among customers is definitely not a new concept for restaurants. They are just moving to mobile for a contemporary, fresh approach.

“A mobile marketing strategy is imperative to driving growth of this brand,” said Shyam Rao, cofounder and vice president of products and operations for Punchh, Sunnyvale, CA.

“Earl of Sandwich customers expect a more personal connection, and we know it will be the most important communication tool we can employ to understand them better so we can deliver food they will crave,” he said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York