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Ichor drives customer loyalty via new mobile CRM program

Ichor Restaurant Group has upgraded to a mobile loyalty program to make it easier for consumers to earn and redeem points while also bringing in more frequent guests to restaurants.

Ichor is leveraging Punchh’s mobile CRM suite for all of its brands, including Old Carolina Barbecue, Baja Pizzafish, Wedge and Smoke the Burger Joint. Consumers will be able to accumulate points via the restaurants’ branded apps by purchasing food as well as playing games and answering surveys.

“We had a loyalty program in our flagship brand for about two years, but I don’t think it ever reached its full potential,” said Brian Bailey, CEO and co-founder of Ichor Restaurant Group, North Canton, OH. “It was a traditional card loyalty program. We don’t think we were getting alto out of the current program. Also it was a little cumbersome for members to sign up.

“By going to a mobile program, we’re really putting those tools in the palm of our guests’ hands,” he said. “Nobody forgets their cell phone anymore, you always have that. It allows them to quickly track their value, their status and their balance in an app.”

Ichor Restaurant Group operates 13 restaurants in Ohio and an upcoming restaurant in Michigan.

Mobile upgrade
Ichor has realized that mobile can completely enhance its loyalty program, which was previously a simple punch card. The new program will integrate with the restaurants’ POS systems to track purchasing data.

Consumers will be able to earn points for ordering food, reviewing products, referring the program to friends, playing games and taking surveys.

In addition to the clear benefit of earning rewards, consumers will also benefit from more personalization. Ichor will be able to leverage customers’ individual preferences, purchasing history and demographic data to tailor offers to guests.

The basic loyalty program will offer $10 after a consumer spends $100. On top of that, however, individual franchisees will be able to offer unique deals.

For instance, a competitor recently opened up in Mentor, OH, and Mr. Bailey thought it would have been great to send a discount for that specific location on the competitor’s opening day. Similarly, he could offer a snowy-day discount when the weather is bad.

Ichor plans to roll out the program in Old Carolina Barbecue in the next 60 days, and it will then launch in the rest of the restaurants shortly after. 

A number of different restaurants have been switching over to mobile for their loyalty programs.

For instance, QSR International recently decided to deploy Punchh’s mobile platform to let consumers earn rewards at KFC, Quiznos, Smashburger, Cinnabon and Teriyaki in fifteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (see story).

Other restaurants that have launched Punchh’s program include Mama Fu, Earl of Sandwich and Vino Volo.

According to Punchh, restaurants that use their platform see ten percent increases in same-store sales and more than twenty-five percent redemption rates for marketing campaigns. They also see three- to four-times higher participation rates, more than 50 percent repeat rates and new customer referrals for the first time ever.

“It’s more relevant to have an app,” Mr. Bailey said. “We’re creating these modern, fresh, cool concepts and then an old loyalty based program is going the way of the literal punch card — you don’t see those anymore, I think you’re going to see less and less of the card based.

“Our customers are very loyal to our brand,” he said. “They want to be involved, so the app makes them a part of it and it seems more relevant to today’s targeted marketing.”

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