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Busaba Eathai sees customer spending rise 2.4pc with mobile payments

Busaba Eathai, a Thai restaurant group in the United Kingdom, has seen average customer spending climb 2.4 percent per month since summer when it began leveraging a mobile payment system to speed customer checkout.

The 12-restaurant group in London also saw loyalty-program membership zoom 230 percent after adopting MyCheck, a free mobile payment application that lets customers view and pay their bill when they are ready to leave. The results suggest why newer mobile options such as payment and loyalty programs are winning acceptance not just in quick-service eateries but in full-service restaurants as well.

“Busaba turned to mobility to create customer engagement that transcended the limits of traditional promotion-based marketing approaches,” said Shlomit Kugler, CEO of MyCheck. “It wanted to create a tailored experience for each customer, from interactive VIP experiences to loyalty rewards based on customer intelligence gleaned from the app.

“This has made it possible for them to deliver a personalized experience – before, during and after dining.”

No waiting
Through the mobile application, customers can check in, receive relevant offers, make a payment using a debit or credit card or through PayPal and leave without waiting for a bill.  Customers can pay with a debit or credit card, or via PayPal.

A value proposition for diners.

To check out, the user checks the app to find his restaurant and receive a personal code number. Once he shows it to the bartender, he can leave.

The Path to Enlightenment loyalty program taps gamification and rewards such as a favorite dish for free to increase customers’ incentive to return.

From July to January, 39 percent of app users were repeat diners. Repeat users contributed 67 percent of daily transactions. Daily transactions doubled from December to January, with average monthly spending rising 2.4 percent.

Seventy-four percent of registered users employed the app to check in and pay.

“Traditional approaches involve offering discounts to drive foot fall,” Ms. Kugler said. “This is hard to sustain, and encourages mercenary rather than loyal behavior.

“A good example is a campaign which offered each app user their favorite dish as a reward. The response rate was phenomenal, with the redemption rate at 22.5 percent, four times the industry benchmark,” she said.

Full-service and quick-service restaurants both are moving deeper into mobile rewards as more than one-third of consumers are more likely to access technology-related functions in restaurants.

With the rise of functionalities such as mobile ordering, mobile payments and redeeming rewards on smartphones, restaurants are able to market more efficiently to consumers, especially millennials that use mobile devices most frequently.

Enticing young customers on mobile is paramount, as a study from the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Innovation Summit revealed that 90 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds own and use a mobile device.

A third of customers over 18 would pay for meals via smartphone apps if restaurants offered that option, according to research. That percentage is significant, as people can be hesitant to embrace new approaches when it comes to accessing money.

The rising usage of technology in restaurants can be attributed to increased options, especially with large brands incorporating Apple Pay and other mobile wallets.

Value drives user engagement in Busaba Eathai’s approach.

Letting diners split the bill.

“Rather than delivering generic offers, me-too loyalty programs and rewards that have been overused, Busaba has been able to provide customers genuine value,” Ms. Kugler said.

“This is all about building a better understanding and using that to provide a better service. It’s not rocket science but it works,” she said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York