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Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse drive repeat traffic via mobile promotion

Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse restaurants are aiming to incentivize users to come into restaurants this summer to redeem mobile offers.

The restaurant chains are using the Front Flip mobile app for a three-month promotion this summer. One month into the campaign, the marketer claims that the results point to mobile as being particularly effective at connecting with young, tech-savvy consumers for Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse.

“Unlike a traditional sweepstakes portion, we have the ability to modify their program as we move forward,” said Jon Rice, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Homestyle Dining, Plano, TX.

“The opportunity for us is to bounce people back [into the restaurants], and the major benefit is that Front Flip gives our guests something to talk about and interact with in a positive way,” he said.

“We generally do a summer promotion with Pepsi, and adding the app was just a way to add excitement.”

Homestyle Dining LLC is the parent company to the Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse brands.

Mobile loyalty
Promotions that use the Front Flip app are rolling out this summer at 142 Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse restaurants in the United States.

Front Flip is a free app that is available for iPhone and Android devices and uses a mobile device’s built-in GPS to locate nearby restaurants.

The restaurants are using the app for a promotion with Pepsi that lets consumers receive discounts on meals for buying Pepsi products.

To promote the initiative, paper tabletops are being used to encourage consumers to download the Front Flip app.

Once consumers download the app, they can scan a QR code that is printed on the tabletop to receive exclusive in-restaurant offers.

Users can then swipe their finger across a digital scratch card to reveal their offer, which is good for half-off of a summer barbeque entrée when consumers buy two Pepsi drinks on a visit.

Consumers then have the choice to either use the offer on the spot in the restaurant or save it for later. There is also an option to share content to friends and family through social media.

The promotion is scheduled to run through September with the possibility of extending Front Flip promotions if the offers prove to be successful this summer.

Promote on mobile

Getting the word out
The Front Flip promotion is the first major mobile effort from Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse, according to Mr. Rice.

In addition to the tabletops, Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse restaurants are betting on word-of-mouth marketing to help give the campaign some traction.

For example, waiters are helping show consumers how Front Flip works.

“What we have learned is that although many guests have smartphones, they might not understand how they work,” Mr. Rice said. “It is a positive thing, though, because we are bringing it to their attention, and it’s exciting for our guests.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York