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Waffle House targets NASCAR fans with unique mobile loyalty app

Restaurant chain Waffle House is partnering with Smithfield and Richard Petty Motorsports on a mobile application giving fans of racing and waffles a way to earn rewards by doing what they love.

Users of the app will be able earn points by voting for their favorite Waffle House location, tracking their purchases and by participating in the app’s Fantasy Racing League. Bonus points will be earned when users purchase Smithfield menu items.

“There is a large overlap between race fans and fans of both Smithfield and Waffle House,” said Dennis Pittman, director of corporate communications and public affairs for Smithfield Farmland.

“To reward these loyal customers, Smithfield and Waffle House teamed up to leverage the power of NASCAR and consumer loyalty programming, embarking on a partnership designed for the digital age – a first for both companies,” he said.

“Since Smithfield Foods does not sell product directly to consumers, our communication to them is typically through very traditional channels, and is a one-way conversation with no feedback loop. We not only leverage our knowledge of their love for the sport through this app, but open the doors to direct communication which ultimately allows us to better understand their needs and address them with solutions.”

Smithfield is a consumer packaged goods company providing pork products under several different brands.

Waffle House operates 1,700 restaurants in 25 states.

Fantasy Racing League
The first page of the app, which launches on July 1, will be a sign-in page. Here users will be able to nominate their favorite Waffle House to help that retail location win prizes throughout the promotion.

Once in the app, users will be presented with a menu of options ranging from a nearest store locator function to participating in the NASCAR-based Fantasy Racing League.

The league is a weekly event, where the user is reminded to pick a team in advance of each race.

“Effectiveness of an app is entirely based on the frequency of use and the league will drive usage as weekly winners are awarded points to their total,” Mr. Pittman said. “Additionally, the league function offers points standings for players, allowing them to know where they stand in real-time.

The app also has a scan function that will enable users to snap a photo of their Waffle House dining receipt for credit towards their rewards points total.

Strong connections
Users will be able to track their points total and redeem for Waffle House merchandise and Richard Petty Motorsports/Smithfield Racing merchandise right on the app.

Inside the app, users will see the details about a 60-day in-store promotion whereby the consumer with the most tallied points wins a race experience.

Recognizing that there is a strong connection between race fans and the Waffle House brand, the companies are also unveiling a new paint scheme for the No. 43 Smithfield Ford featuring Waffle House.

“Smithfield Foods and its family of brands operates across multiple retail platforms, which includes servicing the restaurant industry,” Mr. Pittman said. “In 2013, the company actively launched itself into digital commerce solutions on multiple commercial and consumer touch points.

“As the global leader in our industry, it is incumbent upon us to press the envelope on how we engage with our customers and consumers,” he said. “We have a very customer-centric focus, and the app is an extension of that philosophy as we seek to help our customers lift their businesses.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York