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White Castle pushes customized alerts, coupons via SMS

Customers can opt-in to receive customized alerts on their mobile devices any time they are near a participating White Castle restaurant. The location-based mobile marketing strategy connects consumers to the food they crave in real time and to nearby locations.

“Mobile coupons delivered through SMS are known to have the highest redemption rates—dwarfing those of all of all other forms of distribution including direct mail, newspaper ads, mobile applications, television commercial and mobile banner ads,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile.

“Particularly when it comes to fast food restaurants, SMS has proven to be widely effective. SMS coupons in this vertical can easily have redemption rates of 10-30 percent – especially when location targeting is added to the recipe,” she said.

Ms. Lowy is not affiliated with White Castle. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

White Castle did not respond to press inquiries.

How it works
Consumers who want to opt-in to the Text2Crave service can text the keyword CRAVE to the short code 25787.

Text2Crave mobile alerts show up in real time when a customer is within a one- to five-mile radius of a White Castle restaurant.

Opted-in consumers will receive a maximum of six messages per month.

Several of the coupon range from discounts for the company’s Angus Steak Chili and Brownie on a Stick or to deals on Sliders and other favorites.

“The mobile marketing industry has been blessed with tremendous innovation in the space and the addition of many new, exciting forms of advertising,” Ms. Lowy said. “However, the majority of those campaigns can only be executed on smartphones. Smartphone penetration is currently at just over half of the market.

“Marketers often forget that they may be substantially cutting their reachable audience the minute they engage with any of these forms of advertising,” she said. “This issue may not be as big of a concern with high end luxury brands whose target customers usually have a smartphone.

“However, it is an important consideration for fast food restaurants that are frequented by middle and lower income population. Many of their customers may not have a smartphone and hence SMS allows them to reach a much larger portion of their target audience.”

Currently, only the Indianapolis region, which has 39 White Castle restaurants, is running the Text2Crave test program through March 31.

In addition, White Castle is giving consumers two free Original Sliders just for signing up.

White Castle is working with Placecast as the mobile technology partner for this program.

“The beautiful thing about SMS messages targeted by location is that it enables brands to catch the right person, in the right place, at the crucial decision making moment,” Ms. Lowy said.

“Opted in consumers have already expressed interest in the brand and are therefore likely to engage with it further,” she said. “They are being contacted in the right place as the system can gauge whether they are within the vicinity.

“Additionally, messages are often pushed out pre-meal time when consumers are beginning to contemplate where to eat their next meal. That is targeting.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York