For years, restaurant brands all utilized the same punch card loyalty programs. The system is simple: customers present their card to the cashier with every purchase, and once it’s full of punches they receive a free item. Togo’s—a sandwich franchise with locations all over the West Coast—was one of the many subscribers to the tried and true method. But as technology started to play a more important role in the industry, the innovative brand decided to make a digital upgrade.
Togo’s rolled out the first version of its new loyalty app—Togo’s Tribe—in 2015. With guests earning one point per every $1 they spend, the move was designed to enhance the brand’s overall experience for both customers and franchisees. Consumers benefit from racking up points because they earn a $5 reward every time they accrue 50 points. The local owners behind the Togo’s brand, on the other hand, are then given the opportunity to capitalize on the boost in traffic that the loyalty program brings.
“It became clear to us that the punch card’s time was up. It didn’t give us a way to track our guests’ behavior, and there was a greater likelihood of fraud. By introducing a digital loyalty program, we solved both of those problems,” said Leslie Lopez, director of brand management for Togo’s. “The response we’ve received from ‘Togo’s Tribe’ so far has been overwhelmingly positive. And it’s clear from our recent increase in performance that it’s working the way we hoped it would.”
Togo’s Tribe Rewards members visit about 25% more often and spend approximately 20% more per visit than Togo’s average guest. Having a points based system also allows Togo’s to scale their program and provide additional incentives to visit. For example, when Togo’s advertises Double Points day the we’ve seen up to 50 percent increases in transactions over the day and/or week prior.
But the loyalty app brings even more perks to the table. Togo’s is now actively tracking its customers’ behavior so that they can provide them with more relevant offers and communication. The brand also now has valuable insight into how frequently guests are dining with them as well as which specific marketing events are bringing people into its sandwich shops. That then allows Togo’s to be much more strategic with its messaging going forward, ultimately eliminating unsuccessful campaigns.
The program also opens up the line of communication between the brand and its fan base—Togo’s will email its Tribe members when they’re close to receiving a reward, when that reward becomes available and if it’s about to expire. That level of interaction then encourages customers to stay engaged with the program, keep Togo’s top of mind and incent repeat visits.
Even though Togo’s first introduced its digital loyalty program last year, the brand just completed the rollover’s final stages in November. Nearly every one of the brand’s franchisees now accepts the universal app. Togo’s also linked its gift cards with the program, enabling customers to earn points when they complete a transaction using the alternative method of payment.
“The power of our new loyalty program is definitely visible on all levels of our brand. We’re already gathering data that we can use to take our future marketing and loyalty efforts to the next level,” said Lopez. “Now that the Togo’s Tribe platform is available across our entire system, we’re looking forward to realizing its full potential for both our franchisees and our loyal guests.”