Drive Loyalty Revenue, Profits at the Point-of-Sale

By Dan Kirk, Director of Information Technology, Tappan Street Restaurant Group | April 05, 2011

Loyalty programs have long been known to improve brand recognition and customer retention. Since it opened in 1979, the Taco Mac concept knew it needed a loyalty program centered on its vast beer offerings to stimulate repeat visits. That’s when the Passport Club loyalty program began, rewarding members with 20-ounce glass mugs for the 16-ounce price after trying 125 different varieties. The Passport Club ran on printed paper, which employees used to check off different beers that patrons tried. This program worked well for Taco Mac, quickly growing in popularity.
 
The Passport Club became so popular that in 2004, the Tappan Street Restaurant Group (operator of the Taco Mac brand) knew that it needed a card-based program to manage membership and track the different beers people tried. The company was already using Radiant Systems’ Aloha point-of-sale (POS) technology, and decided that the Aloha Loyalty tool was a great fit for the revamped program because member data could be updated and tracked from all locations. Aloha Loyalty can also keep up with each of the restaurants’ different beer offerings, which total 2,340 draft beer lines, averaging 94 per location.
 
In 2010, Taco Mac re-branded its club under a new name: Brewniversity, which today has around 140,000 members. With Taco Mac’s large variety of beer offerings and the continued success of the Brewniversity program, members can now try up to 1,000 different beers in order to receive the ultimate prize. This is a $100 gift card, a new silver Chancellor card and their name prominently displayed on a plaque in The Fred, a private bar below one of the restaurants named after the company's beverage director. While there are many other prizes at earlier levels, becoming a Chancellor is the ultimate goal.
 
The integration of Aloha Loyalty with Taco Mac’s existing Radiant POS system has helped the program achieve success. Here are three pieces of advice on the importance of leveraging the POS to drive loyalty revenue and profits.
 
An Integrated Solution Makes it Easy to Manage Loyalty Programs Across Multiple Locations: Taco Mac knows exactly who its customers are – beer lovers. That’s why Brewniversity centers on the concept’s constantly-changing beer selection. By integrating its loyalty program to the POS, Taco Mac makes it easy for members to visit any restaurant, present their membership card, and access account data or track progress. Radiant technology makes it easy for Taco Mac to automatically update and store both facts about members and beer-related data. Members can visit any site, and the POS system knows all of their information.
 
Utilize POS Data to Bring Your Loyalty Program Online: Taco Mac ties Brewniversity to its own custom-designed website so members can access account information online. Through the POS, member information is automatically updated online, making it easy to log on, chart progress and order prizes. Furthermore, Taco Mac's website allows Brewniversity members to research beers and search by location. They can virtually add beers they want to try to a “Fridge.” Then, by leveraging the POS, members can go online via mobile phone when they get to Taco Mac, open their “Fridge,” and see which beers they’re interested in are available at that location. This feature of Brewniversity has been very popular amongst members. The online integration wouldn’t be successful without pulling data from the POS, and it allows Taco Mac to take Brewniversity to a new level.
 
Taco Mac also uses its database of member information collected on the POS to alert members of new beers and limited-time offers at specific locations. These campaigns have proven to drive increased traffic to Taco Mac restaurants.
 
POS Systems Help You Know Your Customers: Taco Mac has learned that the key to any successful loyalty program is to know your customers. Initially, data from the POS gave Taco Mac insight that beer was a big seller for the concept, resulting in the creation of a loyalty program focused on trying new beer. As Brewniversity grows in popularity, Taco Mac can continue using customer data from the POS to see which beer types are most popular, what beer sells the most, and what price points customers are comfortable with. This data helps management make Brewniversity even better by finding and offering beers that fit into the profile of its customer base. This information also allows Taco Mac to focus the majority of its marketing efforts on Brewniversity members.
 
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