THE MARKETER QUARTERLY WINTER 2015 34 | MQ
IN THE INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE FAST-CASUAL RESTAURANT BUSI- NESS, customer retention and loyalty has become the way to drive incremental revenues and pull away from the competition. That’s the direction Mark Mears, CMO of Schlotzsky’s Bakery Cafe, a restaurant chain with 350 locations in 35 states, has been steering his brand since he took over the post at the beginning of the year.
Mears says that Schlotzky’s target audience trends younger—generally professional men and women age 25 to 49 with college educations. That means the company has to start attracting the newest members of that social class: millenials.
“Digitalization has opened up a new avenue
for connecting with millenials and engaging
with them on their terms and on a deeper more
emotional level,” he says. “This is important
to our future success, not just as we look at
our menu, but how we communicate through
digital marketing, web interactivity, social me-
dia and our new ‘Lotz4me’ guest rewards.”
Schlotzky’s launched Lotz4Me in June 2014.
The program revolves around a mobile appli-
cation that provides four key benefits, accord-
ing to Mears. The first benefit is recognition
and rewards: spending $6 (a digital “sand-
wich bite,” in the terms of the program) sev-
en times gets a $7 discount on the next visit.
Schlotzsky’s worked with mobile CRM firm
Punchh to incorporate technology that scans a
barcode from a receipt into the app to confirm
a purchase and also to learn what kinds of se-
lections a guest prefers.
“We’ve gone from having a faceless, name-
less transaction to knowing something about
you and what you like,” Mears says. “That
allows us the opportunity to practice smart
marketing, which is more one-to-one.”
The platform also provides exclusive insid-
er news and special offers. Loyalty program
members get a chance to try some new items
before anybody else. The program also gives
referral bonuses to customers that share on
social media. Customers can share comments
and pictures or refer Facebook friends to earn
bonus bites and apply these toward their next
discount. Feedback is the fourth benefit, ac-
cording to Mears. There’s an element of the
app that allows members to tell Sclotzky’s
about their last visit.
“It speaks to the fact that we offer our guest customers a chance to have a deeper level relationship with us, not just a commercial-level
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