- Auntie Anne's, the pretzel chain owned by Focus Brands, this week introduced mobile ordering in its Pretzel Perks app as part of a nationwide rollout of delivery service. To promote the service, Auntie Anne's is running a sweepstakes with the grand prize a "Recline-to-Dine" chair that orders pretzels via pulling a lever, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- For a chance to win the pretzel-ordering recliner, Auntie Anne's customers must enter their email address and other information at a "Recline to Dine" microsite. The chair has motion sensors that can tell when someone pulls the lever to connect with Auntie Anne's mobile ordering system and place an order. The deadline to enter the contest is Aug. 25.
- The grand prize package also include a year of free pretzels and streaming services, along with a care package of branded merchandise. Auntie Anne's also is offering 24 runner-up prizes that include a $25 gift card and care package. Mobile customers can save $5 on their first delivery order of at least $20 in the Pretzel Perks app by Aug. 25, per the announcement.
Auntie Anne's is offering mobile ordering as the coronavirus pandemic has a negative effect on foot traffic in shopping malls and transit centers that are key locations for the fresh-baked pretzel franchise. The brand's offbeat sweepstakes that offers a recliner to order pretzels as a grand prize is a novel way to generate publicity for the new mobile ordering service. The campaign is reminiscent of Pizza Hut's release several years ago of limited-edition sneakers that worked with its mobile app to order pizza with the tap of a button.
Auntie Anne's had planned to introduce the recliner to showcase its delivery service before the pandemic disrupted operations, Restaurant Business reported. The chain had offered delivery service from drivers who picked up pretzels from its locations in malls and brought them to customers. Now, the delivery service is part of a strategy to extend sales outside of mall locations as more consumers shop online. With more consumers staying at home and looking for activities to pass the time during lockdowns, Auntie Anne's this year began selling pretzel-making kits. In February, it partnered with delivery service DoorDash on a Valentine's Day promotion to sell heart-shaped pretzels.
Delivery service has become a lifeline for the restaurant industry as the pandemic triggered a 22% drop in restaurant traffic in March from a year earlier, researcher NPD Group found. Meanwhile, digital restaurant orders jumped 63% and delivery 67% that month. It's likely that growth has subsided somewhat with more restaurants opening their dining rooms or offering outdoor seating as lockdowns ease.
The recent growth in mobile ordering has been beneficial for companies like Auntie Anne's delivery partner DoorDash. The startup has captured 45% of third-party delivery orders, ahead of rivals Uber Eats, which has 28% of the market, and Grubhub's 17% and Postmates' 7% share, per Edison Trends data cited by Chainstore Age. DoorDash in June raised $400 million in a financing round that lifted its value to $16 billion from $13 billion in November, Axios reported, setting the stage for a possible IPO this year.