- Restaurant chains Papa Gino's and D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches saw redemption rates on offers sent to customers on mobile devices via text messaging that were 14 times better than emailed promotions. The mobile campaign drove more than 25,000 transactions and $125,000 in attributable revenue, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- New England Authentic Eats, the parent company of the restaurants, signed a three-year agreement with Mobivity Holdings to handle personalized mobile communications to customers. Mobivity's Recurrency suite of services aims to boost customer engagement and frequency by capturing point-of-sale transaction records, analyzing customer habits and motivating customers and employees with messaging apps and rewards.
- Jesse Erhartic, vice president of digital marketing of Papa Gino's and D'Angelo, said about 10% percent of new customers were acquired from text since the mobile promotions started. The new customers also are transacting more frequently than two-thirds of its pre-existing customers, he said.
The experience of Papa Gino's and D'Angelo shows the enduring power of connecting with customers on mobile platforms via SMS messaging, and customizing offers that are more likely to drive recurring visits and loyalty. Mobile messaging can provide a more immediate and direct connection with customers than email, although it's likely a matter of time before smartphone users start seeing notification clutter. For that reason, message customization becomes more imperative to make offers relevant to mobile customers. As the restaurant chains found, newly acquired customers are showing a greater willingness to receive offers on their mobile devices.
Driving store visits is a key strategy for restaurant chains, along with mobile ordering and delivery that appeal to millennial and Generation Z customers. More than half of restaurant visitors participate in a loyalty program, while deals and discounts can often drive repeat usage, per researcher NPD Group. Burger King last year boosted downloads of its mobile app by 1.5 million with its "Whopper Detour" stunt campaign that offered 1-cent Whoppers to smartphone users who were near rival McDonald's locations.
Expanding mobile marketing could be one way Papa Gino's and D'Angelo try to restore growth after their prior owner filed for bankruptcy protection in October. The day before the filing, the company had closed 95 restaurants and laid off 1,100 employees, per the Boston Herald. Wynnchurch Capital, a middle-market private equity investment firm, in January bought Papa Gino's Holdings for $20 million in a court-approved sale. The sale included 141 company-owned locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Franchisees own an additional 34 locations.