Football, baseball, basketball—it didn’t matter the sport. At casual-dining restaurant Duffy’s Sports Grill, locations brimmed to the top with guests like a delightfully full pint of beer when sports games were on.
About four years ago, though, Duffy’s realized it had a problem: without a big sports game on TV, its restaurants were like a broken tap, unable to fill up to capacity.
“We knew we had to fill up the space during nonsporting events,” says Paul Emmett, Duffy’s president. “We knew we had to market to a wider demographic. To keep the restaurants full, we had to offer significant value.”
His solution: to provide a lucrative loyalty program.
In 2010 Duffy’s implemented a Paytronix-based MVP customer loyalty program. The program is a huge part of the concept’s business, with 425,000 MVP members driving 72 percent of business transactions in Duffy’s 24 restaurants, which are spread throughout Florida. Loyalty customers linger longer in the restaurants.
“It’s a core part of our culture,” Emmet says. “All our team players understand this this is what drives the business and our marketing program. The company is built around sports and customer loyalty. “
Duffy’s recently expanded that program, adding new capabilities from Paytronix, a provider of loyalty, gift card, and email capabilities to restaurants. Upgrades include mobile check in, mobile sign-up, and real-time messaging capabilities. Guests can also sign up for the loyalty program at kiosks located in each of the stores, and since staff members are no longer required to input the information, the restaurant ensures the data captured is accurate.
The Duffy's MVP loyalty program segments guests based on behavior into three spending tiers: MVP, All Star, and Hall of Fame. All Star members spend $1,000 annually, and receive placement at the top of the waiting list, among other perks. Hall of Fame members spend $3,000 annually and are allowed to make reservations—a privilege exclusive to them.
Of Duffy’s 425,000 total loyalty club members, 10,000 are All-Stars, driving 13 percent of the restaurant’s revenues, and 800 have Hall of Fame status, driving 2-3 percent of sales.