For some restaurants, customer loyalty programs going high tech
Customer rewards or loyalty cards, those pieces of plastic or paper that retailers use to track purchases and reward customers for their loyalty, may be dying off in favor of something more high-tech. Several local restaurants are looking at more modern options for encouraging customer loyalty.
FlockTag is an Ann Arbor-based business that allows users to carry one card for multiple businesses. You can redeem deals with the card by tapping your wallet against a sensor.
AnnArbor.com file photo
In the Ann Arbor area, customers can sign up for and use the card at 25 different local businesses. Rewards range from discounts to free items at local businesses like Silvio’s Organic Pizza, BTB Burrito and Cantina and Haifa Falafel.
Many businesses also offer other tech-savvy rewards. Afternoon Delight, at the corner of Liberty Street and Fifth Avenue, has been offering specials on its Facebook page for the past six months or so. But owner Tom Hackett says the business' loyalty card is a must for frequent diners.
“Everybody carries a card, every Saturday and Sunday. I don’t care who you are, if you are here, you have a card,” Hackett said.
Afternoon Delight has recently changed its rewards program. Where it used to be that 10 punches got you a free lunch, now the reward is $7 off. Hackett says the modification was made to make things easier for customers.
“It’s hard to tell what a lunch is — just a sandwich, or your usual with a drink and a brownie?” he said. Now the program is a bit more streamlined.
“It seemed like that was the average that people were spending; we wanted to make it easier.”
Ashley’s, on South State Street, offers a rather exclusive loyalty program that they call Friends Of The Owner (FOTO).
“It is very successful with about 4,000 guests who have joined and the only way you can join is by submitting a request online," co-owner Jeff More says. "This is much more restrictive compared to many programs that let you sign up as you check out. We feel that we are truly enrolling our frequent guests.”
The Ashely’s website has a section devoted to the program that offers information from how to join to special events and rewards.