With a mission statement pledging “to give every guest a legendary experience,” Midwestern restaurant chain Pizza Ranch challenges itself to provide the best food and services that keep consumers coming back. Leveraging the services of rewards program solution provider Paytronix, Pizza Ranch introduced a promotion on Black Friday in 2015 that:
Increased ROI 780%;
Lifted sales 67.6% from the previous Friday; and
Increased gift card sales.
On Black Friday, Pizza Ranch specifically implemented a double-points promotion that rewarded guests at twice the normal rate for purchases of menu items and gift cards. The promotion was designed to draw in consumers and drive sales on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
“This was such a change from what our previous Black Friday sales had been,” said Courtney Boone, Marketing Manager of Pizza Ranch. “This was a Friday in November that normally had lower sales than other Fridays throughout the month. Our reasoning was that we were in a lot of rural markets. We’re not in a lot of major shopping areas, so people on Black Friday are usually leaving our town to go shopping. How could we capture some of that business when they came back to town? The double-points promotion would help get us on the radar of everyone planning those deal shopping trips.”
Since the promotion generated a faster point accrual rate than normal, the only cost to Pizza Ranch was the value of possible redemptions from rewards earned with the “extra” points. The resulting 780% ROI increase led Paytronix to name Pizza Ranch as the first winner of its 2016 Paytronix Loyaltees Awards.
Bringing “Ranch Rewards” Into The Fold
Back in 2011, Pizza Ranch launched its “Ranch Rewards” program, powered by the Paytronix Rewards Platform. The program now has more than 650,000 members across all its 180+ restaurants. Members earn one point for every dollar spent, and once they reach 75 points, they are awarded with five extra dollars in spending money.
“We wanted to understand our customers better so that we could better serve them, and serve better deals and promotions that were more relevant to them,” Boone said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We wanted to understand their visit pattern, or what kind of guests are coming into our restaurant. Then we could start inserting promotions that would be relevant to them, influence their behavior and basically be mutually beneficial to the guest and the pizzeria.”
Within the first two years of working with Paytronix, Pizza Ranch ran numerous experimental promotions. Some were simple discounts, while others were more complicated, including giving out free food items to consumers who visited Pizza Ranch a certain amount of times. Measuring the execution of these promotions, as well as the employees’ ability to understand them and explain them to a guest, Boone indicated that “simpler was better” for the pizzeria going forward.
Applying this simplicity concept benefitted Pizza Ranch, as it was able to launch double-points promotions throughout various seasonal events, including: Independence Day, Super Bowl Sunday, April 15 (Tax Day), and Back to School. The success of each program gave the restaurant the confidence necessary to introduce the promotion on Black Friday.
“We really boil it down to this: our guests are looking for points, and they’re looking for extra added value,” Boone said. “How can we make this as simple as possible for them to understand — and us to execute — while still getting results. We felt this program was successful because it was so easy to understand.”