Sandwich Chain Selects Punchh Mobile Marketing Platform

punchh app

The Earl of Sandwich chain has chosen the Punchh Marketing Automation Platform™ to engage and reward its loyal customers on mobile devices, acquire new customers using customer referrals via social media, and drive marketing campaign success.

Steve Heeley, Earl of Sandwich’s CEO, said the Punchh solution was selected because of its mobile app-based loyalty program and ease of use, as well as the ability to capture and validate customer data.

“We are introducing Punchh as a pilot in six of our two dozen stores,” he said, in an exclusive interview with Point of Sale News, “and expect to soon roll it out into our growing network of franchises.”

The chain selected Punchh to launch a fun Earl of Sandwich mobile app that underpins its loyalty program, comprehensive customer analytics and integration with social media. Noted Heeley, “Our demographics are heavily weighted in the 18-45 age group, and mobile customer engagement is key. We wanted a solution that our IT and marketing people could use together to gather real-time customer insights and project future buying trends, as well as capitalize on what our market already wants.”

He noted that social media is extremely important for their restaurant chain to engage Earl’s active fans, and Punchh leverages fans’ reviews to drive word of mouth through social media. “We’re really excited about the platform,” he said. “The Punchh platform is easy to implement, and the POS (point of sale) integration is seamless. We have great expectations about how this will help grow our individual stores as well as expand our franchise.”

The Earl of Sandwich mobile app enables customers to accrue loyalty points through their rewards mobile app, and provides the restaurant an opportunity to engage their customers in real-time. The mobile app is integrated with the POS, and tallies customer purchases and displays loyalty points earned on their mobile devices. Customers also can use the Punchh app to share restaurant reviews through social media and earn even more rewards for referring friends. Because Punchh is POS integrated, Earl of Sandwich can monitor the impact of all its marketing plans whether they’re centered on loyalty, social media marketing or customer referrals.

Punchh’s patent-pending technology was developed by a group of dedicated foodies with in-depth experience in mobile, social media, cloud, and customer relationship technologies at major corporations. Sastry Penumarthy, co-founder and vice president of marketing and business development, said they founded the company when a friend came to them with a problem.

“He owned a restaurant and wanted to know if there was a good way to use technology to help him acquire more customers,” Penumarthy said.

They identified two trends that were not being addressed to their full potential: mobile devices and social media. What they found was that restaurants wanted to engage customers via mobile devices, and gather rich customer data and actionable insights to increase sales.

With about 60 percent penetration of smartphone use in the US today, and a projection of 80 percent by 2015, Penumarthy noted that the path was clear for mobile-based apps that give restaurant owners very rich information about their customers.

Penumarthy said they have spoken with more than 500 different restaurants to date. “There cannot be a one-size-fits all approach, and we knew we could create a flexible technology that could accommodate different needs,” he said.

“We can create branded mobile apps in multiple ways,” he added, “so all users could find something of value – punch cards, games, referrals, special rewards — really anything that would engage customers and get them to return to the restaurant. Each app can be tailored exclusively to suit a particular brand. Restaurateurs can use the data to reap information about the number of visits, how much money is spent per visit, the type of food that customers are ordering, reviews that are posted on Facebook and Twitter, referrals and responses to campaigns, among others.”

“It’s that one-to-one marketing that customers want today,” he continued, “and it’s really hard to find. Loyal customers are important not only because they visit more often, but are also more likely to spread the word of mouth, and refer their friends. By engaging customers through one-to-one marketing restaurants can build a strong brand and get better results where it matters most, at the POS.”

He used an example of a hypothetical customer named Olivia. “Let’s say Olivia is 35 years old. From our collected data, we know she has visited the restaurant 30 times. She’s spent $360 during her visits. She loves the turkey cranberry sandwich. The restaurant can market to her with targeted offers for either a new sandwich that’s similar to her favorite, or give her add-ons to her favorite, such as a salad or soup. And the restaurant can give her rewards to bring in her friends. She benefits, her friends benefit and the restaurant benefits. The entire process needs to be fun for the consumer and robust for the brand. We can help the restaurant figure out who refers which customers, giving them the option to reward the referral. This is tracked through purchases at the POS.”

Like any marketing platform, Punchh is only as good as the people assigned to analyze the insights and execute the campaigns. Punchh provides end-to-end support for restaurant brands by training staff and franchisees, creating point of purchase displays and making recommendations on which campaigns to execute.

For restaurants, social media has become a key medium to have conversations with customers. Punchh is helping restaurants tap into social media to also drive new customers to the point of sale.

About Punchh

Punchh is the only mobile-centric marketing platform for restaurants that leverages social networks to drive and measure repeat visits, word of mouth and customer referrals. Cloud-based, the Punchh platform is integrated with operators’ POS systems to tally restaurant reward programs, gather customer purchasing data insights and optimize the return on investment of marketing campaigns. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Punchh’s patent-pending technology operates in more than 1,000 restaurant locations under brands such as Church’s Chicken, Earl of Sandwich, Hungry Howie’s, Max’s Restaurant, Pacific Catch, and Rita’s Italian Ice. For more information, visit

Written by Suzi Harkola

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