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Although tokens have always been a rich part of Chuck E. Cheese’s history, the company began testing a game card system in December 2014 in Killeen, TX with the goal of improving the interactions and customer experiences guests have while playing games. After a successful first run, the test expanded to 40 restaurants shortly thereafter and, in November 2015, the company decided to roll out the new system in all company-owned restaurants nationwide.
As a result, Chuck E. Cheese’s is slowly phasing out tokens in favor of Play Pass, its new tap-to-play game card system which uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. The company has completed installing the system at nearly 200 locations, with the rollout to remaining U.S. restaurants continuing through the end of 2017.
Mahesh Sadarangani, SVP of strategic initiatives at CEC Entertainment, told Loyalty360 that Play Pass provides guests with an enhanced experience that is cleaner and easier to use.
“Our primary goal with Play Pass is to be able to identify and reward our guests,” Sadarangani explained. “Guests have the ability to register their card (receiving five free points for doing so) and we’ll use that information to offer special promotions and rewards to help drive repeat visits with these guests. From a company perspective, we can enhance the customer’s experience by strategically choosing games in each store based on which games our guests like and play the most.”
The RFID technology allows guests to easily tap their Play Pass card to the game reader to immediately start playing, which guests prefer to swiping. Games will still continue to give out tickets which can be redeemed for prizes.
The programmable card also enables the restaurant to offer discounts during certain times of the day or week, including Unlimited Play, which is offered with the Mega Super Star birthday package and Half Price Tuesdays when game prices automatically reduce. In addition, the cards give the restaurant the ability to reward loyal customers.
Every restaurant will have two card balance readers and two customizable, self-service kiosks capable of accepting tokens, currency, and credit cards. Additional kiosk features include guest registration setup, new game card issue, and recharges. The new functionality gives parents and children the ability to keep track of their point totals and recover the points if the cards are lost.
Even though Chuck E. Cheese’s doesn't charge a fee for the Play Pass card, each restaurant sells colorful, coiled bracelets for kids to wear for a nominal price, which easily attaches to the Play Pass card so they can’t accidently lose or drop their cards.
“One of the main factors behind revamping our system was to have the ability to offer our guests enhanced gaming packages,” Sadarangani explained. “With tokens, we couldn’t offer half-priced or all- you-can-play promotions. In many of the locations that have Play Pass, we’re currently testing different offers, including All You Can Play, for one hour for ten dollars on Wednesdays and Half Price Tuesdays in which all game prices are automatically reduced in half. And in all stores with Play Pass, we offer Unlimited Play which comes with our Mega Super Star Party birthday package. The options are endless.”
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