Personalization might be a challenge for most loyalty marketers, but for officials at Penn Station Subs, they embrace it.

“Penn Station has prided ourselves on personalization since our inception,” Penn Station Subs president Craig Dunaway told Loyalty360. “The fact that customers now want personalization, we don’t see it as a challenge, but rather, it puts us ahead of the curve. Not only in seeing their name on the app or having the ability to save favorite orders in online ordering, but being able to customize their made to order sandwich. We offer 14 sandwiches on our menu that are each offered with an array of choices to make it the perfect sandwich for you. How do you like your Italian Deli Classic?”

Dunaway said how company officials listen their customers is always evolving.

“We offer many platforms for our customers to provide us feedback,” he said. “We wouldn’t be in business for over 30 years if we didn’t listen, learn, and adjust. Today, with social media and online presence being a part of nearly everyone’s life, it is extremely important to have a constant voice on all platforms engaging our customers. At Penn Station, we want the customer journey to be focused on the experience. Not only is our food a deliciously satisfying meal, but we prepare it to order right in front of you so you can hear, see, and smell the food being made. From our USDA choice beef that creates the Philly Cheesesteak to our fresh-cut fries and made daily fresh-squeezed lemonade, the customer journey is what keeps our customers loyal.”

In the past year, Dunaway said, “we went from having very low level loyalty programs to having an all-inclusive app that tracks rewards, offers in app payment and gift cards as well as notifies customers of promotions. Having something as easily accessible as an app on their smart phone has made Penn Station stay top of mind to our customers. We are in the business of selling sandwiches. Loyal customers come back multiple times a month, utilize their app, and share our great food with friends. We offer them rewards for being a loyal customer and for referring their friends to us. With the app analytics, we can easily see how many app downloads, registrations, uses, and repeat customers we have.”

Dunaway said company officials are convinced that, “once you try Penn Station, you will become a loyal customer. It isn’t so much about prioritizing loyalty, but prioritizing trial. We have a great product that people crave once they’ve had it. Offering loyalty programs is just one more way to entice hungry people to our restaurants.”  

Penn Station Subs has pushed forward aggressively on the mobile engagement front.

“Not only did we launch our mobile app this past year that rewards loyal diners, but we now offer in app payment, gift giving, location finding, games, and other great features,” Dunaway said. “Additionally, online ordering will soon become a feature to make the customer experience that much easier. Online ordering is something we want to get right. We have spent a lot of time looking at the right platform to introduce this feature to our customers. The experience needs to be easy and fast, but also executable in-store to flawlessly integrate with our dine-in experience.” 

In addition to ease of use and time saving functionality, trends are focused more on realistic versus hype, Dunaway noted.

“We are moving away from overly stylized photography and fluff promotions to get real with our customer,” he said. “They crave the small business feel and want to see loyalty rewards that are truly useful to them.”

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