Pre-loyalty Program Targets New Guests and Boosts Customer Engagement at CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries

Jason Siska, Sr. Manager of Loyalty and CRM, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, told Loyalty360 that, prior to 2014, the company’s loyalty program and POS were not integrated.

“When we wanted to send a ‘loyalty strike’ for a boost in sales, we would have to blast our entire database,” Siska explained. “Once the integration happened, data has empowered us to be smarter about who we target and when we target.”

CraftWorks’ primary concepts include Old Chicago, Rock Bottom, and Gordon Biersch. CraftWorks also operate strong regional brands, including ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, A1A Ale Works, Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery, and Bluewater Grille.

“Old Chicago is used by our high-frequency users for a different occasion (craft beer-focused) than our light users (more food-focused),” Siska explained. “It does not make sense to send a beer-focused message to one of our food guests. Having the food component added to our loyalty program in 2014 has really allowed us to reach a new audience. With that new audience, we need to try to educate them on our Craft Beer Authority, but ultimately, cater to their specific needs and wants. In 2018, working with some of our new partners, we are excited to take our segmentation strategy to a new level with real-time triggers and campaigns based on frequency and p-mix.”

As a result, Siska said the company gained new insights into the customer journey.

“We are able to track all of our guests’ behavior beyond loyalty transactions,” he explained. “With this new data, we have found that in the trailing 12 months, many of our guests are first-time guests. This new data shows us that the customer journey to becoming a loyalty member really starts before they sign up. Getting those second and third visits is critical in converting a guest into a loyal member. We implemented a first-time guest program, which is almost a pre-loyalty program to help these new users down the customer journey even before they commit to signing up for OC Rewards.”

Officials at CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, Inc. is the nation’s leading operator and franchisor of brewery and craft beer-focused full-service dining restaurants with more than 200 owned, franchised, and licensed locations across 40 states in the U.S. and license locations in Taiwan, have been rewarding their loyal guests since 1978 with one of the first restaurant loyalty programs in the U.S.

“Our staff is the most important aspect of our customer experience,” Siska said. “Close behind is technology. Without technology, we would not have any insight into how our customers use us and what programs we should focus on. From our base loyalty programs to any enhancements, technology is the backbone of everything we do. Both guest-facing and internal. Tracking points, data transfers, and reporting all require support from our IT department and our third-party vendors. Without these technical aspects, we would not be able to run the campaigns that we want to execute.”

CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries has partnered with loyalty vendor Stellar Loyalty.

“That will allow our small department to have the ability to run true CRM with the tools that they provide,” Siska said. “This technology will allow us to launch campaigns we have always wanted to try with little to no additional development needed. Technology is so important and we are moving so fast in the current restaurant environment. Every new campaign we want to run requires technology. Our internal resources are spread thin as every department needs their support. So, as a marketing team, we need to make sure we can prioritize campaigns that are well thought out and will have the best ROI based on resources. If technology fails in the restaurant, then we have hundreds of upset guests that we need to recover. It is important to find the right technology partners that can help reduce this risk.”

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