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Helping pubs and restaurants find new ways to engage with their customers via mobile

Seize Digital
British pubs and restaurants are facing a particularly challenging time due to the meteoric rise of online food delivery firms and apps like Just Eat and Uber Eats. In fact, in London, the number of restaurant closures has reached a 28-year high, with 117 independent restaurants closing in the capital over the last 12 months. Many of the chain restaurants have also had well-publicised struggles, with Prezzo, Byron, Strada, Jamie’s Italian and Carluccio’s just a few that have had to drastically downsize.

It’s clear that to keep up with the online delivery firms, the food and beverage industry needs to evolve. Failing to act and resting on their laurels at this time of transition can quickly lead to their demise. While firms in some industries may enjoy a level of protection, in this sector there’s no such thing as too big to fail.

This is why our work with Nicholson’s Pubs is a great example of how we’ve helped a leading food and beverage operator engage customers via mobile, drive footfall and boost the number of spontaneous purchases in its pubs. With over 80 city centre pubs across the UK, Nicholson’s came to us with three objectives:
 
  • To promote Nicholson’s Pubs to new audiences
  • To increase footfall to its pubs
  • To boost the number of downloads of its loyalty reward app and drive redemptions and sales uplift

An opportunity, not a challenge

While many food and beverage firms see the arrival of the online delivery firms as a challenge, Eagle Eye and Nicholson’s Pubs saw it as an opportunity that they could capitalise on. With more and more people prepared to use their mobile phones to order food and drink, Eagle Eye was behind their launch of the first pub-based mobile loyalty and rewards app in the UK.

Our aim was to capitalise on the fact that consumers are increasingly likely to engage with retail and hospitality operators and brands via mobile and expect them to use mobile to deliver targeted offers and rewards direct to their phones. These rewards can be personalised based on the individual’s location and/or preferences to present a compelling offer that drive spontaneous purchases.  

In fact, of the most relevant findings of our recent Purple Paper was that 79% of consumers are likely to make spontaneous purchases if they’re presented with relevant discounts and rewards. Having helped dozens of food and beverage operators find ways to engage customers and increase sales via mobile, this is something we’ve seen in practice time and time again.
 

A digital wallet and Ale Trail function

The mobile app we designed and developed for Nicholson’s Pubs includes a digital wallet, which allows the brand to send rewards, offers and deals direct to the phones of its customers. This is linked to the Eagle Eye AIR platform, which tracks rewards and offers from the time they are issued up through to the point where they are redeemed by the customer at a Nicholson’s point of sale. This produces invaluable insights into the customer’s buying behaviour and digital journey that can then be used to optimise Nicholson’s marketing campaigns and spend in the future.

The ‘Ale Trail’ function was included to add a digital element to gamify the pub crawl experience. Gamification techniques can be particularly effective with modern consumers because they can provoke feelings of excitement and happiness and even take advantage of their fear of missing out (FoMo) – all emotions that mobile users respond well to. We also included push notifications to remind users who have completed the Ale Trail to redeem their reward. This is another way to drive repeat custom and footfall to underperforming pubs.
 

The importance of rewards

It’s worth reiterating that nearly 8-in-10  consumers are likely to make a spontaneous purchase if there are rewards and discounts for doing so. In particular, our Purple Paper research found that 25-34-year-olds are ‘very likely’ to make a purchase if those rewards are:
 
  • Available for a limited time only (34%)
  • Personalised to them (33%)
  • Location-targeted via their mobile (31%)
In fact, after price, rewards are the most important factor for consumers when choosing whether to make a purchasing decision. Food and beverage businesses that adopt a mobile-first approach can undoubtedly benefit from this preference for real-time rewards.
 

Nearly 43,000 registrations and counting…

The Nicholson’s Pubs app has promoted the brand to new audiences and re-engaged its existing customers. It has driven nearly 43,000 registrations and has greatly boosted the brand’s ability to interact with its customers by mobile. You can check out the Nicholson’s Pubs app here.

If you’d like to find out more about the role how Eagle Eye can drive footfall to your food and beverage business, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.