Case Study: Building Guest Loyalty Without Points

Published On: July 14, 2021

The Challenge:

As familiar faces return and new diners are eager to explore new restaurants, now is a prime time to assess loyalty efforts. For brands who are not quite ready for a full loyalty program yet, we have good news: building guest loyalty isn’t just about earning points. Read on to learn how two Personica clients drove more repeat visits and gathered more data without offering a bunch of one-time discounts. 

We’ll take a look at our work with Black Bear Diner + Polly’s Pies in their pseudo-loyalty “punch card 2.0” campaigns. Both clients use Personica’s Engage platform + Promotions. Both had a common objective: increase visit frequency and drive brand loyalty. Each brand took a slightly different approach.

The Solutions:

Black Bear Diner’s Bear Crawl

To increase visit frequency, Black Bear Diner rewarded their members with a free entrée after visiting three times (and purchasing an entrée) in the same month.

The campaign featured a straightforward flow with a clear objective.


Tracking, Automation, & Segmentation:

The series includes a handy “here’s how this will work” message, along with barcodes to be scanned during visits. The barcode in the creative was built with Personica’s Promotions tool, as a non-discount type of promotion. Black Bear Diner chose to take a one barcode approach, using the same non-offer code to track conversions for the entire campaign. 

To automate this campaign (triggering the next email in the series after each member visit), the Personica marketing team set up separate automations with the same trigger logic to send one day after the non-offer is redeemed. We differentiated between each follow up using segmentation based the number of redemptions. For example, Bear Crawl Email 2 is sent only to the segment of members that redeemed the first non-offer barcode, and Bear Crawl 3 is sent to members that have 2 redemptions for the non-offer barcode and received the Bear Crawl 2 email. 


Black Bear Diner’s Bear Crawl campaign has been successful from the start (2019) and continues to run today. Black Bear Diner ran this campaign five times in 2019 alone, with average check size increasing over time as guests worked their way through the journey. In 2019, Black Bear Diner brought in net $21,806 with the Bear Crawl after only discounting $1,907.

Expanding redemptions to include both on-premise and online made a huge impact. In a single March 2021 campaign, the Bear Crawl earned more than $17K in net sales by allowing redemptions both on-premise and online — that’s only $4800 less than all five 2019 campaigns combined.

Polly’s Pies Pie Crawl

Another West Coast favorite, Polly’s Pies proved free pie is a great frequency incentive in their similar  “Pie Crawl” campaign. This campaign also ran for one month, with a goal of 5 guest visits in 28 days. Instead of having one reward at the end of the promotion, Polly’s opted to offer rewards at each step, increasing in size as guests progressed through their visits.

Rewards included a free slice of pie, 20% off takeout orders, a free loaf of bread or cinnamon rolls, BOGO entrées, and ultimately a whole free pie. This email creative was particularly easy to follow visually, with each reward representing a slice of the pie. Since a new reward was redeemed at each step, members received the next campaign message and reward only after they redeemed the promotion from the most recent message in the series. Personica set up similar automation to the Black Bear Diner campaign – in this case each follow up email was triggered to send one day after the previous offer was redeemed.


During its 28 day run, the Pie Crawl brought in an additional ~$5,000 in net sales, while consistently driving return visits. Members became the most loyal at offer 3, with redemptions increasing from less than 35% at offer two, to 42% at offer 3 and 54% at offer 4. Not only did this promotion  increase sales, it also allowed Polly’s Pies to  identify their most loyal and engaged members for future campaign targeting within Engage.

These are just two examples of how we’re partnering with our clients to drive loyalty in unique ways using Engage email campaigns, Promotions, automations, and segmentation. To learn more about how Personica can help your restaurant optimize your Loyalty strategy (and even hear about how one client is driving loyalty through embroidered hat sales), set up a chat with our team today!


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