Grotto Pizza Engages Loyal Customers with Paytronix

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Pizza isn't exactly a seasonal item, but for pizzerias in beach towns and summer communities, the winter can be brutal. For Grotto Pizza, a small chain based in Rehoboth Beach, DE, losing customers that time of year wasn't an option. Grotto turned to loyalty platform provider Paytronix to help it heat up business all winter long.

Before enlisting Paytronix, Grotto Pizza relied on discounts during slow times, but with no loyalty program management tool, Grotto couldn't target its offers. It had no way to sort diners by location besides zip codes and no way to determine which were repeat customers.

The company knew it had to build a loyalty program but was limited by dated point-of-sale (POS) systems. "We weren't ready to upgrade to different POS systems, so any provider had to integrate with the old version of Micros we were using," says Vinnie DiNatale, director of marketing at Grotto Pizza. Grotto could save up to $150,000 by getting a provider that could connect to the older POS; Paytronix was "by far the best choice for meeting our needs," DiNatale adds.

With Paytronix, Grotto Pizza created the Swirl Rewards Club, which connects to its email and social media marketing efforts. Customers can register a traditional loyalty card or check in through a mobile app and give the server the code generated by the app. By signing up, guests receive special offers and earn rewards.

Grotto uses email, social media, and in-store signs to encourage guests to join and make the program user-friendly. "We wanted to make it as easy and appealing as possible," DiNatale says. To date, 48 percent of activated loyalty members are registered, and 86 percent have signed up to receive messaging.

Once users are registered, Paytronix's platform segments them based on their buying habits. In Grotto's case, four customer types were identified—price-conscious diners who always order the same items, price-conscious diners who like to experiment, comfortable spenders who stick to their favorite dishes, and comfortable spenders eager to try new things. Armed with this data, Grotto could make informed decisions about what discounts to offer, and who to offer them to.

"You need to be smart about special offers," says Paytronix marketing head Michelle Tempesta. "When you have a price-conscious customer that orders a cheese pizza every Friday and you want to encourage him to come in other days, it's wise to offer a discount on that cheese pizza, not a new, expensive menu item." Thanks to these targeted offers, loyalty members spend 10 percent more when they come in, and loyalty members account for 21 percent of all purchases.

Paytronix also helped Grotto launch short-term campaigns such as the 2014 Winter Wednesdays promotion, which gave members 50 percent off premium items after 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Grotto's lightest traffic days during the winter. Traffic increased by 84 percent.

Now that summer has returned, Grotto plans to continue to work closely with Paytronix to upgrade the loyalty mobile app and eventually add geofencing capabilities, which will alert customers when they're near a location and remind them of rewards ready to be redeemed. "We are really pleased with how the loyalty program [did], especially with the Winter Wednesdays campaign," DiNatale says. "We'd like to keep it going with instant-win campaigns, giveaways, and other promotions. Paytronix has a really flexible platform, and we're going to keep experimenting with different possibilities." —Maria Minsker



  • a 10 percent increase in spending per check by loyalty members;
  • an 84 percent increase in traffic on Winter Wednesdays; and
  • 21 percent of all purchases accounted for by loyalty program members.

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