With Paytronix, a Pizza Chain Gets a Bigger Share of the Pie

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Founded in 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas, Pie Five Pizza Co. promises handcrafted, customizable pizzas ready in five minutes or less. According to Jami Zimmerman, director of communications at Rave Restaurant Group, the chain is "all about choice, personalization, and making sure that each person gets their pizza exactly the way they want it."

But personalization can prove difficult if you lack the tools for targeting customers. And as of 2013, the growing chain still used outdated ones that couldn’t produce the insights required to expand beyond its 11 store locations. "When we first started, we had a paper VIP [punch] card and an e-club," recalls Kimberly Turman, Pie Five’s digital marketing manager. "And those two programs were totally separate." Pie Five could email special offers to its customers, but it didn’t have much information aside from their names and email addresses.

And, Turman adds, "we didn't know anything about the people who had the VIP card." Cardholders were required to produce a piece of paper each time they made a purchase, and after collecting a specified amount of punches, they were rewarded with a free pizza. (That is, if they hadn't lost their cards or forgotten to get them punched each time.)

"Paper cards are old-school, and we didn't want to be old-school," Turman says. "We really wanted to know more about our customers, so we could streamline that process and be ahead of the times."

So Pie Five went searching for a new technology and ultimately settled on Paytronix's Rewards Platform. While several vendors offered comparable functionality, what separated Paytronix was that rewards were its core focus. "We felt like they would be a good partner for us for the size we were at the time and also as we grew," Turman says.

In 2014, Pie Five developed its Circle of Crust digital rewards program. It runs on a simple point system: Every time customers purchase an entree salad or pizza, they’re rewarded with two points. Once they've earned 20 points, they are eligible for a free pizza or large salad. And customers don’t have to inform Pie Five personnel about their eligibility—the information is linked directly to their accounts. Members are also notified about new products and offers and can claim a free pizza or large salad on their half birthday.

Additionally, Pie Five can use the data stored on Paytronix to customize point-based offers. And the firm can get a better understanding of customer preferences by conducting surveys that gather feedback on suggested menu items, ingredients, offers, and combinations.

Getting people on board proved easy. "We were able to take all of the members we had in our e-club program and automatically enroll them in the Circle of Crust program," Turman says. Those who were still using VIP punch cards took a little longer to get acclimated, as they continued to use them to redeem their pizzas—but ultimately they showed little resistance. "Overall, it was a very smooth transition," Turman says, especially for guests who "were interested in having a card that could be placed on a keychain, or an account that could be looked up with a phone number."

In less than two years, the Circle of Crust program has attracted more than 500,000 participants, and between January 2015 and January 2016, membership grew by 90 percent across Pie Five's existing locations. In addition, the company's emails began to receive more attention. Messages reached open rates of 25 to 30 percent, with the most successful ones getting opened at a rate of 40 to 60 percent, Turman says.

The company has 80 stores in 24 states, but by its five-year anniversary in June, the company aims to have 100 locations; by 2017, the goal is 180, Zimmerman says.

To stimulate that growth, Pie Five will continue to leverage Paytronix. According to Turman, the vendor is "working on integrating with Olo, our vendor for online ordering." The integration will allow loyalty members to redeem points with online orders and enable new guests to sign up for the Circle of Crust program.

The Payoff

Since launching its Circle of Crust rewards program, powered by Paytronix, Pie Five Pizza Co. has seen:

  • 500,000 new rewards participants;
  • 90 percent membership growth in existing locations; and
  • email open rates of up to 60 percent.

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