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Mobile Payments Build Sales and Loyalty for Cafe

Blue Glass CafÉ, operated by on-site corporate dining and catering company Guckenheimer, is located inside the John Hancock Tower. The tower is not only Boston’s tallest building, but it accommodates approximately 5,400 working professionals. From a Starbucks Coffee Bar to hand-rolled sushi and house made soups, Blue Glass CafÉ operates a unique restaurant on the building’s ground level with a commitment to serving local and organic foods purchased from 60 farms across New England.

With parent company Guckenheimer based in Silicon Valley, Blue Glass CafÉ consistently seeks out new technologies and innovations to improve the customer experience. In late 2011, it became evident that mobile payment solutions for dining were on the rise in the area. Seeking to speed up the ease and convenience of checkout for its customers -- particularly during the daily lunch rush -- Blue Glass CafÉ decided to explore potential options. The company believed that the highly educated, tech-savvy workers in the John Hancock Tower would readily embrace such a move and did not believe they would face any obstacles in terms of the learning curve.  

Blue Glass CafÉ selected LevelUp, the pay phone app from mobile gaming company SCVNGR that lets consumers pay with their phones to save time and money. With its PCI compliant technology, comprehensive back-end analytics, and solid funding from investors including Google Ventures, Blue Glass CafÉ felt the Boston-based LevelUp would make the best fit as its mobile payment partner.

In addition to offering customers the ease of paying with their mobile phones, LevelUp also has a built-in loyalty construct. So, Blue Glass CafÉ had the opportunity to build a loyalty system to reward repeat customers. The company offers a $3 on-boarding incentive the first time a customer pays with LevelUp, then a $10 credit for every $150 they spend at the restaurant. After the physical technology and loyalty program were put into place, Blue Glass CafÉ went live with LevelUp on January 18, 2012.

After several months, Blue Glass CafÉ found that Hancock Tower workers were eager to become early adopters of this high-tech way to pay. The restaurant saw 6,000 LevelUp transactions within a three-month period. The built-in loyalty system has also proven effective with 66% of LevelUp customers returning to dine again within 14 days.

Even with the investment in LevelUp’s equipment and customer rewards, Blue Glass CafÉ has seen a cost savings from its use as a result of reduced payment processing fees. While the fees associated with processing major credit card payments can range anywhere from 2.3-2.7% of a single charge, LevelUp’s processing fee is now at 0%. This makes costs more predictable and yields savings.

The back-end analytics and quantifiable customer data provided by LevelUp have proven particularly useful by tracking customer information in a way that can’t be done with traditional cash and credit card transactions. Blue Glass CafÉ now knows whether customers are male or female, where they’re coming from, how often they’re dining with the restaurant and even what other restaurants they frequent around town.


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