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Taffer's Tavern Launches Rewards

Guests can now download the mobile app and join the rewards program.
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Taffers Rewards
Taffer’s Tavern wanted to create a loyalty program that competes with those available at larger chains.

Taffer's Tavern, the innovative, full-service restaurant franchise founded by leading hospitality expert and star of Paramount Network’s “Bar Rescue,” Jon Taffer, has launched a Taffer’s Tavern Rewards that includes a mobile app allowing guests to easily track and redeem rewards. 

With full-service locations now open in Washington, D.C., Alpharetta, Ga., and more in development, Taffer’s Tavern wanted to create a loyalty program that competes with those available at larger chains or franchise restaurants.

“Guest frequency is paramount to any restaurant’s success," said Jon Taffer, in a statement. "At Taffer’s Tavern, we have this amazing drive to get our guests back again and again. In fact, the backbone of many of our training and promotional programs is ‘Get Them Back.’ That’s why I’m proud to introduce this new loyalty program. Through Taffer’s Tavern Rewards, we hope to create a stronger relationship with our customers via customized offers, unique perks, tasty rewards, and a few surprises & delights along the way.”

HT caught up with VP of Marketing Alan Walker to talk about what the loyalty program means for guests and for the company.  “We thought that now is the perfect time even though we're an emerging brand with just [two] full-service locations open. I really wanted to ignite our loyalty program now to compete for those guests among the growing number of loyalty programs that are out there,” said Walker.
 

“We are poised to be a very large franchise, and we want to make sure we're set up for growth and success,” he added. “We're trying to get our guests into the door and get them back, which ultimately drives revenue for our franchisees.” 

According to HT’s Customer Engagement Technology Study, guests want to be involved in a loyalty program:  78% percent of customers surveyed want discounts, and 25% want personalized experiences and/or offers.

“Data is king in today's world,” noted Walker. “Being able to communicate with your guest is really important. We’re having issues with communicating with our guests because over half of our guests are walk-ins. We were only able to send marketing messages to reservation guests who opted in through our reservations partner. That third-party data is tricky, and so we're building our first-party database with this loyalty program.”  

Now when guests go to the restaurant, they’re able to scan a QR Code to enroll in the loyalty program. 

Smooth Integrations

Integrations mattered when selecting a loyalty program partner. “We wanted to make sure we had a loyalty partner that integrated with our big tech stack.”  

For Taffer’s Tavern, it is all about getting to know the customer and building that relationship through data analytics and targeted offers. 

“We were very keen on finding a partner that could analyze and segment customers and really create a customized program for us,” he said.    

A Rewarding Experience

In recent years, many brands have revamped their rewards program, requiring more visits and more spend to reach the next reward tier.  

At Taffer’s Tavern, reward tiers were programmed so that a reward was always within reach. Based on average checks, the lowest reward is achievable within every 2.5 visits, he explained. Guests can opt to bank points for a higher reward value too.

Many restaurants offer a free desert to rewards member on their birthday. Taffer’s Tavern decided to “break through the clutter” and offer a free handheld entrée that’s valid for two weeks around their birthday. 

Loyalty members will be receiving marketing messages to help keep Taffer’s Tavern in mind 30 days after a visit. Then if they haven’t visited at 45- and 60-days they’ll receive a promotional offer to entice them back.  “If we're not able to get them back by the 90-day mark we're going to send a special note from the GM with a custom offer for that guest.”

Smaller Footprint

At the end of 2023, Taffer’s Tavern introduced a smaller footprint – about 2,500 square feet vs. 5,000 square feet.  The margins in the industry are being squeezed out by inflation so created something that could be really successful and stable for existing and potential franchisees,”  Walker explained. 

About 45% of restaurants say they’re understaffed and 70% have open positions that are difficult to fill, Walker said, citing data from the National Restaurant Association State of the Industry Report.

The Taffer’s Tavern model relies on sous-vide technology to prepare meals, so the kitchens are hoodless.  “With our model we don't need that experienced staff in the back of house,” he explained. 

With the smaller prototype, there will be more focus on the beverage menu. The concept is perfect for commercial center end caps, and stadiums, he added.

Taffer's Tavern has secured a location to bring the concept to Orlando, Florida, with franchisee Nilesh Patel. The new Taffer’s Tavern location will be at 9101 International Drive and is scheduled to open later this year.

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