Grappling with technology and customer experience fails

Tin Drum Asian Kitchen is a regional fast casual restaurant chain serving 10 locations across Georgia. Evoking the fast service and convenience of Asian street-side cafes, each guest’s meal is prepared to order using fresh, simple ingredients—and Tin Drum’s management team is committed to delivering customer experiences that are as customized and delightful as their food, especially through their aggressive venture capital-backed franchise growth. But before they could put an effective customer loyalty program to work, they needed to overcome various operational roadblocks.

With Punchh, we have the data and tools we need to talk about our product and put the customer in control of what’s going to enhance their experience.

“From a technology standpoint, we were treating customers terribly,” says Jonathan Schinelli, a 15-year veteran of Tin Drum who not only managed the restaurant’s first location but also became the first franchisee and worked in various corporate operations roles before engaging as a management consultant. “Data from our POS system was fragmented, our online ordering system crunched out failed orders, and our existing LevelUp loyalty program was anything but streamlined,” he explains. “We had to stop and ask ourselves, ‘How is the experience for the customer?’ The tech experience for restaurants should be a win,” he continues, “and our job on the back-end is to make dining with us as consistent, easy, and enjoyable as possible.” Schinelli implemented an enterprise solution to take control of their systems and data and then set his sights on loyalty.

Serving up meaningful and customized experiences

Leaning into the philosophy that a loyalty program is a restaurant’s way to show their loyalty to customers, Schinelli started looking for a solution that would make the Tin Drum brand shine. “I couldn’t do that without spending massive amounts of money with LevelUp,” he says, “and I had no guarantee it would turn out the way I wanted.” He was familiar with Punchh, and appreciated that the solution—unlike most others—not only provides development and ongoing maintenance without up-charges, but enables Tin Drum to get away from “the transaction” and focus on building customer relationships.

This is easy to do, thanks to Punchh’s SKU level integration with PARtech, BrinkPOS, CTUIT, and OLO. “With Punchh, we have the data and tools we need to talk about our product—not the deal—and put the customer in control of what’s going to enhance their experience,” Schinelli says. “We can provide weekly surprises to customers, and say, ‘When you come to get your Pad Thai on Monday, how can we make that better? Choose a free spring roll or a free drink–it’s up to you!’”

Punchh has taken a lot of weight off of our team.

Enjoying a “large playground” of possibilities

While Tin Drum more than doubled its active membership in under three months on the Punchh platform, Schinelli says the biggest change out of the gate change is in online ordering. “With Punchh, we can see order patterns and use them to segment customers and deploy targeted offers, resulting increased growth.”

Prior to using Punchh, Tin Drum was in a negative sales cycle— and now they’re hitting positive numbers. In fact, locations have saved at least $500 per month since switching to Punchh. And franchisees have mirrored the same sentiment. “Punchh has taken a lot of weight off of our team,” Schinelli says. “Everything works consistently on our end. It’s no longer a 2-week process to get a customer order credited if they forget to scan their card.”

Schinelli reports that high-spending customers love that they get an extra percentage of earnings—and people love double points days. “It’s a large playground for customers and the restaurant,” he says. “Whatever crazy idea I think of, Punch makes sure I can find a way to do it. Being able to say, ‘Yes, we can do this!’ is the most powerful thing for a brand.”

With Punchh, we’ve dramatically increased our bottom line. We’re growing users at a healthy rate, increasing frequency, and eating away at negative sales—and our discounts are less than half of what we used to give. We are actually building a relationship with our customers, rather than throwing credit dollars back at them.