Zippy’s is an institution in Hawaii that has served island-style food for more than 50 years across 22 restaurant locations. Its menu represents the culture unique to the Hawaiian Islands, with hearty dishes like Korean fried chicken and Zip Pac® bentos. Its style goes beyond fast casual. The nonfranchise chain offers takeout and even a bakery at some locations. And its customer base consists of loyal locals from Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island.

Uncovering Data through Customer Rewards

As Zippy’s prepares to expand to the mainland, Michael Jenkins, Zippy’s director of loyalty and customer insight, knew that the Hawaiian favorite needed to incorporate a bit of modern technology into the restaurant’s tech stack. “We never really had a whole lot of insight into our customer base,” said Jenkins, who helped implement Zippy’s first data-backed customer loyalty program using Punchh.

The new Punchh-powered Zipster Rewards program provided the brand seamless integrations with their POS (Oracle) and online ordering system (Olo), helping ensure success within months of its launch. The program also alleviated several pain points. The expanding restaurant chain was looking to increase sales in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic while still providing a good customer experience. However, having enough support and staffing to do so is a challenge across the service industry, which is partly why Jenkins turned to Punchh. He needed a loyalty program designed to deliver customer value, expand its base, and provide data to improve marketing efforts. Punchh checked all three boxes with its omnichannel loyalty experience.

Building an Inclusive Customer Rewards Rollout

The rollout of Zippy’s new customer loyalty program was carefully designed to help transition Zippy’s less tech-savvy customers. Their existing rewards program was only available to seniors who received a physical discount card. Jenkins knew switching to an online loyalty program available to all guests, not just seniors, might be difficult for some.

Jenkins created a multi-stage marketing strategy to onboard Zippy’s most loyal customers. Senior Club members were offered a $100 food credit for making the switch to the Punchh-powered online loyalty program. A how-to campaign was created too, including video instructions for the new program and mobile app. And finally, Zippy’s engaged with customers by offering a special phone line dedicated to customers making the switch. The team returned nearly 1,000 calls where they walked customers through the digital transition.

Customer Rewards Increases Restaurant

Visits The success isn’t just anecdotal. Data from Zippy’s mobile rewards program backs it up. Former Senior Club members have visited, on average, 14 times in the program’s first six months; twice that of the overall program average. “So it’s not just that they gave it a shot. I think it’s fundamentally changing how they’re using technology personally, which is really cool.”

Zippy’s full-throttle campaign to launch a modern loyalty program is paying off with impressive results across all demographics. Since the inception of Zipster Rewards, the company has earned a stellar 30% participation rate and a 45%+ increase in visitation quarter over quarter.

Giving Customer Value to Valuable Customers

Data from the Punchh platform is now influencing a customer-centric sequence of service in stores, integrated marketing campaigns, employee training, in-store promotions, print, email, direct mail, digital, radio, and TV advertising. The detailed customer data allows Zippy’s to improve segmentation and improve the customer experience with more personalized emails and push notifications.

The real win for Zippy’s is the journey they’ve taken with their customers. “They’re a bit older. They’ve been with us forever. They tell us stories about coming to our first location, which is still around. And we’ve always had an understanding of them, because we know them.” The remarkable part is that now those same customers are engaging with Zippy’s from a transaction perspective. “That’s absolutely mind-blowing for everybody. So that’s been a huge benefit coming from Punchh,” said Jenkins.