Food & Beverage

How TGI Fridays Increases Customer Loyalty Through Personalized Text Messaging

34.3%

welcome offer redemption rate

2x

SMS subscriber growth in one month compared to loyalty program

62%

subscriber growth over three months

Learn how TGI Fridays used SMS as an engaging direct communications channel to reach mobile-first diners and increase order frequency.

About

TGI Fridays, the original casual dining bar and grill, offers authentic American food and legendary drinks, served with genuine personal service. Bringing people together to socialize and celebrate the freeing and fun spirit of “Friday” was the concept’s founding premise, from which the brand’s promise “In Here, It’s Always Friday” was born. TGI Fridays serves up good times at over 850 restaurants in more than 55 countries—whether you choose to take a seat at the bar, in the dining room, or in your own home.

Challenge

TGI Fridays was looking for an engaging direct communications channel to reach mobile-first diners and increase order frequency. Understanding that every consumer has a preferred channel, the brand was interested in offering SMS to consumers who wanted to connect via their mobile device but weren’t interested in engaging on email or a mobile app.

After a poor experience with another text message marketing solution many years ago, TGI Fridays needed a partner that was highly invested in compliance and knew best practices.

“Compliance is our top priority as we scale our text message marketing program. We canceled our SMS program with another provider a long time ago because they weren’t compliant,” said Ana Pia Guzman-Briley, Director of Loyalty & Customer Engagement at TGI Fridays. “It was important to us to have a partner that does a lot of hand-holding, shares best practices, and makes sure we’re fully compliant.”

Solution

TGI Fridays partnered with Attentive to engage their mobile audience via personalized text messaging. To increase diner loyalty, the brand invites subscribers to sign up for TGI Fridays’ rewards program. They also share special offers and announce new menu items to increase order frequency.

“We embraced this channel as a new means to talk to our guests and modernize our communications,” said Jasmine Hajjari, Email Loyalty Analyst at TGI Fridays.

Our loyalty program is really popular among our audience. Our initial goal when launching our text channel with Attentive was to gather as many new SMS subscribers as our existing loyalty users. In the first month, we did double. I knew right off the bat that we were going to have a successful program.”

– Ana Pia Guzman-Briley, Director of Loyalty & Customer Engagement at TGI Fridays

Strategy

TGI Fridays drives opt-ins for their personalized text messaging channel using Attentive’s “two-tap” sign-up creatives on their mobile website, as well as a sign-up unit on their desktop website. Built with compliance in mind, these sign-up units designed by the Attentive team empower the brand to quickly and confidently grow their list of SMS subscribers.

Knowing that diners who choose to connect with them via text message are highly engaged, TGI Fridays leverages their SMS channel to drive opt-ins to their loyalty program.

“Our ultimate goal is to use personalized text messaging to grow our rewards program,” Guzman-Briley said.

To drive opt-ins to their “newer, better, and faster” loyalty program, the brand sends subscribers a text message explaining the different ways they can earn points. TGI Fridays includes a playful GIF to catch subscribers’ eyes and a direct link to sign up.

We recently rebranded our loyalty program by adding new levels and opportunities to earn rewards. Promoting our loyalty program via personalized text messaging has been a powerful strategy to drive sign-ups and build diner loyalty.”

– Jasmine Hajjari, Email Loyalty Analyst at TGI Fridays

Loyalty also informs TGI Fridays’ segmentation strategy. The casual dining brand rewards subscribers who have ordered at least once in the past 60 days with exclusive offers and perks, such as a free dessert to enjoy with their entree. By treating text messaging subscribers like VIPs, TGI Fridays increases diner loyalty and order frequency. This segmentation strategy also increases the brand’s ROI.

“Sending offers to subscribers who have recently placed an order helps guarantee a higher ROI,” Hajjari said. “We know these diners are engaged, so sharing an exclusive incentive will make them even more likely to place another order.”

To build excitement around their menu, TGI Fridays updates subscribers on new and seasonal menu items. The brand includes cravings-inducing images to entice subscribers to find their new favorite dish.

“We always include images when we promote new items because our subscribers may not be familiar with them,” Hajjari said. “It entices them and piques their curiosity. We want them to wonder, ‘How does it taste? Is it like my other favorite items?’”

TGI Fridays always ends their messages with a link to immediately learn more about the product.

Text message marketing is an integral part of our overall communication strategy—it’s more than just a standalone channel.”

– Ana Pia Guzman-Briley, Director of Loyalty & Customer Engagement at TGI Fridays

Results

Within a month of launching their text messaging program, TGI Fridays grew their SMS subscriber list to more than two times the size of their loyalty program. Engaging subscribers on their preferred channel has driven strong results, including:

  • 62% subscriber growth in just three months
  • 78.4% click-through rate on their welcome message
  • 34.3% welcome offer redemption rate
  • 16x ROI driven by their welcome offer

TGI Fridays also sees success with their campaign messages, including:

  • 19% conversion rate on text messages sent to subscribers who purchased in the past 60 days
  • 6x ROI driven by text messages sent to subscribers who ordered in the past 60 days
  • 13% conversion rate on text messages promoting new menu items
Partnering with Attentive has empowered us to connect with consumers who want to engage with us, allowing us to stay top of mind and increase order frequency.”  

– Ana Pia Guzman-Briley, Director of Loyalty & Customer Engagement at TGI Fridays

Over the next six months, TGI Fridays plans to orchestrate across their email, mobile app, and text messaging channels. The brand will send diners on their preferred channel first and will send a follow-up message on a second channel if the user doesn’t take an action. As their list of SMS subscribers grows, the brand also plans to A/B test messages based on subscriber engagement.

To further personalize their messages, TGI Fridays plans to leverage Attentive’s geo-targeting capabilities to tailor messages based on their subscriber’s closest restaurant location. The brand is also planning to roll out in-store sign-up initiatives to capture subscribers when they’re most engaged.

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