Food & Beverage

How TGI Fridays Increases Customer Loyalty Through Personalized Text Messaging

TGI Friday's table of food

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 700 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.

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 we did loyalty users during COVID-19. Since we launched, we’ve gathered four times as many. In fact, we’ve doubled our pre-COVID-19 loyalty program growth rate. 

- Jasmine Hajjari, CRM Manager at TGI Fridays


TGI Fridays integrated their SMS program with their loyalty provider, Punchh, to send highly personalized messages based on a subscriber’s loyalty status.

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,” Hajjari said.

We’re creating a smarter SMS program by integrating it with our CRM and loyalty platforms to deliver relevant, meaningful, and compelling messages to our subscribers. Our integration with Punchh allows us to create a dynamic segment of SMS subscribers who haven’t signed up for our loyalty program yet. We’re able to send those users an invitation to join the program and start earning rewards. 

- Jasmine Hajjari, CRM Manager at TGI Fridays


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, CRM Manager at TGI Fridays


As they began using personalized text messaging to drive loyalty program opt-ins, TGI Fridays needed to integrate their SMS program with their loyalty provider, Punchh. By automatically identifying their loyalty subscribers within their SMS program, the brand is able to build a more robust segmentation strategy. TGI Fridays uses these dynamic segments to send hyper-targeted messages that drive action. They recently texted subscribers letting them know they could earn 3x points with their order of a seafood entree. Loyalty members were sent a link to immediately place their order. Non-loyalty members were sent a link to sign up for the program so they could take advantage of the offer. 

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. 

- Jasmine Hajjari, CRM Manager 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  
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