Uncle Maddio’s Pizza has redesigned its menu boards, integrated its loyalty program and embraced a variety of third-party delivery options as the Atlanta-based fast-casual chain looks to expand beyond its current 42 units.
The new menu boards have been changed from a text-heavy listing of Uncle Maddio’s crusts, sauces and 47 toppings to a more intuitive and visually appealing three-step process showing customers how to select those items in order, according to Jenelle Brown, the chain’s vice president of operations and training.
“Our goal was to adjust the ordering and decision-making process for the guest, knowing that fast casual is still an emerging concept and our brand is still emerging in a lot of markets,” said Brown, adding that the previous format “could be a bit overwhelming for the first-time guest.”
Uncle Maddio’s CEO Matt Andrew said the move was a preliminary step in introducing digital menu boards, a process he hopes to start with new locations in the second quarter of 2017, with moves to retrofit existing locations, all but one of which are franchised, in the third and fourth quarters of the year.
Uncle Maddio’s also revamped its Maddio’s Rewards loyalty program in October, integrating its typical buy 10, get one program with text and email marketing that program members can opt into.
Brown said generally text messages are offers such as a Maddio Meal, which is a small pizza, side salad and drink priced at $8.99.
“We’ll blast that out in a text message,” she said. “It’s a great lunch driver — a value driven, portion-right-sized lunch.”
Email blasts allow the operators to leverage food photography and promote timely specials such as holiday gift cards and Super Bowl specials.
Brown said Uncle Maddio’s loyalty program was a key to the chain’s success, noting that she reviewed a two-week trend report from one location and found that 67 percent of sales were from Maddio Rewards members.
“It makes a material difference, partly because you can continue to engage them, and so they’re reminded more frequently to come back,” Brown said, adding that loyalty program members visited more often and spent more per visit. “So we’ve gone out to actively find ways to make that program more robust and find ways to stay in the consideration set by utilizing those platforms.”
That includes giving a free pizza to all members when they join.
“It’s a pretty heavy incentive, but we find that it’s got great return,” she said.
Loyalty program members also get “surprise and delight” rewards such as free pizza on birthdays and anniversaries, and “pop-up” incentives such as a two-point Tuesday in which orders are worth double points.
Since the rollout of the new program in October, Uncle Maddio’s has seen about a 35-percent increase in number of enrollments, Brown said. Meanwhile, the email club has more than doubled.
Based on the personal information users provide when they enroll, “We also can see the demographics of people who respond well to different types of communication. … It allows us a level of business intelligence about who our consumer is that in return we can target in specific ways,” she said.
The chain has also seen “tremendous success” with third-party delivery services, Brown said, including major players UberEats, DoorDash and Grubhub, as well as local ones such as Grub South in Huntsville, Ala.
Andrew said Uncle Maddio’s has an advantage over the wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza chains, such as Blaze Pizza, MOD Pizza and PizzaRev because that style of pizza doesn’t hold up as well when delivered, compared with Uncle Maddio’s New York style pies.
“Neapolitan pizza is not designed, nor will ever be designed, to be delivered. Everybody who’s been in that business for 200 years knows that,” CEO Andrew said. “It’s meant to be eaten right then and there. So, one of the key advantages we have about our brand is that we’re very favorable to delivery.”
Brown added that the chain’s ability to get a pizza out of the oven within eight minutes from the time it’s ordered allows them to deliver it within the 30 minutes that consumers expect, and that their individual-sized pizzas allow customers ordering for just one person to use Uncle Maddio’s.
Third-party delivery makes it easier for franchisees, who don’t have to set up their own delivery system, “and they’re all incremental sales,” she said.
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