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Buffalo Wild Wings takes loyalty program national

Blazin’ Rewards now available at all locations

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. said on Monday that it has expanded its loyalty program, Blazin’ Rewards, to its more than 1,200 locations nationwide.

The program has been increasingly popular as it has been integrated throughout the system — it already has more than 2 million members.

The loyalty program enables customers to earn points for their orders. It gives out bonus points for frequent lunch visits as the chain works to bolster its afternoon business. Customers also earn bonus points for checking in through the company’s Blazin’ Rewards app.

“The Blazin’ Rewards loyalty program was designed to thank and continually reward our passionate fans,” Bob Ruhland, vice president of marketing for the company, said in a statement. “We’ve seen positive engagement rolling out Blazin’ Rewards in select markets so far, and as the program grows, so too will our roster of rewards and point earning opportunities for our loyal guests.”

Loyalty programs have become an increasingly common tool in restaurants’ marketing arsenal — and especially as they’re connected with additional technology, such as smartphone apps. 

Restaurant chain executives believe loyalty programs allow for more targeted marketing, while also providing them an important source of information on their customers’ buying habits.

Buffalo Wild Wings has had good results with its app so far — the company said on its earnings call in April that loyalty members accounted for 21 percent of transactions so far.

Introducing this program is part of a strategy to reverse weak same-store sales, which declined 2.4 percent at company locations in 2016. Same-store sales improved moderately in the first three months of 2016, up 0.5 percent. 

Buffalo Wild Wings is also selling 83 of its more than 600 company-owned locations to franchisees. Earlier this month, investors voted to place three directors nominated by activist shareholder Marcato Capital Management to the company’s board. Longtime CEO Sally Smith, meanwhile, announced her retirement.

The company’s stock, however, has not responded: Buffalo Wild Wings stock is down more than 19 percent since that vote to its lowest level in nearly four years.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter at @jonathanmaze

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