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Pincho is partnering with loyalty platform Thanx to create a hidden menu for the highest-spending loyalty customers that only unlocks after you spend $200 in 90 days.

Here’s why exclusivity, not discounts, is the way forward for loyalty programs

Burger chain Pincho just began offering hidden, exclusive menus in partnership with Thanx for loyalty program members

Miami-based, 10-unit burger chain, Pincho is embracing the next level of restaurant loyalty that leans away from discounts and toward exclusive experiences. Pincho is partnering with loyalty platform Thanx to create a hidden menu for the highest-spending loyalty customers that only unlocks after you spend $200 in 90 days. It’s part of Thanx’s new Loyalty 3.0 platform.

The hidden menu — which currently includes the Egginburger, a now-defunct fan-favorite menu item — will be used to test out new LTOs and bring back former menu items that are easier to make in small batches. Operators that use this feature will be able to personalize hidden menu access, control who sees different menus, and vary the length of time the menu items are available.

Pincho’s loyalty program is tiered with a bronze level (“Friends”), silver level (“Friends with Benefits”), and gold level (Exclusive) with different perks.

“It’s just another way of building loyalty and giving back to the folks who are showing up every day and dining in with us,” Otto Othman, CEO and cofounder of Pincho told Nation’s Restaurant News. “So how do you reward these people for their loyalty? Now, when we launch LTOs we launch them for our VIP members first. We’re very excited to take loyalty to the next level.”

Once you unlock the hidden menu, you’ll be able to see these menu items as a tab in the Pincho app, and these items will not be seen by anyone who just downloads the app. Right now, the most loyal Pincho fans will see the EgginBurger in that tab, but in the future, they might see a menu item like an upcoming dish, the truffle honey burger, that the team is currently working on.

For Othman, hidden menus are just the start of what loyalty 3.0 might look like. For gold level “Exclusive” members, Pincho is starting to host VIP 20-person dinners where the chef will whip up some exclusive, high-end burgers like a wagyu burger, for example, and create a special evening, especially for a fast-casual restaurant. Pincho also takes part in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival burger bash competition, and in the future, will invite their “Exclusive” members to come by as spectators.

“The way forward for us as a brand is not to discount, but to create,” Othman said. “We want to create American Airlines or American Express levels of loyalty where you can skip the line, experience exclusive menu items, etc. I keep pushing for that because we want to stay relevant to our community, and our community is not motivated by $5 off coupons: they want experiences.”

Othman is considering other perks for their most loyal members like a Fastpass lane that lets customers skip to the front of the line, which will be especially useful during lunch rush. Othman equated this mode of thinking to the burgeoning world of NFTs in the hospitality industry, which are tying real-life exclusive experiences to the purchase of these digital assets.

“What makes these NFTs special is not the digital burger art, but the utilities that comes with it,” Othman said. “Like, what does [this burger NFT] get me? Is that just the fact that I own it? We are building this entire world of opportunities and have to be able to authenticate it.”  

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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