loyalty program in the mobile space several years
ago, but decided to wait for the technology to
mature and customer acceptance of loyalty apps to
develop. “We held off until we felt that the business
case made sense,” he says.
In May 2014 Capriotti’s partnered with Punchh,
maker of a mobile cloud-based customer relationship
management suite for restaurant operators. Customers can use the app to earn and redeem rewards,
interact with the brand, share reviews through social
media and refer friends. Restaurants capture data
detailing all that activity and can then offer deals
based on individual customers’ preferences.
“Our long-term goal is to build a database of
active customers and influence their behavior over
time through customized rewards and incentives,”
Mr. Smylie says. By allowing the chain to reward
customers and track which incentives work, the
Jason Smylie began his career as an IT proj- ect manager in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He invested in a Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
franchise on the side and eventually gave
up his IT gig to focus on restaurants
full-time. Seven years after acquiring
the entire chain with a few partners, Mr.
Smylie is CIO of Capriotti’s, which now
has 105 locations in 18 states.
Since buying the company, he has initiated a series of technology projects across
the franchise, rolling out point-of-sale
solutions, online ordering and back-office
systems, online training, mobile operational tools, a mobile loyalty app and an
intranet to link all franchisees together.
“Our vision is to have all these projects
integrated into a single IT system to provide business intelligence,” he says.
While progress has been steady, securing buy-in for new technologies from franchisees—
and related process changes—has been challenging.
“Getting franchisees to understand the vision is the
biggest challenge on projects like these,” Mr. Smylie
says. “You have to be sure they understand the ROI
to make them work.”
This year Mr. Smylie has focused the portfolio on
the front of house, rolling out a new loyalty program
that lets customers use a branded mobile app to
earn rewards based on how frequently they visit the
restaurant and how much they spend. The project
is central to Mr. Smylie’s vision of transforming the
“Loyalty tools in the industry have moved away
from punch cards and phone numbers to mobile
applications,” he says. He had wanted to launch a
Made to Order
To ensure the success of a mobile app project, a team at a U.S. sandwich
chain had to prepare stakeholders for change.