I have never had one. However with bucks a little tight I thought it may be time to give something back for customer loyalty. We have a dedicated following from customers that only want an espresso, brew, pastry, bagel, breakfast panini ,etc. I feel only a reward card for espresso favors only that group of customer. I have a mock up of a card representing all of the above on one card. Free one after 10 in each category. And of course if a bagel customer occasional wants to splurge for a latte' they will get a punch for that too. I think it will work and everyone will look at it as a game and each will have the same opportunity for their reward no matter what they are keen to. I do not see a loop hole which means there has to be one, loop hole. Any thoughts before I sacrifice myself to the gallows? There is no turning back. However, I will have a expiration date, must be redeemed in 7 months as I want customers to be commited and not come in two years from now for their free one. I want to make it difficult to go anywhere else and feel this can be accomplished with the one card for all. Of course it seems like the norm is 10 espresso for a freeone. I want to create conversational buzz! Think outside of the box!

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What about a buyback? Instead of a formal program, just keep mental track and try to give them a freebie once in a while. I feel like with a card they feel like its something they've earned instead of it being an expression of gratitude.
Brady, So I take it the store you work in does not offer a punch card? I tend to agree with you offering their beverage on the house now and then. When this is done, as it was today, they really light up! A punch card does have a different tone, as you say.

Great feedback.
ray peck said:
Brady, So I take it the store you work in does not offer a punch card? I tend to agree with you offering their beverage on the house now and then. When this is done, as it was today, they really light up! A punch card does have a different tone, as you say.
Great feedback.

No, our store does do a punch card. We have since day one. Have regretted going this route occasionally, but the customers do love it. Many do look forward to their freebie, and most know exactly how close they are to it. I do not feel that using it has created nearly as much loyalty as our good product and friendly service. It is worth careful consideration before starting, as you'd never be able to discontinue.

Regarding loopholes, I would only allow use of the card by the customer or the customer's spouse if they share a card. No whole office cards or transferals. Also limit the free item to being the same as they usually get - 10 coffees doesn't earn you a mocha.

Just some thoughts. Good luck.
I tried to find you on this site but to no avail. Where is you?

What is the regret, "experience" you have once in awhile when that free one goes out?

At a prior store of mine we did offer cards. It was 2' to closer and I got a phone call from a customer. I'll be right there, can you wait? I did for another 15' and they pulled out their free one! I was not exhilerated.
Ray:

Your profit margins on your coffee should be drastically higher than on your pastries; that's why shops only do this reward card for coffee. I like your idea in theory, but you have to think about your financials.
amen
I know everyone has different opinions on the reward card situation. When I attend trade shows and talk to owners, the reward card / prepaid card is one of the top things they want to know if our software handles (it does). I do have more customers offering a $25 card for $20 as a way to stay away from punches and to reward a customer right up front. . A punch card does also open you up for more abuse of crew punching for their friends etc.

On the expiration date - why would you care? If a guy comes back two years later, then at least he is still in the store and thinking of you. Wouldn't having a expiration help push customers to redeem them when a percentage usually would not?

Finally, one of the options that we have is a way to set the store apart. Instead of buy x get x free - we allow for $1.00 is 1 point. Then set x points gets you a free drink. If 50 points is a free drink it does not matter if they buy 50 $1.00 hot chocolates or 10 $5.00 specialty drinks - the abuse is cut down.
Hi Ray. I'm right here :)

The only regret is when looking at financials in leaner months trying to find ways to reduce expenses. The standard approach to the card basically amount to a 10% discount for your regular customers, which turns out to be more like a 5% reduction in revenue. Doesn't sound like much, but you know how slim the difference between breaking even and shutting down can be.

I recommended that we do this at our store at startup, as it was something all of the other local shops did. I do feel like it is good to reward your best customers, BUT you need to be able to absorb that %5 "loss". The question is, since you run currently without this program, do you feel like adding this program will drive enough additional sales to compensate for this? That's all I'm trying to say.

I like the suggestions that Mike made... a neat way to accomplish this without them needing another card that also avoids some of the traps. Good post.
Alright. Great great input. I appreciate your generosity in sharing. My decision is to hold tight for now and continue oferring exceptional service and products.

Mike Spence said:
I know everyone has different opinions on the reward card situation. When I attend trade shows and talk to owners, the reward card / prepaid card is one of the top things they want to know if our software handles (it does). I do have more customers offering a $25 card for $20 as a way to stay away from punches and to reward a customer right up front. . A punch card does also open you up for more abuse of crew punching for their friends etc.

On the expiration date - why would you care? If a guy comes back two years later, then at least he is still in the store and thinking of you. Wouldn't having a expiration help push customers to redeem them when a percentage usually would not?

Finally, one of the options that we have is a way to set the store apart. Instead of buy x get x free - we allow for $1.00 is 1 point. Then set x points gets you a free drink. If 50 points is a free drink it does not matter if they buy 50 $1.00 hot chocolates or 10 $5.00 specialty drinks - the abuse is cut down.
Great idea on the point system. At Coal Creek, we are currently trying to resolve the punch card abuse and find a suitable way to "reward" our customers.

Mike Spence said:
I know everyone has different opinions on the reward card situation. When I attend trade shows and talk to owners, the reward card / prepaid card is one of the top things they want to know if our software handles (it does). I do have more customers offering a $25 card for $20 as a way to stay away from punches and to reward a customer right up front. . A punch card does also open you up for more abuse of crew punching for their friends etc.

On the expiration date - why would you care? If a guy comes back two years later, then at least he is still in the store and thinking of you. Wouldn't having a expiration help push customers to redeem them when a percentage usually would not?

Finally, one of the options that we have is a way to set the store apart. Instead of buy x get x free - we allow for $1.00 is 1 point. Then set x points gets you a free drink. If 50 points is a free drink it does not matter if they buy 50 $1.00 hot chocolates or 10 $5.00 specialty drinks - the abuse is cut down.

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