Chart House Targets Frequent Diners

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Chart House Enterprises, Chicago, the parent company of Chart House Restaurants, has ditched old loyalty points program Aloha Club for an automated program that will target loyal customers and customers who have not dined at Chart House locations in a three-month period.

"The Aloha Club was not working because customers did not know how many points were being accumulated and we did not have any means of reaching them," said Marla Williams, director of marketing.

The Viewpoints program, which will be effective April 1, will include "miss you" cards for members who aren't frequent customers and birthday and anniversary cards to members who will receive double points for celebrating their occasions at the restaurants. Double points will also be given on Mondays, which are typically slow. Member accounts will be updated each time the check is paid, and when 250 points are accumulated members will receive a $25 Reward Certificate in the mail. Mailings also will be sent to notify members of changes in the menu and special events such as wine tastings.

"The idea is to increase business in our restaurants and to build better relationships with our customers," Williams said. "The program is based on the success of other programs in the business. The airlines were first with loyalty programs, but restaurants were not too far behind, so there is a track record of successful programs. We want to get to the point where when we take reservations over the phone, we will be able to recognize members and greet them when they come in."

For every dollar a member spends, one point is collected. However, in some states alcoholic beverages are excluded from the program.

The program will be promoted through waiters and waitresses, and nonmembers of the program will receive an application with their check at the end of the meal. Applications will also be available at the hostess desks in the restaurants. Customers will receive a membership card, similar to a credit card, to submit to the waiter or waitress with their check.

Chart House operates 57 restaurants throughout the United States, including Hawaii. It hopes to sign up 5,000 new members in the first year and hopes eventually to link the program to other loyalty programs such as frequent flier programs.

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