Qdoba adds mobile to loyalty efforts with rewards program

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A group of 26 Qdoba stores, all owned by Aztec Partners LLC, is expanding its customer loyalty program into the mobile realm with Qdoba Mobile Rewards.

The Mexican food chain teamed with mobile loyalty company Tetherball to create the on-the-go program. It works in conjunction with the chain's existing "QCard" program and offers rewards, coupons and special notifications to consumers through their phones when they opt in.

The goal is to make it easier for customers to activate their loyalty accounts, increase Qdoba's overall program membership and boost store traffic and sales.

"With our new mobile loyalty program, activation is easier than ever; customers just text on their mobile phones and can then start immediately enjoying great offers from Qdoba," Brent Higgins, director of marketing for Aztec Partners LLC, said in a statement. "It's a terrific way to interact with our younger customers who use their mobile phones for just about everything."

Higgins noted that currently only about one in four customers activates a QCard. When Qdoba Mobile Rewards launched at an event in Indianapolis, around one in five attendees engaged in the program.

"One of the big goals on the Qdoba program is to continue to build not only brand awareness, but location awareness," said Jay Highley, president and COO of Tetherball. "We think we can keep the brand top-of-mind, make users aware of where Qdoba locations are around them and catch them around the time of their purchase decision."

The two companies are working together to promote opt-ins to Qdoba Mobile Rewards through in-store ads and events — the first of which ran June 27 and 28.

The program is aimed at a broad demographic, said Highley. He added, "We believe that a younger demographic is likely to be the earliest adopters, but we're seeing adoption across age groups."

Qdoba chose Tetherball to launch the mobile program after a successful pilot at select stores.

Tetherball recently worked with another chain, Dairy Queen, to introduce an RFID (radio frequency identification) mobile loyalty program. Highley noted that quick-service restaurants tend to be early adopters of this technology, but Tetherball also is reaching out to retailers and other businesses. l

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