How a multi-location, table-service restaurant used their loyalty program to increase their customer visit frequency using real-time sporting events which generated over $4M in sales.

Did you know that 79% of consumers say loyalty programs make them more likely to do business with brands? (Bond) A multi-location, sports-themed restaurant recognized that having an engaging loyalty program would increase their customer acquisition and retention rates. 

This company put their focus on bringing customers back more often to their restaurants using real-time, member-only driven promotions. The restaurant’s “Hockey Goals = Free Wings” annual campaign ran 17 times during one period and created an average of $277,000 in additional revenue each time it was run. That’s more than $4.7M of additional revenue over the entire campaign.

The company measured the increase return frequency of their loyalty members by seeing a redemption of more than 131,000 free wing promotions.

About the multi-location, table-service restaurant group

This established restaurant group is a leader in the restaurant-sports bar field. Their restaurants offer modern decor, a continuously updated menu and cutting-edge technology.

The restaurant recognized the opportunity to win customers back during what are their otherwise slower periods of business and the importance of considering their family-friendly approach in their marketing initiatives.

When customer engagement is done right, it moves the needle in a big way for Brands. What drives businesses are the bonds they build with their customers, and the experiences are what create those bonds.

Sean Claessen EVP, Strategy & Innovation, Bond

Campaign Planning

This Ackroo customer knew they wanted to get their patrons dining out more regularly at their restaurants and recognized that it was difficult to persuade customers and families to leave the comfort of their own homes during the blistery winter hockey season.

Staying true to their sports-focused brand, the restaurant’s marketing team got creative and tapped into the emotional resonance their customers have with the local NHL hockey team.  The restaurant’s marketing team realized that using a beloved hockey team partnership as leverage, plus offering a menu item most patrons loved them for anyway, would create a sense of fun and excitement that really spoke directly to their customers.

The sports focused restaurant used comradery and celebration to emotionally drive consumer behavior by rewarding their loyalty members with 8 free chicken wings every time the NHL team scored 5 goals in a game. Real-time digital marketing campaigns went out as soon as the 5th goal was scored and all members were eligible to redeem the promotion before the puck drop at the next game.  Customers were allowed one promotion per cardholder and had to spend a minimum of $15 on food to obtain the free wings. The results were fantastic!

The promotion got their loyalty members excited because when their team was winning, so were they! The promotion was attractive to non-members because to get in on the action, you had to sign up for the loyalty program.  This was also a great email marketing win for the restaurant.  During this promotional period they maintained a less than a .01% opt-out rate for email marketing (below the industry average of .02% – Mailchimp).  They maintained their audiences attention with this fun and engaging loyalty member promotion that made their members feel like they were part of an exclusive club, which made them less likely to unsubscribe & opt-out of marketing. Loyalty members were surprised and delighted to hear the ding of their email notification go off as the promotion went live, keeping up real-time with the hockey game’s progress

For the restaurant’s cost of 8 chicken wings, they leveraged the perceived value of that beloved menu item and managed to double their chit size by offering this promotion.  They knew that customers redeeming the promotion would spend on higher margin items like alcohol and  beer to compliment their reward.  The minimum spend to redeem the promotion was strategically set at $15 on a food item, and the restaurant assumed customers would purchase drinks in addition.  They assumed right and saw an average bill of $35.93!


The restaurant made sure to personalize each email they sent to their loyalty members using their first name. As well, they made sure to display their authorized NHL partnership logo to give legitimacy to their offer.  They made sure to reference the loyalty member’s account number in the email so the customer could log into their account and see what offers they had available.

The restaurant really leaned into their digital media assets and made the promotion easily available to redeem both online and in-restaurant via their customized mobile app. They have continued running this successful promotion annually and continue to see great success!