Hooters Ups Mobile Game With Stronger Data Focus

Restaurant brand delves into app and digital realms

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Hooters is kicking off a mobile loyalty program today in Atlanta that it plans to take national in the coming months.

The initial offer includes a complimentary appetizer for patrons that download the brand's new HootClub app as well as 10 free chicken wings when they scan their receipt into the app, recording their purchases for future one-to-one marketing. The app includes gamification features as well, letting users get a chance to win free food and trips to events such as UFC matches based on how much they spend with the brand.

The initiative isn't as simple as launching a smartphone app. Working with digital marketing services company Sparkfly, Hooters' key goal is to create a continuous stream of marketing data that can be used in real time across channels. For the Walmarts of the world, such a notion may be fairly old hat. But Hooters' situation underscores the fact that well-known-but-smaller retailers are still honing their data chops.

"This is the framework in which we'll do all of our marketing," Hooters chief information officer Chris Duncan told Adweek. "By collecting the data on the [offers] down to the check level from our corporate and franchisee stores, the execution of it will be effective from start to finish."

The brand's young app has garnered more than 1,000 downloads without a paid push. And via Sparkfly's framework, Duncan and his team are able to extend offers to their mobile website.

"It's our first marketing platform to include full customer relationship management, while using syndicated data as well as our own data," Duncan explained. "The whole goal is to give our customers more of what they want more accurately."

Atlanta-based Hooters plans to advertise its mobile loyalty program once it rolls out to its 400-odd locations.

"They can now connect digital media to the cash register," added Catherine Tabor, Sparkfly CEO.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.