KFC franchisee pilots text-based customer engagement

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KBP Brands is reaching out to customers via their mobile devices.

KFC franchisee KBP Brands is testing the effectiveness of targeted mobile messaging in driving store traffic and sales.

KBP Brands is partnering with seamless mobile promotions provider Vibes to test an SMS and mobile wallet program at 162 participating KBP-owned Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in Texas, New York (Buffalo), New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

The quick-service fried chicken retailer can now instantly reach consumers through SMS and mobile wallet by sending targeted messages to local audiences based on price, demographic and regional competition. Individual restaurant locations participating in the pilot can also offer unique promotions to customers, such as rewarding them for repeat visits or for opting into the SMS program.

Customers who opt into the pilot program from their mobile device receive an instant text alert offer and new offers weekly. Leveraging the Vibes solution, KBP Brands can provide KFC customers real-time updates at specific places and times.

Examples include notifications of local store changes, such as hours of operation, as well as menu tests and limited-time-only deals designed to encourage customers to visit and repeat their business. The retailer can track all campaign results. A complete list of participating locations can be found here.

“The text messaging program fills a gap in our local marketing toolkits, serving as an efficient mechanism to deliver relevant and timely offers to individuals. A broad value at a national level can be a challenge, especially by geographic area. We wanted the ability to activate compelling messaging quickly based on our restaurants’ unique needs,” said Tonya Mangels, VP of marketing activation, KBP Brands. “The quick-service restaurant industry is highly competitive, and SMS marketing is a cost-effective tool that will help us both attract new customers and retain current customers.”

“We’re excited to help KBP Brands extend engagement with KFC customers in a personal, connected and authentic way,” said Alex Campbell, CIO and co-founder, Vibes “Mobile offers one of the fastest ways to connect directly with a customer, and it will allow KBP Brands to meet individuals wherever they are in the consumer journey.”

Pizza chain adopts text-based ordering

Quick service retailers are also turning to text to streamline the customer ordering process. For example, pizza chain Jet's Pizza is partnering with AI startup Ordr AI to enable customers to text a store using the same local phone number they would use to call in an order. The customer can text their entire order in one message, including indicating pickup or the delivery address. 

[Read more: Text-to-order takes flight at Jet’s Pizza]

The system then facilitates payment, processes the order, sends the order information into the store, and responds with confirmation and order timing. Customers can also save their credit card information and set a PIN to reuse that same card during future orders.  

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