Ryan Wilkinson, Vice President of Marketing at Primanti Bros. Restaurant & Bar, spoke on a panel at FCES 2023 called "Embracing AI without Killing Your Budget.”
Primanti Bros. is always competing against larger brands with bigger budgets. That means as VP of Marketing, Wilkinson has to think creatively about how to breath through the noise and win customers. So Wilkinson says he uses AI to "see things that I can't normally see." This is especially relevant for lapsed customers. Some customers may come a couple of times a week, and then lapse out after a couple of days. Other customers only come quarterly, which makes it more difficult to whether they're lapsing out.
With Primanti Bros.' number of restaurants and flow of customers, Wilkinson says it's impossible for him to parse through all the visit data to understand when customers are falling out of their regular visit habits. Using AI, he is able to analyze and identify that behavior, understand order history, and then marry that lapsed customer with a relevant promotion to get them to come back. Their loyalty provider helps them put this in motion for the customers they already know.
Wilkinson uses Upside to help them with the "whole universe of people that exist outside of our loyalty program, which is a larger universe than the people that are inside of it." He continues:
"We can't spend an unnecessarily large amount of time just focused on the loyalty folks. We have to figure out: how are we going after and touching those folks who are outside the program? To that same end, with a tool like Upside, we're finding those customers, we're offering them the right offer from the bank of offers that we've set to drive them in, and utilizing that tool to figure out what is the minimally viable offer for us to give somebody that's going to bring them back."
As they drive toward their year-over-year comp goals, Primanti Bros. utilizes AI and their different technology partners to help them see what they can't see on the day-to-day.
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