July 29, 2010 // Franchising.com // (Franklin, TN) - Tasti D-Lite, the great-tasting, healthier frozen treat chain with a cult following among health-conscious consumers as well as celebrities, has been recognized for their TastiRewards customer loyalty program. The Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) RetailNow Innovative Solutions Awards selected Tasti D-Lite as the winner in the credit/gift/loyalty category and gave it the best-of-the-best award among all category winners. Tasti D-Lite also received the QSR Applied Technology Award in the consumer convenience category, which was published in the July issue of QSR Magazine.
In addition to rewarding members for their purchases, the TastiRewards program, which began rolling out nation-wide in the fall of 2009, allows members to earn points toward free Tasti for spreading the word on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. It is the first "social-friendly" point-of-sale (POS) integrated customer loyalty application. Tasti D-Lite locations use pcAmerica's Restaurant Pro Express software with loyalty processing handled by Mercury Payment Systems.
"The TastiRewards program allows us to acknowledge and reward our customers for their brand loyalty and for spreading the word about Tasti D-Lite with their friends and followers within the most popular social networking communities," said BJ Emerson, social technology officer for Tasti D-Lite. "One interesting insight we've learned is that TastiRewards members are spending considerably more per transaction than customers not belonging to our loyalty program. We believe this reinforces the power and value of our loyalty program in helping us engage and strengthen our relationship with our customers." Emerson added that one out of five customers registered on the loyalty website are enabling social connections to share their Tasti experience with an average of close to 100 friends and followers.
POS vendor pcAmerica, accepted the awards for the TastiRewards program at the Innovative Solutions Awards July 25 in Las Vegas. TastiRewards received QSR's consumer convenience award for programs intended to increase customer convenience or service, both in-store and in the public domain.
Since its inception in 1987, Tasti D-Lite's popularity has grown largely by word of mouth and has resulted in a huge base of raving fans who line up day and night to get their favorite guilt-free treat, available in more than 100 flavors. With Tasti D-Lite, health-conscious individuals can enjoy a dessert that is lower in calories, carbs and sugar than ice cream and leading frozen yogurt brands. Thanks to unsolicited international exposure on TV shows such as "30 Rock," "Sex and the City" and "The Apprentice" along with new store openings, demand for the brand has grown worldwide. Tasti D-Lite is now poised for growth throughout the U.S. and around the world with plans to build a global 500-center franchise network through a combination of single- and multi-unit franchises, area developers and international master franchises.
"TastiRewards, Tasti flavor alerts, Foursquare specials, loyalty cards, gift cards—all of these have been integrated into a very easy-to-use format that work together to help us build customer loyalty at our center," said Joe Bullock, general manager for Tasti D-Lite's middle Tennessee area developer and operator of their Nashville location.
Tasti D-Lite first launched its franchise program in 2008. Since then, the company has grown to 50 locations and has secured commitments to open over 300 locations in the coming years. During the past year, Tasti D-Lite has opened new stores in Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and expects additional expansion into Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina and Maryland by the end of 2010. Internationally, the company already has a presence in South Korea and has opened its first two locations in Mexico this year, with more units planned in the coming months. The brand's international expansion will continue in 2010 with plans to open multiple locations in the United Arab Emirates, the first slated to open this summer. Led by a world-class operating team, the company is undertaking a program of product innovation, customer engagement and service excellence.