Ramping up its marketing to college students, including offering students special savings through a new kind of rewards program in partnership with Edhance, Denny’s is successfully attracting thousands of new, younger customers. With the shift to targeting college students, Denny’s needed a new marketing approach. Offering price-conscious college students a break on the bill has been an effective way for Denny’s to draw students to its brand. Because developing an internal student discount program would have been time-consuming and costly, Denny’s looked to Edhance for a turnkey rewards program.
“Edhance is proving to be an easy, effective way to get thousands of new student customers into Denny’s locations,” says Barry Wells, responsible for university business development at Denny’s.
Edhance’s student rewards program allowed Denny’s to choose a test market and cash back reward that best suited their needs. In July 2010, Denny’s launched a test with 38 corporate owned locations, all offering 5% cash back to Edhance members. Edhance marketed Denny’s offer to all students within 25 miles of a participating location via web, email and social media. Additionally, all participating Denny’s locations capitalized on in-store marketing materials provided by Edhance to further reinforce the message.
In the initial 3 months of the offer, thousands of students from 116 universities visited the 38 participating Denny’s locations. Year over year data showed a 64% increase in Edhance member spending at these locations, according to Denny’s. The average check amount for Edhance members was at least 40% higher than Denny’s company-wide average, showing that offering a little extra savings goes a long way.
“Because of the strong initial results, we’ve been able to work with Denny’s corporate to introduce the program to franchisees,” says Carissa Daniels, Director of Merchant Development at Edhance. “They have been very receptive to our program because it’s easy to implement, has no upfront cost and includes marketing to thousands of students right near their locations.”