Foodservice and facilities giant Sodexo has launched what it claimed to be the first loyalty app in the contract catering industry.
The Reward Tree app, which acts as a virtual loyalty card, was developed to meet a growing appetite among customers for discounts, the company said.
Ben Forbes, marketing director for Sodexo UK & Ireland, said that understanding your customers is key to the success of any business.
"At Sodexo we have previously run a number of loyalty initiatives, but we recognised the need to adapt to newer technologies and changing consumer behaviour," he explained.
"Developing an app was an obvious step but we wanted to make sure it was what our customers wanted. We conducted research in a number of our sites representing different markets and interviewed 500 of our customers.
"This revealed that around 30% visited the restaurant at least once a day with a further 15% visiting more than once. This demonstrated to us there was sufficient demand, which was strengthened by over two thirds stating that a Smartphone loyalty scheme would indeed encourage them to use the restaurant more often."
Research by the Chief Marketing Officer Council showed that 96% of consumers are part of a loyalty scheme and with two out of three mobile phone users owning a smartphone the development of its own loyalty scheme into an app was a natural progression for Sodexo.
The app, developed in association with Stampfeet, will allows users to transfer stamps they have collected to friends as a gift, in a bid to encourage more consumers to download and use the app and ultimately drive sales. It will also provide Sodexo with consumer insight information and trends.