Rarely is a restaurant busy from noon till night. Whether slow periods occur after the lunchtime rush or during the late-night hours after dinner service has tapered off depends on the type of restaurant and the local market. Pirq is a tool that restaurants of all sizes can use to control customer traffic and get the right people in their establishments whenever they've got seats to fill.
How It Works
Smartphone users who download Pirq on their iPhones or Android devices can open up the free mobile application at any time to see a map of all the food and dining establishments in their general vicinity offering limited-time specials and deals. When a user arrives at a participating business, he or she simply opens the Pirq app and scans a special Microsoft Tag located at the business' front entrance or register. Once this tag has been scanned, the deal has been activated, and the customer can show the special offer to the server or cashier.
The 25- to 50-percent discounts that business owners offer through Pirq apply to the final bill—including both food and beverages—which is one way that Pirq differentiates itself from competing deal apps. Another way that Pirq separates itself is by adding on a charity component. Pirq donates 10 percent of every deal redeemed to charity, with the goal of providing 10,000 meals a month to people in need.
Pirq In Action
Food and dining establishments that sign up with Pirq can select which types of discounts they'd like to offer and which times of the day they'd like to offer them.
For example, a cafe that's busy during the morning rush but slow after lunchtime can offer a 10 percent discount to customers who come in between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., and a 40 percent discount to customers who visit between 2:00 p.m. and closing. These deals show up in front of thousands of smartphone users at the exact moments when they're ready to make purchasing decisions.
Since launching in June of 2011, Pirq has attracted an "affluent" base of smartphone users. Although the service is currently available only at food and dining establishments in the Seattle area, the company plans on expanding into other markets and industries as time goes on. In the immediate future, the company has plans to launch its service in San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Boston, Miami and Washington, DC.
Why It Works
Pirq aims to help businesses acquire new customers, promote loyalty and increase revenue during slow periods. The platform accomplishes its first goal by using location-based technology to put its clients' deals in front of thousands of smartphone users located near the business' themselves. Businesses can increase loyalty by offering the same deals and incentives each time their customers come in, as opposed to one-time discounts that can only be used by first-time patrons. Finally, Pirq gives restaurants a way to optimize their deals to attract attention during specific hours each day. Businesses can offer smaller discounts during periods when they're already busy, and larger discounts when they have the most tables to fill.
Maximizing the Benefits
To get the best use out of the program, business owners can't be afraid to adjust their discounts based on the times when they are most and least busy. To help guide small businesses in making these types of decisions, Pirq provides what it calls "SmartYield" technology. This technology can be used to recognize when restaurants are busy or slow, and make automatic adjustments to the deals being offered in real-time. Pirq clients who take advantage of SmartYield technology can expect to generate even more foot traffic, while decreasing the workload on busy managers who may not have time to manually adjust their deals throughout the day.
Read more "How It Works."
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.