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Area stores will develop new customer-specific rewards plan

Last updated: August 08. 2014 12:01AM - 3984 Views
By - jsylvester@civitasmedia.com



Subway employee Nayan Patel makes a sub at the Subway in downtown Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. The chain of restaurants will be ending the rewards program with an eye toward introducing a more customer-specific bonus program.
Subway employee Nayan Patel makes a sub at the Subway in downtown Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. The chain of restaurants will be ending the rewards program with an eye toward introducing a more customer-specific bonus program.
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Area Subway customers no longer will receive points on their bonus cards, and they have until the end of next month to use or lose those points.


But that is because the chain’s franchise owners in Northeastern Pennsylvania plan to serve up a bonus program specific to each customer, Subway officials said Thursday.


“What has happened in the Wilkes-Barre market, along with the Lehigh Valley market, is the owners have voted to withdraw from the program,” said Brandon Zimmerman, a consultant with Subway Development of Eastern Pennsylvania based in Fogelsville. “It’s a market-by-market decision. Philadelphia is in the process of voting now.”


As of Aug. 1, Subway restaurants stopped awarding points on the bonus cards in the Wilkes-Barre market, an area that includes the Poconos and the Scranton area, as well as Hazleton and the Bloomsburg area, said Zimmerman. Customers have until Sept. 30 to use those points for deals on subs. After that, the card program is over.


In the Lehigh Valley market, the program ends Aug. 31, Zimmerman said.


But Subway customers in the two regional markets are not in the minority. Zimmerman said only 25 percent of Subways nationwide participate in the bonus card program.


“The plan is to come out with a new program,” the spokesman said. “It allows restaurants to customize and tailor it to specific customers.”


Subway officials are not certain when the company will develop the new rewards program.


Fulton Brown, Subway development agent for Eastern Pennsylvania and Zimmerman’s boss, said it was time to upgrade the 10-year-old card program.


“We were an early adopter of these cards,” Brown said. “It’s sort of like fixing a 10-year-old car.”


He said it was time to buy a “new car.”


“We can modify the existing program to get it to do what the customers want it to do, what we want it to do. We want to customize it to customers, so we can send them offers.”


Brown said the new plan would gear offers on deals for more than Subway products, such as gift cards.


“They’ll still earn points based on purchases to redeem for Subway or other products,” he said. “Beyond that, we are going to send them email offers that are attractive to them, based on what they buy.”


Before that, though, the area Subways will offer deals on 6-inch subs for $3. They normally range in price from $3.50 to $4.75.


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