To continue being a destination for craft beer on draft, the Taco Mac chain of restaurants based out of Atlanta prides themselves on carrying more than 100 beers on draft at their locations. That commitment won them the 2016 VIBE Vista Award for Best Chain Restaurant Beer Program.
Taco Mac drives loyalty (which drives sales and guest counts) and increases participation in their Brewniveristy membership through the strategic use of their “Educate America on Craft Beer” program. Adopted in 2015, the program makes use of beer flights as an undeniably successful way to introduce guests to the diverse world of craft beer.
The Brewniversity program allows guests to choose a flight of 4 beers. The guest then receives four 5-ounce pours which encourages experimentation and ultimately leads to the purchase of a full-sized beer. This beer loyalty program rewards guests by giving them the chance to earn credits for each unique beer purchased. At 13 credits, guests become “Pledges” and receive a pledge t-shirt. Other rewards are offered throughout the program, depending on the number of credits achieved. The program incentivizes participants to return to Taco Mac and encourages new Brewniversity members to join. Once 125 credits are earned, a member achieves their “Bachelor’s degree” and when they visit they receive any 16-ounce draft beer in a special Brewniversity mug, a status symbol only available to Brewniversity members at the 125-point-plus level.
For those who hit 1,000 credits, the title of “Chancellor” is bestowed upon them and they receive a special silver chancellor card. This past year Taco Mac introduced a Double and Platinum Chancellor reward level. Double Chancellors (2,000-plus credits) are rewarded with a special Black Metal Double Chancellor Card modeled on the American Express Black Card. Platinum Chancellors (3,000-plus credits) are given a platinum metal Chancellor Card.
Brewniversity members receive emails about upcoming promotions and new credits at least once per month, sometimes inviting them to special local beverage events where Brewniversity members get first access to reserved seating.
To kick off their 25th anniversary, Taco Mac held an internal incentive contest for restaurants to drive Brewniversity sign ups. The winners were rewarded with a special beer-themed trip to Milwaukee. The drive was a huge success, as more than 30,000 members were signed up in under 3 months. In addition, Taco Mac launched 4 beer cocktails, a brand new venture for the chain.
Whenever new flights are launched, Brewniversity App users receive notifications, and all Brewniversity members on the email list receive the same announcements. Patent-pending, custom-made flight carriers allow staff members to deliver flights with minimal to no spillage, and educational flight mats are delivered to tables. Two themed flights are introduced each quarter, based on a particular style or region of beer, and every month a “Beer of the Month” flight of the 4 featured beers are offered to members. Periodically, Taco Mac adds a seasonal LTO flight, such as an Oktoberfest flight, to stay relevant to beer-related holidays and seasons, and to educate guests on that featured style of beer and time of year.