Texas-based restaurant chain Velvet Taco has added secret menu items to its loyalty app to offer nontraditional discounts while encouraging diners to order directly instead of using third-party services.
Launched last November, The Velvet Room loyalty program just added The Backdoor Secret Menu with six secret off-menu items, including tacos named Nashville Hot Chicken and the Hangover Burger.
Velvet Taco worked with technology provider Thanx to build a program that “improved our bottom line without relying on traditional discounts” and offers exclusive access to special offers, the chain’s director of marketing, Cassie Cooper, said in a news release.
While there are good reasons for restaurants to leverage loyalty discounts, there are a few drawbacks, according to Thanx vice president of marketing Emily Rugaber.
“Obviously, they can be quite expensive,” Rugaber tells Marketing Daily. “In addition, they can sort of create a dependency in the consumer’s mind where they may wait for that discount before coming back and making another purchase.”
Another potential pitfall is that “they can reflect negatively on the brand if having a lot of discounts isn’t really aligned with the brand story.”
The secret menu items are not available when diners order from Velvet Taco via third-party services—a move that yields more first-party data for the chain related to behaviors and spending habits, according to Rugaber.
The Velvet Room loyalty program has three tiers: Kick Ass—sign up for the program and link a credit card for free chips and red velvet cake; Bad Ass—spend $200 and get free tacos and access to The Backdoor Secret Menu; and Hard Ass—$400 in spending yields four mystery rewards each year and the chance to be one of five members to receive a paid trip to Dallas with a friend for a Velvet Taco tasting.
Velvet Taco’s Hangover Burger combines a burger patty and egg topped with chili mayo, pepper jack cheese and ranchero salsa on a flour tortilla.