Udi's, which operates a group of cafes and pizza establishments in the Denver area, just launched a customized mobile payments program with the goal of obtaining the data that is normally invisible to it when patrons pay with credit and debit cards.

"If you're going to do anything in this day and age, it has to be mobile," says Angie Hoagland, the marketing director for Udi's Cafés and Restaurants. "With plastic cards and paper statements, you really don't know anything."

The Mocapay-powered app will enable Udi's to issue loyalty and reward benefits to its customers, based in part on how consumers make payments at the restaurants. "The more I now about someone, the more I can target to them," Hoagland says.

Consumers are awarded points for enrolling with the mobile payment program at the Udi's point of sale. They receive additional points for purchases tied to the rewards program—each $100 spent can result in a $10 credit, for example. The app records the time of day, types of purchases or location. 

"The merchant can adjust settings and can push messages out on the app. They can notify consumers about different offers and specials," says Doug Dwyre, CEO of Mocapay

For Udi's that information can include how many times people came into its stores, and other details that provide a view into consumer tendencies.

"We have a lot of customers that are gluten-free vegans or vegetarians," Hoagland says. The restaurant can glean that information based on ordering habits, she says.

"If people tend toward certain types of dishes , we won't send them an offer for a roast beef sandwich, but something that fits better with that pattern," she says. "We also know if people come in a lot at certain locations or during certain [times], which allows us to target marketing at increasing visits during [an]other part of the day."

Udi's collects phone numbers and birthdays as part of the mobile registration, allowing the restaurant to personalize coupon offers and track the performance of those offers.

Later this year, Udi's plans to deploy Refer-A-Friend, a Mocapay program that encourages viral marketing. Refer-A-Friend provides mobile coupons and gift cards to consumers that refer their peers.

Other payment companies are also tying mobile payments transaction data to marketing programs. Punchey distributes mobile card readers that plug into smartphones and tablets. Merchants use a dashboard to track payments and customer reviews, and use that information to guide marketing.

And Corduro is using location-based data to help restaurants increase volume during slow periods.

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