Marugame Udon Introduces Thanx’s Access Pass to Boost Customer Loyalty and Restaurant Revenue

Submitted Success Story

Marugame Udon effectively integrated Thanx's Access Pass in various ways, including the introduction of a Happy Hour promotion.

Marugame Udon, a Japanese brand with over 1,200 locations globally, has solidified its presence with thirteen locations across the U.S. Marugame Udon is known for its handcrafted Sanuki-style udon, open kitchen, cafeteria-style line, and freshly made tempura. They have 2 locations in Hawaii, 1 in Texas, and 10 locations across California. The brand is focusing on expanding across the Pacific and is slated to open an additional 4 restaurants by Q2 2024. Notably, Marugame Udon has achieved early success through its loyalty program, “Exclusive with Marugame.”

“While Marugame Udon is still growing in the industry, the brand has created a comprehensive and innovative tech stack, allowing for quick success during a time of transition to the U.S.,” says Kristin Yi, Director of Marketing for the brand who leads marketing in North America. The “Exclusive with Marugame” loyalty program offers unique perks, such as members-only discounts and promotions through the use of Thanx tools like Access Pass

Unlocking Exclusive Perks with Thanx’s Access Pass

Thanx, a leading loyalty and guest engagement program for restaurants, introduced Access Pass in 2022 as a non-discount reward to enhance customer engagement. This innovative feature enables restaurants to offer exclusive access and unique experiences, such as VIP events, “skip the waitlist” benefits, exclusive seating, members-only recipes, limited edition swag, and more. Access Pass facilitates the creation of personalized, non-discount rewards that engage guests by making them feel like they are part of an exclusive club.

Marugame Udon effectively integrated Thanx’s Access Pass in various ways, including the introduction of a Happy Hour promotion. The promotion, which consisted of two campaigns, provided a free Tempura or Calamansi-Ade with a purchase of $15, exclusively available to loyalty members who had received the Access Pass. Results from the two Marugame campaigns using the Access Pass revealed redemption rates between 6-10%.

Marugame Udon’s success with Thanx’s Access Pass Program reflects a broader trend among restaurant brands. This shift towards special access, exclusive rewards, and personalized experiences can help restaurants avoid broad-based discounts and instead, award their most valuable customers with experiences or digital assets to foster customer loyalty. “Omotenashi is the Japanese concept of selfless hospitality and is at the core of our brand’s relationship with our guests. When we embarked on this journey in the U.S., we needed a vendor-partnership team able to deliver on this service expectation while also keeping up with our rapid pace of expansion,” adds Yi.  

Many restaurant brands seek to drive traffic through engaging incentives that create moments of delight. Thanx’s Access Pass allows brands to customize rewards with on-brand imagery and consistency. This is where Dreambox, a preferred partner of Thanx, plays a pivotal role. Collaborating with Dreambox, Marugame Udon’s program design aligns seamlessly with the brand’s global messaging.

Dan Bejmuk, CEO of Dreambox, states, “As our team at Dreambox continues to collaborate with Thanx on effective customer campaigns, this launch with Marugame saw impressive results as we were able to work with the Thanx team supporting our common client to match proper messaging and segmentation to guest needs. Our client has a remarkable strategic plan for the brand. Our role is to bring it to life.”

Marugame Udon’s success with Thanx’s Access Pass Program, in collaboration with Dreambox, underscores the potential of innovative loyalty programs to significantly impact revenue through thoughtful, creative, and personalized marketing. By offering exclusive rewards and personalized experiences, brands can cultivate customer loyalty without falling into the discount dependency cycle, ultimately creating a mutually beneficial relationship for both the restaurant and its customers.

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