Membership Club Promises 2021 ‘Head Start’ for Cheshire Cat Group

Despite trading challenges facing the hospitality sector well into 2021, one independent pub group is looking forward to a ‘head start’ to the new year thanks to a popular new scheme created using gift card platform Toggle.

Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars launched its pay- ahead membership scheme for customers of the group’s six pubs, launched when they reopened after lockdown on 4th July and redeemable after 2nd January next year.The success of it speaks volumes for the fierce customer loyalty inspired by each pub, especially during lockdown.

Having hit upon the Pub Club idea, Mary McLaughlin and Tim Bird, founders of Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars turned to sector technology experts Airship, using their gift card platform Toggle to create the pay ahead membership cards, and add them to the pubs’ website. Bird says: “The three cards were set up quickly, and are easy for customers to purchase.There’s flexibility in the system so we can offer the ‘value added’ element again for a limited time, or extend the scheme with a Platinum level.”

Bird said: “We took the view that if there was customer demand for something that we had in stock, or could secure through our supply chain, then we’d sell it at the hub.At one point while garden centres were shut we were doing a roaring trade in flowers and customers!”

The pub also looked after key workers, delivering free packages of essentials to local care homes and thanking the refuse collectors with a six-pack of beers. Bird said: “Everything we did during lockdown was about keeping our pubs visible and relevant; they couldn’t be meeting points any more, but they could still support their communities in other ways. People have told me that we helped to create some good lock- down memories locally, and they appreciate the efforts we made.”

The Toggle platform allows hospitality businesses to quickly set up bespoke, branded gift cards.The service was made free to operators during lockdown, now charges are only applied after £1,000 worth of gift card sales. Users can be up and running in around 30 minutes, making gift cards available for customers to buy online and in-venue, send to recipients by email and post.

Hundreds of pubs, bars and restaurants are live on Toggle, including: JW Lees,Yummy Pubs, Boston Tea Party, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Côte,Turtle Bay, San Carlo, Bob Bob Ricard, Park Chinois, Revolución de Cuba, Hickory’s Smokehouse, Ego Restaurants & Rosa’s Thai Café.

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