&pizza is giving new meaning to "loyalty program" by offering to permanently ink their best customers. The local pizza outlet from Steve Salis and Michael Lastoria launches a new rewards app for iPhone and Android today that allows guests to pay with their phones and earn prizes.
There are three spending levels for loyalty rewards, including "troublemaker" ($250) and "rebel" ($750). But those who spend $1,500—roughly the price of 150 pizzas including tax—reach the "Maverick" level, earning them a free tattoo from British Ink Tattoo on H Street NE. "Mavericks" also get an &pizza-branded bomber jacks, five free pizzas on their birthday, and a black and white photo shoot for up to two people.
"The whole goal around the loyalty program was trying to find a way to reward our guests in a way that we would actually want to be rewarded," says Lastoria. The tattoo idea grew out of &pizza's weekly branding meetings. "Half of the people in the room have tattoos, and the whole campaign is based on this idea of going from a troublemaker to a maverick. And we figured once you hit maverick status, what better way than paying for someone to get ink?"
Initially the idea was that "mavericks" would get the company's logo—an ampersand—tattooed. But they ultimately decided to open it up to any tattoo that you can get in one session. "If you happen to want the ampersand tattoo, we would love to see it," Lastoria says.
The owners emailed their employees—"tribe members," as they call them—if any of them would like to volunteer to get ampersand tattoos. Within 10 minutes, six people stepped up. The company has an open invitation for any staff member who wants the tattoo. The employees don't get anything else other than the price of the ink.
As for Salis and Lastoria, neither has a tattoo of their logo. Yet.
"We have a certain goal in mind that we both set in blood of when we were going to get ours," Lastoria says. He won't reveal what that goal is, but they haven't hit it yet. Still, he promises they do plan to get the ampersand tattoos eventually.
"When you create something, why wouldn't you want it on your body?"
Photo courtesy &pizza