Restaurant Gamification: Cataboom’s CEO Todd McGee Talks Next Steps

restaurant gamification

Todd McGee is the CEO of Cataboom, a behavioral marketing engagement platform embracing gamification as the future of loyalty and reward programs. Cataboom’s platform automates the process of creating digitally based games and content to reward loyal customers for purchasing a product or sharing something on social media with exclusive content and access to special deals or items.

restaurant gamification Todd McGee CEO Cataboom
Todd McGee, CEO, Cataboom

Todd’s company is changing the way we think about loyalty programs and how companies can engage their customers. They’re currently working with both regional and national restaurants and food brands to create loyalty programs and campaigns. We spoke with Todd about gamification technology, how loyalty programs are evolving and how companies can best target their desired audience.

What is Cataboom’s business model based on?

We say it is loosely based on Pavlov’s theory of behavioral conditioning, the idea that we can consistently and instantly reward a behavior to change that behavior. Gamification is a way to enhance that reward so consumers get a rush of dopamine and excitement from a game. It could be as simple as a scratch off game.

How do you deliver content to consumers?

It is all digitally based. It is all in HTML5 so it can be delivered across any platform whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, text or e-mail.

Can you detail some of the games or mechanisms you have made for clients?

I mentioned it could be a simple scratch off game, or casino oriented games where you can be an instant winner. We also have games where if you reach a certain score, you unlock video clips or other content. We just did a “Game of Scones” spoof to celebrate the season finale of Game of Thrones where you have to throw scones at dragons to win.

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How do you promote clients’ products at the same time as rewarding customers?

The product placement is actually in the game. So you are interacting with the company and also getting to know their products. For instance, if you are a pizza restaurant, we can create a game where you throw pizza boxes at specific pizzas or sides offered by that restaurant.

What sort of content are you offering to loyal customers or customers who complete your game mechanisms?

Loyalty programs are moving away from points or coupons. Instead we are offering unique content or access and privilege to special deals. For example, if it is a food client, we could have somebody famous teach you how to do a recipe. We tailor it specifically to each client. Our gamification technology protects that content which makes it exclusive. That content has more value than a coupon or discount.

Are old-school loyalty programs going to die out?

I think what is happening is similar to print media or paper. Paper did not go away. It is the same with loyalty programs. What we are doing is extending and adapting these programs rather than replacing them. The audience has changed and how they interact with the brands they love has changed, so the loyalty programs should change with them.

How has the audience changed?

The millennial generation is almost forty now. They are the buyers of goods and services. It is a huge market and they are looking for more instant gratification than delayed.

Also, twenty years ago the only way to communicate with somebody was a phone. Today I may like Twitter, another person uses Facebook and yet another likes to text. We have the ability to communicate with and form a relationship with that person and their favorite brand. Our gamification technology works across all platforms because we want the consumer to interact with the brand the way they want to. It creates a one to one relationship between company and consumer.

Can you target certain consumers with your technology?

Actually we get great data we can share with our client. For example, with food companies when you buy something at the counter we’ll instantly reward you digitally. That consumer has to put in their email address before they play. That means we can collect information. Not too much information so that we scare people off, but we have an e-mail address and we can target certain consumers based on that.

Learn more about Cataboom at their website.