SMS helps drive loyalty card redemption by 40% for long-standing food institution

Image for SMS helps drive loyalty card redemption by 40% for long-standing food institution
4 min read | November 26, 2021

American Doughnut Kitchen (ADK) has been making hot jam doughnuts since 1950. In that time, they have become a cultural institution and popular spot for tourists visiting Melbourne. They make their doughnuts out of their vintage van at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne so that customers can see the doughnuts being made in real-time.

ADK (American Doughnut Kitchen) Logo - QVM (Queen Vic Market)

We are a 70-year-old business, but we don’t necessarily behave like one. We’ve got to do what we need to do to innovate and try things. Try it, test it. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

Belinda Donaghey, Director and GM, ADK

Because of its longevity, the business has numerous generational customers who turn regular pilgrimages into family traditions. ADK is still owned by the same two families; one of them belonging to Belinda Donaghey, Director and General Manager of ADK. As a self-denoted futurist, Belinda always wants to ensure the business remains ahead of the game.

The challenge

With the mass acceleration of smartphones, social media and the web, Belinda saw a need for further digital acceleration. COVID, according to her, was a “catalyst” for making these changes. For example, they introduced a POS (point of sale) terminal allowing card transactions shortly before the pandemic hit Melbourne. Creating a seamless end-to-end experience digitally, with the same convenience and joy of buying doughnuts traditionally, was difficult but not impossible for Belinda and her team.

We’re rewarding our customers who have been with us for decades by giving them something they will absolutely love.

Belinda Donaghey, Director and GM, ADK

ADK added loyalty cards to their recipe for customer satisfaction and retention some time ago. Part of that rewards program is an end-of-the-month competition, where loyalty card members go into a randomised draw to win a gift card for 50 free doughnuts.

The solution

Initially, Belinda was using her personal phone to send winning SMS messages to customers manually. This was neither efficient nor easy. MessageMedia’s bulk business SMS messaging provided a much-needed solution to this.

MessageMedia’s platform is great for sending both bulk messages and more targeted individual messages. It has saved us time, and since the introduction of SMS, we have seen a 40% increase in loyalty card redemption from our customers.

Belinda Donaghey, Director and GM, ADK

Belinda experienced the power and impact of text messaging as a consumer by diving into how other businesses succeed. Belinda chose text messaging as she believes most emails go unread and that “SMS has a much higher read rate.” Most (90%) of text messages are opened within 90 seconds, and SMS has a response rate 8x that of email.

ADK has also seen a number of additional benefits since the implementation of text messaging:

  • Greater, more frequent contact with customers
  • Measurable data through click-throughs, orders and applications
  • Nurturing customers towards greater loyalty and more sales
  • Keeping customers up-to-date quickly

Use cases

ADK uses SMS across the business in the following ways:

An example SMS that ADK sent to promote their loyalty card

Promote offers or digital loyalty programmes:

To build out their customer lists and engage for retention.

An example SMS that ADK sent to promote doughnuts during the AFL grand final

Event promotions:

Big event days such as AFL Grand Final are quite significant for pre-orders.

An example SMS that ADK sent when they were hiring staff


Bring attention to new part-time or full-time positions available at the business.

An example SMS that ADK sent to advise of closure due to Covid-19

COVID alerts and store updates:

Effect of lockdowns, information about online ordering and pick-ups, store closures and the like.

The results

An infographic shwing the results for online ordering with SMS:

14% click-through.
8.8% ordered completed from click-through.
Online ordering with SMS
An infographic showing the results from using SMS for feedback:

11% click-through.
85% surveys completed from click-through.
SMS feedback surveys
An infographics showing the results when using SMS for recruitment and hiring:

5.4% click-through.
10.4% applications received from click-through.
Recruitment alert

It’s an amazing tool. It’s really, really helpful because it has given us a way to reach our customers that we did not previously have access to.

Belinda Donaghey, Director and GM, ADK

For ADK, the impact of SMS on the business has been significant. Throughout lockdown, it has been difficult for companies to adapt by moving online. With SMS, it’s been simple to set up and activate with results across the board.

The future

Belinda is aware that ADK is not using SMS and mobile customer engagement to its full capacity, so they see a lot more opportunity in extending their SMS use cases.

To take their customer engagement to the next level, ADK is looking to get more targeted and personalised by segmenting its customer base. They know their text messaging can double in effectiveness by being more specific about who they’re contacting, when, and with what. In SMS, they can see the potential to sustain customer relationships for another 70 years.

Ready to roll?

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