If you’re ready to head into the restaurants but would rather go when it’s not-so-busy, you may be interested in this new cash back incentive. We recently learned about a new app called Lynq that was created to help the local restaurant industry continue their recovery from the pandemic. Focused as a rewards program for consumers, this new app (iOS and Android) offers appealing incentives for those interested in returning to indoor dining. As one of Toronto’s hardest hit industries, Lynq also aims to help restaurants transition from survival to revival.
As a Toronto start-up, the app offers participating bars and restaurants a chance to monetize slow business periods by rewarding customers who dine-in during these designated times with a cash back program. Offer periods can be seen in the Lynq app which are determined by the participating restaurants. So, that means, customers get a break while restaurants get increased traffic in their establishments particularly during off-peak hours.
The app was intentionally designed to create a seamless experience for both the restaurant and diner without any obligations or sign up fees. Since Lynq works securely with the credit card networks in the background there’s no coupons, no codes, no phones to scan, and no awkward conversations. Forget gift cards and points, Lynq allows diners to redeem rewards for cash via Interac e-Transfer and security is built right into the program. There’s no ability to charge any linked cards.
The app serves as a place where diners can sift through and see which restaurants are participating in the reward program. A quick search brought up FLOCK rotisserie, Dineen Coffee Co., Ascari Enoteca as well as Gare De L’Est as current restaurants.
Diners can easily sift through and see what restaurants are participating in the app at any time of the day. App users can easily SET FILTERS to show what rewards are offered Today or Now. They can also sort by distance and time of day. “That’s definitely one of the key functions of the app,” says Mark Jones, Founder of Lynq. “The app also enables diners to link their credit card in order to earn rewards, it allows diners to redeem their rewards, and they can also send some of their rewards to a friend via the app.”
The system works with Visa and Mastercard but how does the restaurant or Lynq know that a diner is an app user without the awkward discussion/flashing the app etc? Jones explains that diners are able to link their Visa or Mastercard credit card directly in the app. “This is what allows Visa and Mastercard to send us a notification that a transaction was made. It’s important to note that we do not hold any credit card details and are not able to charge the card. We only see transactions linked to a reward and no other transactions. We do not see any detail of a transaction, only the amount paid. We also do not sell or share data with any other company,” said Jones.
The restaurants decide what reward percentage they want to participate in. Currently there are three levels of rewards available:
Reward percentages are the same across all partner locations. Premium Rewards, which are designed to help restaurants with slower periods, are 10% cash back and restaurants are able to decide on the time of day and day of week to make them available.
Select Rewards are 5% cash back, and are designed to reward diners who are out for a special occasion and spend above the minimum amount determined by each location. Both reward types can be used independently or in combination by each location.
However, if a diner’s transaction does not qualify for either a Premium or Select Reward they will receive 1% cash back as long as they spend with their linked credit card.
Jones mentioned the company landed on this reward structure after a lot of research and believe it is economically beneficial for restaurants.
Is there opportunity in the future to link these offers for take-out and delivery during off-peak hours as well? “The intention of the program is to bring people together face-to-face and so we anticipate most transactions will be dine-in,” said Jones. “If a diner chooses to pick-up or take-out the meal, that will be their decision. Importantly the transaction needs to happen at the partner location and we do not layer on top of any pre-order or delivery services.”
As a new Toronto start-up he tells us more restaurants are coming soon to the roster! Stay tuned!