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    COMPETITIVE WATCH: Pennsylvania Restaurant Offers Loyalty Card

    Kings Royal Rewards program offers money for use at the pumps.

    PITTSBURGH -- Kings Family Restaurants, home of hotcakes and burgers, has seen tremendous response to its loyalty card program that offers discounts on gasoline at Giant Eagle's GetGo convenience stores -- more than 200,000 customers signed up since the program launched in September.

    "That's the power of gasoline," Chris Whalen, Kings vice president of finance, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Early predictions were that 24,000 to 30,000 consumers would sign up in the first year.

    Sales at the 35-store restaurant chain jumped 7.5 percent in December and the focus on gas discounts assisted that, according to Whalen. Information obtained from the loyalty cards reveal that some customers are eating more than once a day at the chain.

    The program offers gift cards for money spent. For $50, customers can get a $5 gift card to spend at another retailer, including Giant Eagle's grocery stores or GetGo convenience stores.

    The program at the restaurant was a first for Giant Eagle, said company spokesman Dan Donovan. "We will continue to evaluate the success of the Kings promotion before deciding to pursue similar opportunities," he told the paper.

    The relationship allows Kings to get a discount on the GetGo gift cards that it buys in bulk. However, the restaurant's loyalty points are separate from Giant Eagle's loyalty program and GetGo pumps do not accept Kings' loyalty cards.

    Kings owner, Hartley King, is also the owner of Mon Valley Petroleum and Buy N Fly Mini Marts.

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