A Customer Loyalty Success Story – Bitter + Sweet

Bitter+Sweet Fivestars

As part of a regular series here at the Fivestars blog, we’ll take a look at some of our clients who have achieved success with our one-stop loyalty reward program.

We’ve seen proven results for some time – now, we’d like to share them with you to give you a better idea of how implementing our program can help you acquire, grow, and retain your customer base and ultimately, improve your business.

Customer Profile

Name: Bitter + Sweet
Business Type: Coffee Shop
Location: Cupertino, California
Member Since: September 2011

Background: A love for unique coffee and desserts

Founded in July of 2011 by former banker Janice Chua, Bitter + Sweet is one of the more unique coffee shops and dessert bars in the southern California Bay Area. Featuring a sleek design with an emphasis on modernity, Bitter + Sweet manages to expertly draw the line between crisp, clean architectural lines and yet still feel homey with luxurious curtains, colorful tile backsplashes, friendly baristas, and more. They feature a wide variety of roasted coffee beans, several different espresso drinks, an assortment of lavish pastries and cakes, as well as a delectable Panini sandwiches and lunch fare.

Perhaps the only thing missing from Chua’s labor of love was a loyalty reward program that matched the thought and care present in every other aspect of Bitter + Sweet. Initially, they employed a standard, “Buy 10 Get One Free” paper punch card that didn’t offer up much in the way of compelling rewards or customer excitement. Plus, customers frequently misplaced or forgot their punch card and missed out on making progress toward that free cup of coffee.

Goals: Encourage repeat customers

When we first started our discussions with Janice and the Bitter + Sweet team, their goals were clear. Chief among them were: to provide a loyalty reward program that appealed the young and tech-savvy consumers of Cupertino (in the heart of the famed Silicon Valley); to better connect with these customers by understanding who they are, what they liked to purchase, and when and how often they visited the store; and to identify their best, most loyal customers and target their marketing specifically to these repeat buyers.

Solution: Offer incentives and use Fivestars tools to get to know customers

After acquiring Fivestars’ turnkey loyalty program in September of 2011, Bitter + Sweet opted to follow a points model, where 10 points on a customer’s Fivestars card unlocked free coffee. Chua and her team of baristas also made it a priority to always enter the customer’s name when each order was take to make sure that her staff would come to learn the names and faces of their customers to give everyone the feeling that they were a regular. And that’s all they had to do – the beauty of our program is it can and will be custom fit to your business and your goals.


Results: An additional 2,000+ visits and positive feedback from customers

Almost immediately after implementing the Fivestars system, Chua noticed significant increases in customer visits and has received a high amount of extremely positive feedback from customers who not only love getting free rewards and feeling like a regular who is on a first-name basis, but who also love not having to worry about keeping track of Bitter + Sweet’s old, cardboard punch cards any longer (if a guest forgets their Fivestars card, all they have to do is provide their phone number to earn their points).

The coffee shop and restaurant has to-date seen 3,410 members enroll in the Fivestars program with 449 becoming VIP Members after 10 or more visits. The program has received 1,818 customer referrals and has allowed Chua to track the specific habits of over $160,000 from her customers, which in turn has allowed her team to better market to her biggest spending clients. Bitter + Sweet has also seen a 13.5% increase in customer visits per month (2.08 before Fivestars and 2.36 after), and as seen an additional 2,000+ visits across the board to-date.

“FIveStars has driven customers back and increased their interest in my business,” said Chua. “The interactions with my customers are much more enjoyable. I would definitely recommend Fivestars for all businesses.”


Jerry Whitehead
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Jerry Whitehead

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