A handful of restaurants have signed up for ValuedPatron Marketing Services LLC's new Eat-A-Bite, Give-A-Bit smartphone application that helps patrons and businesses donate money to hunger relief efforts.
In the program, participating food manufacturers and VPMS pledge money to a pool of funds to be donated to local food banks affiliated with Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief charity.
A portion of those funds is released to the local Feeding America food bank every time a customer receives a digital "punch" at a participating restaurant. The size of the pool in each market determines how much each "punch" is worth to the food bank.
The concept replaces a traditional loyalty rewards program, and is based on a Cause Rewards Marketing technology and viral social media platform that utilizes mobile-based scanning technology.
Now in the second week of a 90-day kickoff, the program has already signed on 50 restaurants in three U.S. markets -- Denver/Boulder, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago.
ValuedPatron is partnering with Performance Foodservice, one of the nation's leading foodservice distributors, and Roma Food, the largest distributor of Italian and Italian-American food products, to introduce Eat-A-Bite, Give-A-Bit to its more than 100,000 U.S. restaurant customers.
Both are part of Performance Food Group, a leading food distributor based in Richmond, Va. Among the participating restaurants are Angelo's Pizza Parlors in Denver and Lafayette, Colo., Champp's in Minneapolis and Gonzo's Pizzeria in suburban Chicago.
"We're proud to have Performance Food Group's support of the Eat-A-Bite, Give-A-Bit program," said Keith Bluford, CEO of ValuedPatron. "Our technology gives PFG's restaurant customers a replacement for the outdated loyalty rewards punch card -- a totally new concept that enables a group of like-minded individuals to rally together for a single cause and gives restaurants a way to focus on valuing their customers."
Following the initial three-city launch, which is expected to engage more than 30,000 consumers, the Eat-A-Bite, Give-A-Bit program will be rolled out to new cities every month starting in June 2012. The program will eventually include restaurants in 95 cities throughout the country.
Leprino Foods is one of the initial funding partners.
See how the program works here.
Read more about mobile applications.