Chuck E. Cheese’s Uses Text Messaging to Grow Email List

Achieves Higher Open and Click Rates for Text-to-Join Subscribers

  • Subscribers who join the Chuck E-Club via text message account for 5% of daily sign up volume.
  • The open rate of text subscribers is typically 10-20% higher than that of all other subscribers.
  • Coupon clicks are 8-10% higher for subscribers that used texting as a sign up method.
  • Texting as a sign up method has proven to be more efficient and delivers better results for CEC.
  • Guests love the instant gratification they get from the text-to-join process.


How to Grow Email List in Store Locations

Chuck E. Cheese’s offers personalized coupons, birthday reminders, and other promotional offers through their Chuck E-Club email program. The majority of their Chuck E-Club membership base is acquired through website traffic, and over the past 4 years, they’ve built a database of over 3 million valid and active opt-in subscribers. What was missing? CEC Entertainment recognized an opportunity to further build their membership base if they had a better way to allow in-store guests to register for the Chuck E-Club email program.

According to Ryan Linders, Director of Sales and Marketing of CEC Entertainment, Inc., “We had issues with registering our guests in our stores. Originally, we tested a manual sign up system using register paper and relied on our operators to mail these forms to us. Once we received the forms, the data was manually typed into the system. This process sometimes created a lag time of 3-4 weeks between the time a guest signed up in one of our locations and receipt of the first email.”

Chuck E. Cheese's Uses Text Messaging to Grow Email List


An Immediate, Automated Registration Process

The manual registration process proved to be inefficient – from the illegibility of the handwritten forms to the time it took to mail the forms and enter customer data into the Chuck E-Club database. CEC needed a solution that would allow their welcome letter coupons to be sent to customers immediately upon registration, rather than weeks after they initially signed up for the Chuck E-Club email program. Welcome letter coupons are CEC’s most aggressive offer and the largest driver of coupon usage, so the delivery of these coupons in a timely manner is crucial to driving revenue in stores.


Instant Registration Through Text Messaging

Together with their email service provider BlueHornet, CEC partnered with mobile marketing solutions provider SmartReply to develop an automated sign up process via mobile text messaging that seamlessly added customers to the normal CEC double opt-in and welcome letter process and into the Chuck E-Club email program.

SmartReply’s mobile solution to opt in or out of communications enables customers to sign up for email communications wherever they may be – in this case, a Chuck E. Cheese’s location – by texting their email address to a number assigned to the company. Once the customer texts their email address, they receive a thank you text message in response, and an email is also delivered to begin the double opt-in and welcome letter process.

“Our top priority is to ensure simplicity of the in-store sign up process for our moms and dads with young kids, so it’s important to only collect their email addresses at first,” said Linders. “Once we collect email addresses, BlueHornet allows us to wait until after their visit to send a follow up email to collect more detailed profile information as part of their double opt-in process.”


Chuck E. Cheese’s Text-to-Join Process:

  1. Guest of CEC texts their email address to 35505
  2. Confirmation text message sent to Guest
  3. Email address passed to BlueHornet; verification of new subscriber sent to email address
  4. Guest opens verification message, clicks on link to opt in and is sent to age verification page
  5. Guest verifies age and is sent to subscriber preferences page
  6. Chuck E-Club welcome letter with coupon delivered


Promoting the Text-to-Join Program

By automating the Chuck E-Club registration process through text messaging, all CEC has to do now is encourage guests to text their email addresses to sign up for the email program. They accomplish this by communicating their call to action through register receipts, cups in the restaurants, commercials, and at trade shows, where attendees can experience the sign up process on the spot.

Why Text Messaging?

  • Text messaging is growing among CEC’s target demographic (mothers of children ages 2 – 11 years old).
  • Focus group and email survey data supported the transition.
  • The text-to-join process solves all issues caused by a manual form.

About Chuck E. Cheese’s

CEC Entertainment, Inc. is a nationally recognized leader in full-service family entertainment and dining for families with children ages 2 – 12. The company and its franchisees operate a system of 540 Chuck E. Cheese’s stores located throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. For more information, visit