Studio Movie Grill, the Texas-based chain best known for its in-theater dining offerings, is unveiling a different kind of loyalty program, one aimed at encouraging customers to get involved in charities.
Dubbed SMG Access, the rewards program works by donating a movie and a meal to a local non-profit program every time guests hit a certain number of points. People who enroll in the rewards program will also earn a $10 coupon when they see a certain number of films. Loyalty programs are standard in the industry — Regal has its Crown Club, AMC has Stubbs — but this one is unique. Unlike other offerings, Studio Movie Grill’s is more weighted towards giving back than offering up cheaper tickets or film memorabilia.
“I was never a big fan of discounting tickets or doing those kinds of programs, but this appealed to me,” said Brian Schultz, the company’s founder. “This lets us open up some hearts and minds and do some good. It allows us to amplify our impact in terms of giving back to the community.”
Studio Movie Grill, which boasts 314 screens in 30 locations around the country, has been testing the loyalty program in certain market in recent weeks. They’re working with several charities, including Camelot Therapeutic Horsemanship, which provides outdoor education to children with disabilities; Mighty Kids, a youth development program; and the Boys and Girls Club.
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Schultz started Studio Movie Grill more than two decades ago, but he said he’s always been interested in giving back to the community from his early days as a staffer on Capitol Hill.
“I started in politics with a deep drive to have a positive impact,” he said. “Things changed, but that stayed with me.”
The company has also lined up some studio partners, such as Sony Pictures, which donated 1,500 movies and meals timed to the release of “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” on July 13. It also will work with Lionsgate and is trying to line up additional distributors.
“It’s great to see a loyalty program that gives back to the community,” said Vinele Grana, vice president of worldwide exhibitor partnerships at Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement.