Leading brands are using guest experience metrics to drive true growth.
Across the globe, businesses sit in different stages of their health, longevity and profitability. However, one irrefutable fact rings true for all – not a single one would exist without the customer.
Although last year’s operational success was a moving target, brands that remained grounded in their customer-centric mission are walking into 2021 with stronger teams and a clear strategy for building sustainable growth.
For restaurants, understanding consumer behavior and building back loyalty will remain a top priority, but navigating 2021’s unchartered territory will be incredibly challenging. Any leader making a major adjustment to their business right now is faced with:
- Managing evolving guest expectations, with price-conscious and value-driven purchases
- Keeping a close eye on margins as food costs rise, irregular staffing, and to-go/delivery revenue staggers
- Getting the entire organisation, from the CEO to front-line team member, on the same page when it comes to new company policies and priorities
In a candid roundtable discussion hosted by Yumpingo, Fleet Street Communications, and Propel, hospitality leaders from Azzurri Group, Nando’s, and Bistrot Pierre shared how they’re approaching the return to full in-store and off-prem operations. By leveraging real-time guest feedback, the panellists have been adjusting key areas of the business with confidence, knowing that every change is data-driven and measurable.
Nick White, the CEO of Bistrot Pierre; Vikram Badhwar, Global Head of Operations Technology of Nando’s Group; Joel Robinson, Digital & Technology Director at Azzurri Group; Gary Goodman, CEO & Founder of Yumpingo; and Mark Stretton, Managing Director of Fleet Street Communications.
Check out the webinar recording below or get in your inbox by filling out the form here.
Key takeaways from the roundtable discussion:
How the right tech will unlock today’s hospitality
A key characteristic of a successful business: agility.
For Nando’s, the guest experience is thoughtfully measured, with varying service styles and KPIs across the globe. From drive-thru to delivery to click-and-collect, customers have the opportunity to engage with the brand however they choose.
As convenience and quality become greater factors for consumers, the multi-unit chain has focused on ensuring the guest journey is as seamless as possible, especially when it comes to the digital ordering experience.
Vikram Badhwar, Nando’s Global Head of Operations Technology, shared how the speed of service is a new element that has driven their execution strategy since the rise of to-go and delivery demand.
“We’ve been focused on reducing as much friction for the guest by leveraging technology, and unifying the technology channels. How do we give a consistent experience across all of those digital touchpoints? As in-store dining reopens, how do we ensure we don’t lose the activity within the restaurant? With different service styles in multiple regions, how can tech streamline and enrich the process?”
Joel Robinson, Digital & Technology Director from The Azzurri Group shared the same sentiment, adding:
“what we’re seeing across multiple channels is a huge transformation in consumer behavior that’s been driven by the pandemic. Our delivery is about 5x the size it was 12 months ago.With digital interactions growing, how do we ensure the experience is consistent for the customer?”
- With an aggregated feed of online reviews, hospitality teams can address any positive or constructive feedback with a consistent brand voice, building a communications strategy on the back of that as they see trends arise
- Integrating POS, order & pay, and any loyalty solutions in a single platform will provide your team with end-to-end guest experience data, so they can quickly identify where execution standards are not being met from shift to store and adapt as needed
- Using digital experiences as an opportunity to build brand awareness and engagement will keep your guests connected to your brand during moments that would otherwise be unavailable or inaccessible to them.
If the last year has taught us anything, its reactiveness is not sustainable. Allowing yourself and your teams to make educated decisions critical to the business requires real-time visibility into how they’re performing against expectations.
How to know when you’re making the right decisions
With unwavering dedication, teams providing a unique food offering or a memorable experience tap into the voice of their guests to gauge whether or not they’re delivering on their brand promise.
Nick White, CEO at Bistrot Pierre shared
“A restaurant full of people, sharing food and drink and companionship is so powerful, and we’ve got to get back to that as fast as possible. However, we’ve learned that for now, keeping things simple makes for a better guest experience. Having a more targeted focus, and understanding what elements to simplify, has ultimately led to a better service and food experience. Our service scores have increased and customer feedback has moved in a positive direction.”
- Regardless of the economic climate, understanding where to gain greater efficiencies like introducing a simpler menu or reducing service steps will help you find out what’s good – and give you the ability to make it great.
- Guest feedback to dish or service style adjustments will determine whether or not you’re delivering up to their expectations.
- Make sure that however you capture the voice of the customer, the sentiment is shared throughout the business, from the server at the table up to the CEO, so teams understand their contribution and how to consistently improve.
Driving team engagement and performance
How do you empower your GMs or store managers to become change managers as much as anything else? You can run the shift, and operationally effective, but what will deliver a better experience for customers? People who put guests at the heart of their business and focus on retention, win.
“For our managers and staff, it can be rewarding to get real time feedback from the guests. We’re getting dish level feedback from Yumpingo, and now we have a whole host of insights we didn’t previously have. We do extensive research to understand where our brand sits within a given market, how consumers feel about us as a brand, and our real-time NPS score. To be able to drive changes in the restaurant this year, nearly real time will be our sweet spot.”
Recovery through the eyes of your guests: How innovations in experience management are driving business growth in a post-Covid landscape
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Nick added “I know our best people on the right day will give an outstanding experience but are we consistent? That’s the real question here – across venues, days, dishes. How do we take the guesswork out of all of that? Delivering the experience for people is going to be really important. Making sure teams are trained, food is the best, is going to be the very heart of where we go.”
Guests are typically willing to share feedback when satisfaction hits at extreme levels – a completely great experience and an exceptionally terrible one. But the majority in the middle, where satisfaction can be easily influenced with the right action, gets left on the floor.
- A consistent feedback loop will keep you on the pulse of how you’re performing throughout the entire guest journey, only if you have the right methods in place to capture guest sentiment along the way
- Taking an incremental approach to operational adjustments will be easier for your team to stay up to speed on any new developments, so regardless of shift or store, service execution will be consistent
- To keep it simple, as Nick recommends: plan, deliver, measure.
Driving improvement 2021
In a final wrap of the session, the panellists discussed what will separate a leading brand from the rest.
“The fundamentals of hospitality won’t change. We’re still focused on delivering brilliant experiences supported by great food and drink. The change is that our digital and tech capability is an increasingly critical enabler or disabler of those fundamentals – whether it’s the food and drink you serve or the environment. It’s exciting because that creates opportunities for us to be more customer-centric by taking advantage of those new channels and get new data and hear more from our customers. The challenge is creating the culture and ways of working that empower teams up and down the business to respond to that voice. For me, that’s what’s going to separate the best from the rest. What we can do with digital is infinite – but the harder question is what should we do. And we answer that with the voice of our customers.”
Guest experience management is often second in line to tracking sales growth when it comes to analysing a brand’s performance – if that. Currently, companies ‘keep the lights on’ by primarily engaging with guests in conventional ways, resulting in static or retroactive data.
Leverage the voice of your guests to drive performance, so when a customer invests their time with you, your investments in them pay for themselves. To hear the entire discussion, and how each hospitality leader plans on addressing these critical questions, watch the on-demand webinar.
Check out the webinar recording below.
Find out how Yumpingo can help your teams serve more happiness to every guest, across every shift, every single day. Click here to contact us.