Applebee's Brings Digital Design In-House
In an exclusive interview with Hospitality Technology, Scott Gladstone, VP, Applebee’s Strategy, Development at Applebee’s, shares the insights into the restaurant's recent overhaul of its mobile app.
HT: How was the mobile app / online ordering platform redesigned?
A: In order to give our brand more control over the user experience, we made the decision to take over the front-end web design from a third-party partner and bring that capability largely in-house. This change allows us to be faster to market and more responsive to our guests and our franchisees. The redesigned mobile app and online ordering platform, released in December, provides for a faster, more accurate and more satisfying Applebee’s To Go experience. Guests can customize their order at their own pace, giving them a sense of additional control. It’s all about making it easy to access our great-tasting food and provide an exceptional dining experience.
HT: What enhancements were made to this tech to make it more accurate?
A: We conducted extensive guest research to understand key purchasing criteria and satisfaction with Applebee’s relative to our competition. Specific to the website and app, we introduced a new order flow to reduce known friction points, enhanced the merchandising of menu items (via new photos, descriptions and placements) and resolved inefficiencies in how orders were transmitted to the restaurants.
HT: Why did Applebee's feel the need to make these adjustments?
A: Off-premise is a critical growth driver in the casual dining industry and for the Applebee’s brand. We see the channel as highly incremental to our traditional dine-in business and are investing, particularly in technology, to gain outsized share. Our technology innovations, are intended to create a more seamless experience, to allow guests to enjoy dining with us whenever, wherever and however they choose. To meet these demands, Applebee’s continues to invest in technology and growth platforms, and looks to offer improved experiences.
HT: How much of Applebee's business comes directly from online ordering/takeout?
A: Currently, about 9% of sales comes from off-premise dining and we anticipate continued growth.