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Executive Insight Q&A: A Strong Network Foundation Supports Customer Engagement

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Marybeth Pearce, QSR, Food & Beverage Technology Solutions Leader at Comcast Business

•Our research suggests that off-prem solutions are here to stay. How can a strong network-foundation further facilitate drive-thru, pickup, and delivery?

A strong network foundation is critical to accurately and efficiently manage the orders that are coming in from off-prem solutions. With the number of options customers have to engage and place orders continuously increasing, the amount of data passing through a restaurant’s network is growing exponentially. Having a solid network foundation built to scale with the business is key to support the ever-increasing amount of data. Additionally, with the number of transactions coming from outside the restaurant now outpacing the number of transactions coming from inside the restaurant for many brands, reliability is key to ensure those transactions are communicated   to the right points in the restaurant. 

What are some critical considerations for restaurant operators expanding opportunities for guests to use mobile devices to digitally engage with a brand?

There are a few key considerations for operators seeking to expand mobile ordering. First, it is critical that the online guest experience is the same as in-store in terms of ease of use, menu items, and customization options. Additionally, operators need to ensure the guest’s digital engagement is a seamless experience from start to finish. Easily accessing the mobile app for online ordering, reviewing the menu, and issuing payment means fast and reliable guest WiFi is key. Additionally, network reliability is important so digital orders placed are captured and processed. 

Once again, free Wi-Fi ranks at the top of guest expectations. How are solution providers responding to the demand?

Industry leading solution providers have focused on providing fully managed WiFi with high-speed Internet included to offer operators an end-to-end solution that meets guests’ demands without causing additional burden on the operators and restaurant managers. With full management and monitoring, solution providers can manage the health of the WiFi network to keep guests connected and operators focused on serving their customers. With Gig speeds now available nationwide on the Comcast network and relationships with multiple Industry leading equipment manufacturers, Comcast Business is focused on meeting the continued demand for free WiFi for guests while delivering value to our restaurant operators. 

Many restaurants are gathering guest data. How can data help boost personalization and loyalty?

With the number of avenues to capture data also increasing, brands should focus on the channels that will allow them to capture the most relevant data that allows them to drive a more personalized guest experience at every interaction, thus resulting in increased guest frequency or check size. Through the digital interactions, the data gathered can be used to drive customer specific promotions, menu suggestions and rewards. By understanding the unique guest’s buying preferences, such as how to order, when they order and what they order, brands can now target the unique buyer rather than the general demographic. Sending promotions during a guest’s favorite sporting event for “game day eats” or “Friday family dinner” for a guest who orders for his or her family will be more impactful than general promotions. Additionally, leveraging the buying history to drive loyalty programs that encourage return guests can earn repeat visits. 

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