Fostering Connection & Discovery for Guests and Employees
Experience is driving everything from customers’ loyalty and habits to employee satisfaction and effectiveness. The executive team behind honeygrow + minigrow, recognize this and are leveraging the latest innovations to foster seamlessness for both customers and employees.
honeygrow launched in 2012 and was one of the first fast casual concepts to utilize a touchscreen kiosk ordering system. The kiosks were launched as “part of the solution, not the solution,” to streamline ordering process, as CEO & Founder, Justin Rosenberg told HT in May of 2016.
Since then, the company has grown to 32 locations, comprised of 26 honeygrows and six minigrows, the new stir-fry sister concept launched in 2017. According to a company release, minigrow is “designed to occupy slightly smaller urban spaces,” and the menu is “more tightly curated and features an assembly line ordering.”
With the launch of minigrow, the brand had an opportunity to revisit its mobile app. On July 9, the company announced the new version that makes it easier for guests to click and order from either concept.
“Our first app was totally focused on honeygrow,” Jen Denis, chief brand officer explains. “A big feature of the new app is that builds awareness for both concepts and it connects both brands. This enables guests to build loyalty points and order from either location depending on which they’re closer to.”
The features of the new app offers many functionalities all intended to streamline the customer experience. These include: digital gift cards passbooks, the ability to add ApplePay or Google Wallet, location-finder, to make sure guests are placing orders at the right store, and native order ahead enables guests to place an order immediately with the click of a button. Another important component is an onboarding screen that helps customers migrate from the old app to the new one.
Loyalty is a vital component of the app and for this, honeygrow+minigrow partnered with Levelup, which also powers the company’s mobile and online ordering. The point-based program allows guests to earn points for various actions, including purchasing of course, but the flexible program allows honeygrow to award points in clever ways outside of ordering. A refer-a-friend feature allows both the referrer and the referee to share in a reward.
Honeygrow’s kiosks created a splash in the industry – in large part due to the dynamic and high-resolution images that populated the screen.
“The best tech gets out of the way and allows you to do things in a more pleasurable, efficient manner,” advises Keith Fitzgerald, vice president of technology. “The kiosks are not just a ‘for-show thing,’ they are the optimal way for customers to build their own dish and explore the menu. It’s not just about technology for the sake of technology – it’s about the customer experience.”
The app features a lot of the same visuals and the clean ordering process, something that the first app struggled with as some of the processes and visuals on the kiosks didn’t translate well to the initial app, so Denis explains it had to be reimagined for the second iteration.
To make sure this rollout went off smoothly, Fitzgerald focuses on phased rollouts to not only make sure the ordering process was truly seamless for guests but to also adequately prepare and train staff.
The employee experience is just as important to the honeygrow leadership. Recently the company built and launched a virtual reality orientation module to put staff – and potential staff members – “inside” a honeygrow even if they are not near a physical store. By donning a Google Daydream headset employees can get into the honeygrow environment before they are even physically in a store.
“The VR devices allow them to see how tech-forward we are and helps to infuse every employee with the importance of the store environment,” Denis says. “Even if it’s a purchasing manager or someone who may not be in the store regularly, we want them to have that familiarity.”
The VR training module also features a gamification component where staff sort products and place them on the appropriate shelves in the walk-in freezer. According to Denis, in addition to being more fun, this helps with information retention.
Utilizing technology to educate its team is yet another honeygrow allows technology to fulfill a higher purpose.
“It helps us make the experience more accurate and educational,” Denis says. “Not only is our team better educated, but the app and kiosks also provide us with ways to educate our guests.”
honeygrow+minigrow plan to expand upon its existing technology footprint to foster a consistent, immersive experience for guests while still focusing on the true core of hospitality.
“Many concepts are automating food prep,” Denis muses. “We pride ourselves on the fact that people make your food. We take the fine dining concept in spirit and soul and put that in a fast casual experience. We will use technology to make us more agile, efficient and create a better guest experience without sacrificing the quality that comes from a person making a dish.”