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HT Talks Tech: How Daily Provisions is Ramping Up Guest Engagement

HT caught up with Ashley Bode, Senior Director of Growth Marketing, and Morgan Wiley, Senior Director of Digital Innovation, to get an update on how Union Square Hospitality Group's Daily Provisions brand is leaning into tech.
Daily Provisions App
Daily Provisions teamed up with Thanx to deliver sophisticated loyalty and digital experiences to its customers.
Daily Provisions App
Daily Provisions teamed up with Thanx to deliver sophisticated loyalty and digital experiences to its customers.
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HT caught up with Union Square Hospitality Group’s (USHG) Ashley Bode, Senior Director of Growth Marketing, and Morgan Wiley, Senior Director of Digital Innovation, to get an update on how the company is leaning into technology to drive guest engagement at its Daily Provisions brand.

USHG, founded by famed New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer, is known for its full-service dining options – Union Square Café, Tabla and Gramercy Tavern – to name a few. Daily Provisions, on the other hand, is a quick-service restaurant, a neighborhood kitchen, that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers local pick-up and delivery from its five New York City area locations.

Wiley and Bode work closely together on the intersection of marketing and technology.  “Anywhere there's a connection between technology and marketing, you will find the two of us usually are behind it somewhere," Bode explained.

Both Wiley and Bode joined the company in 2021, and “when we both started, the restaurant group was trying to get through the pandemic just like everyone else,” explained  Wiley. “We were functional in what we were able to offer” in terms of guest-facing technology, including online reservations and online ordering for Daily Provisions. “It was really more just a means to get food or hospitality to our guests.” Late in 2021, Wiley and Bode started thinking about how to really reward guests for their loyalty and began the evaluation process. 

Quick Takes on Loyalty

"In full-service restaurants, there's a greater opportunity for a personal connection because the experience is a little bit longer. We were seeing people at Daily Provisions coming in multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day, getting to know them, and we're like, ‘OK, there's something here. How do we cultivate this?’ But (at Daily Provisions) the interaction is much, much shorter. We don't get to know people's preferences in the same way,” Bode said.

USHG partnered with Thanx to deliver sophisticated loyalty and digital experiences for Daily Provisions.

When building brand loyalty at quick-service restaurants, technology can help enhance the speed of service and overall guest experience.

“There's this misconception that technology and online ordering and things like that are removing the personalization and the human connection in restaurants. I think it's the opposite,” said Wiley. “We can use technology to create experiences that feel more personal to our guests in the same way that we would if they had come into our restaurant with a reservation. We can send them emails that actually are relevant to them. We want to give them information, rewards and access that are really relevant to them and makes them feel cared for,” said Wiley. “It has been so rewarding to find technology partners like Thanx that let us do that in a way that kind of helps us increase hospitality versus reduce it.”

“A loyalty program that is more formalized is a really good opportunity to not only provide that ‘enlightened hospitality experience,’ (a catch phrase of USHG’s Founder Danny Meyer) but also get to know them and their preferences. We can talk to them to learn exactly what they want to hear about. And then provide it," Bode explained.

Smooth Integrations

Technology integration is a concern for restaurants of all sizes. According to HT’s 2024 POS Software Trend Survey, 85% of restaurants surveyed said integrations with other systems are driving POS purchasing decisions. 

At USHG, “our philosophy around building our tech ecosystem is that we want to use the best technology for each thing that we're trying to do, whether it's point of sale, online ordering, loyalty,  customer data platform, you name it,” Wiley said. “Rather than choosing one partner to do the entire thing, we want to be nimble. We want to be able to build an ecosystem that's best-in-class across the board.

“The challenge is … making sure that all the systems talk to each other; that was a really important evaluation criteria for us.”

Last summer, Daily Provisions fully implemented Toast. It uses Olo for online ordering and Ovation for guest feedback.  “We're really happy with those partners and wanted to figure out a way to bridge all of the data and the customer touch points with those existing systems, Thanx made it really easy to work with,” said Wiley.  “With both of those systems, integration was about as seamless as it possibly could be, and I don't say that lightly. Thanx has continued to serve as a point of connection for several of our partners... It's really nice to have all of those things work pretty seamlessly together.”

Now and Then

For the guest, the reward component is a bonus.  “We can offer secret menu items where we try out things before we put them fully on the menu,” explained Bode. “We can reward people for coming in, and encourage them to come back in. But for me … the most fun part is being able to play a little bit differently with our communications. Whether it's an automated email encouraging them to try a different daypart or introducing them to a new location, there’s just so many different ways we can communicate with people,” Bode explained.

The Cream of the Crop

Last year Daily Provisions reached out to its top customers who came in the most frequently and gave them a personalized reward via a personalized email that thanked them for being such loyal fans and guests. “The response that we got back from it was incredible,” said Bode.  “People just loved to be acknowledged. And through  Thanx, and our rewards program, we're able to acknowledge them and see them in a different way.”  

Measuring Success

USHG is tracking the growth of the Daily Provision program including guest frequency, average spend of loyalty members versus non members and much more. “We've also started setting goals for lifetime value for guests, which is something we haven't done before,” Bode said.

So far Daily Provisions is seeing “some really good progress” and  is meeting or exceeding its industry benchmarks. “which is exciting,” she added. 

Next year Daily Provisions plans to be “more aggressive” in promoting its first-party channels through social media and paid search. 

Bode and Wiley plan to continue to leverage the data they have available to improve the guest experience and to understand the drivers that encourage guests to complete their purchase versus abandoning their cart. 

“It’s important to note that we think the word loyalty is so important, but we also think it's so much more than loyalty. It's the entire end-to-end guest experience. Every point of interaction they have with us, whether it's placing an order in-store or placing an order online or receiving a marketing email from us, loyalty is an important part of it. But what we want to do is to create a really excellent experience from every single point in that journey. And we do that by owning that experience by having the data that can allow us to personalize it. Loyalty is very important, but it's bigger than that, I think,” said Wiley. 

About the Author


Anna Wolfe

Anna Wolfe is Hospitality Technology’s senior editor.  She has more than 15 years of experience as a B2B journalist writing about restaurants, retail and specialty food.

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