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Intuitive Interactive Tools Enable Guest Personalization

John LaPorte headshot
John Laporte, President, North America, Task

Please speak to the benefits of intuitive interactive tools for restaurant customer experience.

“Intuitive” assumes machine learning and “interactive” assumes some level of customization by the customer.

Personalized experience: This ultimate allows the customer to personalize the experience based on their own preferences creating something that resonate with them. It also continues to learn and get better so your brand can meet or exceed expectations of your customer driving high levels of customer satisfaction.

Brand evolution: The customer can own this and it now is embedded in their life somehow. As the customer iterates their experience, they will help you evolve your brand through these creative modifications.

Stickiness to your brand: Because the customer now has “Skin in the game” they will want to come back to not only purchase something but to potentially do more customization of the experience.

Internal time and resource efficiency – because customers are able to modify their own experience, it will save internal resources the time more traditional systems take to get this done. By watching this, it will also provide insights into how they use the brand, giving you a deeper understanding of your customer.

Our research shows that the point-of-sale has evolved to become a restaurant data center and management tool. How can restaurants best leverage the new POS?

Overview: The most advanced cloud POS systems are cloud-based transaction platforms that connect to applications using a robust API stack. They can dramatically reduce the complexity of the tech stack and reduce cost of ownership as well. Benefits include not only saving the time, money and resources used to keep the existing environment going but allowing accelerated “time to market” for all digital innovation initiatives. Control for various data management functions can be relegated to Franchisees so they can self-manage prices or product changes as they need to. Finally, the ability to configure one time, sell anywhere through any channel and truly understand every time the guest touches your brand can be realized.

Minimize or eliminate the data silos: New cloud POS systems can help to reduce and even eliminate the data silos created by various third-party digital applications. Ecommerce, Mobile, Loyalty and other applications can now be managed, and their data harvested centrally. It also centralizes reporting to one version of truth putting the entire company on the same page.

Maximize your workforce at HQ, simplify tech stack.

You no longer need to have a large IT staff managing multiple custom applications. New cloud POS platforms can handle in-store POS, Kiosks, KDS, tableside order/payments and ecommerce natively. No real need for add-on applications. 2 key benefits of a new cloud POS will be the ability to dramatically reduce the complexity in your tech stack and streamline your team.

Reduce time to market for digital initiatives: A tightly integrated cloud POS Platform with a robust API stack can respond to digital innovation initiatives quickly as ideation occurs and iterative changes are introduced into the field. This is because as a cloud transaction platform, the core of the POS system was born digital, and the code is modular. This allows for quick changes that are focused on the new feature being added, not impacting other areas of the system and streamlining the QA and GR process.

Self service for franchisees: You no longer need to have 2 week waiting periods for menu or price changes as you wait for franchisees to send you specific requests and have your internal teams make the changes. This takes time and resources away from the brand. Very simple to use franchisee portals that behave like a CMS can allow franchisees to manage pricing and menu item changes in their own locations directly. This effectively provides a self-service feature for them, freeing up HQ resources and give the franchisee control over most of their own POS changes.

Restaurants increasingly understand that loyalty is more than just giving things away. How can restaurant operators craft a loyalty program that makes guests feel truly empowered?

Loyalty had devolved into a one size fits all discounting program for many brands. This will never build true loyalty as history has shown that discounting attracts the least loyal of customers.

To create a truly loyal customer, you must understand how your guests perceive you.

You need to find the intersection of your guest’s needs/wants and your brand offerings.

Be authentic in your offering. Reflect who you are at your core (convenience, quality, customization)

Create a value proposition for them to join and stay in the program (participate in new product offerings, ability to have their own version of something you make, modify their digital journey to fit their lifestyle, etc.)

Personalize the experience: using machine learning and customer preferences, suggest items at certain times that they would like. Encourage them to use the brand in different channels that they may not have tried but that you know from their feedback would be a good fit.

Leverage your signature items or themes into your Loyalty offering. This will make the experience unique, memorable, and create stickiness for your brand.

Integration remains a consistent challenge for many restaurant operators. What are your recommendations?

The term “less is more” really applies generally here.  You want to minimize the number of these when you are looking at a future state POS. And this issue will not solve itself as it is tied directly to the architecture of the tech stack.

The best way to fix this is to minimize or eliminate the number of Integrations that exist today. Over the last several years, many companies have accomplished some level of digital transformation by adding Third-party digital applications to their current POS. This approach adds unneeded complexity to the tech stack. Each added application introduces an opportunity for errors or issues to enter your data and business processes. Some third-party companies will not document or notify when updates occur. This means that when you apply a patch of some kind, certain components of your dataflow will stop working properly.

Best approach to resolve:

• Think long term about your tech stack. Build a current state tech stack diagram and identify the weak integration points. Then build a future state diagram that optimizes the integration points.

• Pick your integration partners carefully.

• Long term, move to a POS Cloud Platform that utilizes a robust API stack.


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