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iPad App Gives Shula's a Competitive Edge

Once in a great while a game-changing innovation comes along in the restaurant business that enables those who embrace it to gain a competitive edge. My father and I both began our careers in football then established ourselves in the restaurant business. The latest innovation we have introduced in our restaurants reflects our focus on excellence and execution.
At Shula’s, we pride ourselves on offering the best possible dining experience and, of course, the best steak money can buy. Our guests value the wide selection of wines we offer and choosing the right wine to complement their meal is an integral part of their dining experience. Shula’s has recently rolled out the Hospitality Pad across its locations in order to further enhance each visit. Developed by Hospitality Social, this iPad solution enables our guests to select wines easily in a variety of ways.
Food pairings: Guests can pick a menu item and see a list of suggested wines for the entrÉe they have chosen.
Flavor preferences: Guests can decide on a wine by its flavor profile such as a full bodied white wine or a sweet wine with a rich fruit flavor.
The 90 point club: Customers can restrict the wines they wish to browse to those with a point rating greater than 90.
Free-form search: This gives guests the maximum flexibility in searching for a particular wine they may know by some characteristic but not by name. For example, they can simply enter the word “cherry” to find all wines having a cherry flavor. 
Once a diner has found a particular wine, he or she can view its tasting notes and see a picture of its label. The most important aspect of this application is that it gives customers the confidence to spend money on a special bottle of wine by enabling them to make a much more informed decision. The Shula’s in Naples, Fla. has already enjoyed increased wine sales since the Hospitality Pad was introduced.
Bottom Line Benefits
Since moving wine lists to the iPad, changes are much easier and efficient. Lists can be easily updated so out of stock vintages are removed from the wine list immediately. New varieties can be added quickly and guests can be made aware of the latest offerings and rare finds. This can be done without any reprinting costs or delays. More importantly, customers are no longer disappointed by listed wines that are not available.
Shula’s has received positive feedback from diners that have used the application. The elegant form factor of the iPad combined with Hospitality Social’s intuitive interface has made it a big hit with customers. Handing customers an iPad with an interactive wine list creates excitement and distinguishes the dining experience we create from our competitors. 
Shula’s has found that the iPad application improves server interaction with patrons. It’s a conversation starter and enhances each server’s ability to educate clients. 
The Hospitality Pad also allows customers to see a cooked steak as they are discussing their menu choices with servers. Shula’s has enjoyed positive customer feedback on this application and it complements Shula’s premium branding.
Making the Connection
Another important aspect of this wine application is that customers can enter their email address to receive the detail of the wine they enjoyed while dining at Shula’s. Hospitality Social also enables guests to connect through Facebook. With most new business being generated from word of mouth, this feature will introduce Shula’s to a fresh clientele and increase customer loyalty. 
The Keys to Success
The dining experience is the key to success in this business and this application enhances it in ways that were never before possible. Three elements to success in the restaurant business are: keep customers coming back, increase average check size, and find ways to bring in new business. The new iPad application from Hospitality Social delivers on each of those. It has enabled Shula’s to engage with loyal customers, increased wine sales, and through the social media connection, introduced Shula’s to new customers. It’s an investment that will pay for itself several times over, and will continue to be a benefit well into the future.   

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