Outback Steakhouse updated its mobile app, adding new features to enhance the CX.
Gail Seanor, Outback Steakhouse’s VP of Digital Innovation, Commerce, who joined the brand in 2018, said the overhaul was designed to make the app “more logical and easier to use.”
Improving the Experience
The updated app includes features that improve the guests off-prem and on prem experience.
Guests can now manage their loyalty program rewards from the app. Online ordering has been improved to offer a better customer experience. Ordering too is more logical, with suggestive selling of commonly ordered side dishes.
Before arriving at the restaurant, guests can use the app to add their names to the waitlist for tables. And when they’re ready to leave, guests can use the mobile app to pay at the table (by entering a code from their receipt.)
Seanor is quick to say the app is a work in progress.
“For me those are the beginning. For me, those are basic concepts. There are still things we want to do to make it relevant to customers,” she said.
The brand is looking at adding curbside pickup to its app and additional payment options and a “more integrated wallet.”
“We are truly at the beginning,” she said. “We are making it about the customer experience…
“We compete with other apps on their phones, not just restaurant brands. Everyone has limited amount of space on their devices,” she said. “It’s a privilege to have an app on consumers’ phones,” she said.
Outback offers third-party delivery, and its parent company Bloomin’ Brand launched a virtual brand, Tender Shack, last year.
[Read: When it comes to food delivery, 75% of guests prefer to order directly from a restaurant, according to HT's tenth annual Customer Engagement Technology Study, Powering Hospitality's Recovery. ]
Third-party delivery orders are integrated into the POS. “We do use tablets as backup,” Seanor explains. “If anything goes wrong, we still have the order on the tablet and can enter it manually.”
During shutdown, Outback temporarily streamlined its menu. "As the world reopened, we added more items back to our menu.”
Outback partners with Olo for online ordering and Omnivore for third-party integration. When managing menus, updates are validated before going live. And the POS has to be updated as well.
Outback will continue to focus on experience improvement for its online ordering as well. And part of that equation is improving the experience for not only guests but also employees.
“I'm a believer that the focus should not be the technology; it's the experience, and the technology enables the experience,” said Seanor.
photos courtesy of Outback Steakhouse