Red Robin Eyes Tech Solutions to Capture Delivery Data
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. is embracing a variety of tech solutions that are designed to improve throughput, order accuracy and the customer experience.
The company posted its strongest comparable restaurant revenue result in five quarters, including a sequential improvement from the first quarter. “While there is still considerable work to do, our improving metrics, growing off-premise and catering channels, and traction in implementing technology solutions highlight what we have already accomplished in stabilizing the business and laying the foundation for long-term success,” said Pattye Moore, board chair and interim CEO, in a Q2 earnings call with analysts. A full Q219 earnings report is available here.
The full-service restaurant chain, known for its burgers, is testing last mile delivery, an arrangement that gives the company valuable customer data. “We're talking about contracting with a third-party, so that it is a seamless -- the customer goes to our website, they order from our website, they then get it delivered by one of the third parties, “ Moore clarified. “But we retain the customer data. We can get them in the Royalty program...Red Robin controls most of the process.”
On the tech front, about one-third of its 560 locations have servers using hand-held units to place orders. While it is still early days, COO Guy Constant said servers can be more attentive to the guests, because they “will be able to stay on the floor more as opposed to having to go back to the point-of-sale system to enter the order… When they have a handheld, they place the order as they get it, which helps pace the kitchen, which allows them to execute better as well.”
The restaurant has been implementing digital platforms and technology solutions to help improve the guest experience both in dine-in and off premise business. This includes implementing headsets and printers for labeling to-go orders. But its biggest initiative is most likely its POS integration. Red Robin is “replacing third party delivery provider tablets with direct integration into our POS system,” said Moore.
Off-premise ordering, which includes mobile ordering and catering, currently comprises 12.5% of Red Robin’s sales. “I don't think in a new prototype we'll be looking to reduce the amount of dine-in,” said Constant. “But we certainly would look for ways to improve our ability to execute on the off-premise business … As we think about a new building, we need to think about how we could handle an off-premise mix that might be considerably higher than what it is today.”
When it comes to its 8.5 million strong loyalty program, Moore said the company is “making great progress on moving to our new loyalty platform (that) gives us the ability to better target in segment offers.”
On the marketing front, Red Robin launched an omnichannel brand campaign in mid-July with TV, radio and increased focus on spending on digital marketing and social activation. “The campaign is already producing results,” said Moore. “As an example, year-to-date our social media content has been significantly outperforming our previous year with engagement improving across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”