Skip to main content

RTN's Real-World Standards Use Case at MURTEC 2024

Fire & Vine Hospitality CEO Chad Mackay spoke with Five Guys CIO Zerrick Pearson on how he successfully used RTN’s customer data standards.
Zerrick Pearson, CIO, Five Guys and Fire & Vine Hospitality CEO Chad Mackay
Zerrick Pearson, CIO, Five Guys and Fire & Vine Hospitality CEO Chad Mackay
Advertisement - article continues below

During MURTEC 2024, RTN (Restaurant Technology Network) hosted a special case study on Fire & Vine Hospitality. Zerrick Pearson, CIO, Five Guys Enterprises (and a pillar in RTN) interviewed Fire & Vine Hospitality CEO Chad Mackay on how his brand used RTN’s customer data standards to alleviate complications related to collecting fragmented customer data, managing customer data, maintain data integrity and understanding their customer behavior.

What made you want to undertake this effort of standardization?

Mackay: We were looking to replace our loyalty system which was about 10 years old. We had 125k loyalty members and their data, 300k emails from our marketing team, data from our reservation system and our catering system, as well as data from some third-party marketing applications. When we began to pull together all this data, we had more than two million records. So, we wanted to clean that data up and build out API transactions to feed that information to our loyalty platform but also to our reservations system. To get all these vendors to talk to each other, we were trying to define what the customer records were, all the different elements, etc. I had just been on a call with RTN where they were talking about customer data standards, and I realized we should be using this standard for all our vendors. It was already built and well thought through, so it made sense to adopt it. 

How did you get your suppliers to agree to using the RTN standards?

Mackay: We were doing a pilot CDP platform and provided them with RTN’s customer data standards and asked if they would adopt them. They spent a few days looking at it and then came back to us and said: “Absolutely, yes.” So, they immediately recognized the value of using the standard. Then all the developers that were building APIs could have a single point of reference, a common language, to use, and they were all willing to go along with it.

Walk us through the creation process. 

Mackay: First, we identified all the interfaces and systems that needed to talk to each other, the frequency of updates, and how updates would flow through the CDP to update individual systems. Then the cleanup was done using the RTN customer data standards. Now, for the first time, I can see a customer and know how many times they’ve dined with us, at which locations, what their typical spend is, and if they do company events. Prior to this project, the data from reservations, events, personal spend, corporate spend, etc. was never incorporated into a single customer profile. Then, in conjunction with creating the CDP, marketing was able to use this data for emails, push messages, SMS and direct mail messaging. Additionally, if there is a change in customer information (phone number update, for example), it will filter through and update within all of our other systems where that data point is found. We’ve created an environment where everything is linked together.

What was it like getting all your senior executive members on board with this major change?

Mackay: My technology lead had the hardest job. He was herding all the cats and was the one basically pushing all these changes through. Of course, I was on board and believed very strongly in it. Loyalty too was on board. Marketing had a harder time with it, even though at the end of the day we knew it would create greater opportunities to slice and dice the data for marketing. They had just done things the same way for so long, it was a real culture shift and a challenge for them. Building a new website and mobile app has really stretched the team members, but it has created some incredible results. 

Closing thoughts?

Mackay: Restaurants are behind when it comes to standardization, but we have the opportunity to catch up using standards and open API frameworks and best practices from other industries. We don’t have to be original in those things. We can be original in our hospitality, how we present, what we do, but let’s not be original in our interfaces and API standards. Let’s adopt a model framework and reduce friction. 

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds