The use of mobile devices, especially smartphones, has dramatically changed diners’ habits before, during, and after their meal. The sheer ubiquity of mobile technology has expanded the number of new opportunities for restaurant operators to effectively influence the engagement with, and behavior of, their customers.
BRP recently led an interactive session “Mobile-focused Omni-channel Strategies to Transform the Customer Experience,” at the 2017 Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (MURTEC). Utilizing real-time polls to interact with and receive feedback from the attendees, this interactive session offered the ability to accurately gauge the “state of the state” of mobile usage and maturity among the audience members to understand their engagement with their customers at all stages of the restaurant guest journey. BRP defines the restaurant journey into eight contiguous stages: 1. Select, 2. Plan, 3. Arrive, 4. Order, 5. Entertain, 6 Pay, 7 Feedback, and 8. Reward.
The impact of mobile devices on the restaurant guest experience cannot be ignored, and restaurant operators must now think mobile first. The consensus throughout our session was that mobile technology, properly applied at each of the eight stages of the restaurant customer journey, could have a material and profitable effect on restaurant operations. The other key takeaway is that offering guests and servers mobile capabilities is now an imperative and is not optional.
According to the session attendees, the vote was unanimous that understanding mobile-oriented engagement is a critical component of their go-forward restaurant operations strategy and requires careful planning across all business and operational workflows. Servers and customers need proper training on new mobile processes to avoid the well-publicized operational issues experienced by early adopters (e.g. Starbucks).