With more than 770 restaurants, A&W Canada is a chain that understands what the guest expects: quality and service - fast. After all, when there are many alternatives in the market, a successful organization does not rest on its laurels, but continues to adapt and provide what consumer expects.
Keen on providing the highest possible level of satisfaction – with food, service, and the dining environment – A&W realized it needed a more sophisticated method of enabling employees and engaging with guests, whether they were dining in, taking-out or using the drive-thru. By capturing their insights, requests and comments about all aspects of their visit, changes could be effectively made.
“Ideally, the solution we were looking for would have to make the process of providing insight fast and simple for guests,” said Nancy Wuttunee, Senior Director Operating Excellence, A&W Canada. “We knew that guests would be unlikely to provide input if they couldn’t do so quickly and with minimal effort.”
The restaurant chain required the ability to monitor satisfaction levels in real time during visits. That way, if ratings were not overwhelmingly positive in a particular category, operational steps could be taken to get the ratings back to where they needed to be.
In addition, the solution had to provide a communications mechanism for collecting specific guest comments (my food is not hot enough, or my table has not been cleaned) and for workers to close the feedback loop on them immediately – preferably while the guest was still in the restaurant.
A&W explored several options, including commercially available survey systems. “We couldn’t use surveys because they did not provide the level of real-time, location-based operational sophistication we required,” Wuttunee explained. Nor did they meet the chain’s aggressive time-to-market requirements.
After a review process, the enterprise selected Loop Mobile Guest Engagement from Benbria Corporation. Wuttunee noted that the solution met all of these core requirements and in some key areas, actually exceeded them.
Order in Process
Deployment began in early 2013, with a current rollout to all restaurants currently ongoing. The plan is to have the solution installed nationwide by this spring.
What is Loop? It gives A&W’s guests the ability to quickly and easily rate satisfaction levels based on three key questions:
Was your meal delicious?
Were we fast and friendly?
Were the facilities clean?
It also gives guests two different methods for providing ratings, depending on the nature of their restaurant visit. In-store, take-out, and drive-thru guests can enter their ratings on a mobile web-based app. In-store guests also have the ability to enter their ratings on an iPad located at a kiosk in the restaurant.
“These kiosks are an optional component of the Loop solution that we decided to invest in to make sure our guests had more than one option for entering their ratings,” said Wuttunee. “Both options are fast and convenient – guests can provide input in three seconds or less. It’s that simple.”
Regardless of which option they use, guests indicate a positive rating in each category by selecting the “thumbs-up” icon, and a negative rating by selecting the “thumbs-down” icon.
The Customer Approval
More than 15% of guests are using the Loop system to provide their input, a rate that is 15 times higher than standard industry metrics
Beyond these basic ratings, Loop also gives A&W guests the option of commenting on specific aspects of their restaurant experience. For example, if a guest’s meal was not hot enough, or the table had not yet been cleared from the last guest, details can be provided to the store manager. On the other hand, if the guest was excited about a new meal offer or was delighted by friendly service, he or she could pass on this feedback as well.
In either case, Loop immediately relays comments to the restaurant manager, who is notified by text or email and can access the messages on a mobile device or computer and respond immediately – in effect closing the “Loop” with the guest to ensure their satisfaction.
The Chain Scores
Another feature of the Loop solution is its live electronic scoreboard, which gives restaurant staff real-time visibility into guest satisfaction metrics. Instead of results tallied offline for later analysis, Loop enables staff to watch the counts go up in each category instantaneously as guests enter their ratings. As they go about their responsibilities, the staff are always within sight of a monitor showing these results.
“Our experience to date shows that this kind of instant and actionable guest insight is instrumental in creating a deeper personal and emotional connection between staff and guests,” Wuttunee said.
The live scoreboard also motivates staff members, which gives them a huge advantage in terms of agility and responsiveness. If at any time staff members notice an uptick in negative ratings in one or more categories, then they can immediately investigate potential causes and take the appropriate corrective action.
In addition to its ability to collect, display and direct actionable guest experience data in real time, the solution also gives managers the ability to view guest ratings data aggregated over a specific time period, such as a shift, a day or a week. This at-a-glance “heat map” view has proven to be a critical tool for helping managers to identify specific periods when ratings were unusually high or unusually low. Our managers can use this data to help identify the causes behind these variations and devise strategies to replicate success and improve on weak results.
The early results from the deployment are extremely positive and are making a tangible contribution to our goals of growing market share and increasing our competitive advantage. “We expect this contribution to grow as we continue to deploy nationally across the rest of our locations,” Wuttunee said.
And on top of that, the Loop solution is helping the chain establish a deeper emotional and personal connection between staff and guests by facilitating more immediate guest input when they visit an A&W restaurant. In addition to positive ROI, that’s called a side of success.