How Fast Casual Restaurants Harness Data to Improve Customer Experience

Big Data is the IT buzz phrase of the past several years, and for good reason. Emerging technology allows us to corral petabytes of raw information for every imaginable purpose, from tracking baseball stats to connecting consumers with online products.

One way fast casual restaurants employ data is through advanced table tracking systems that provide not only a sort of GPS system for food runners but also the analytics needed to lower delivery times, schedule staff efficiently and even optimize seating configurations.

Fast casual restaurants are using table tracking systems that provide the analytics needed to lower delivery times, schedule staff efficiently and even optimize seating configurations.

Fast casual restaurants are using table tracking systems that provide the analytics needed to lower delivery times, schedule staff efficiently and even optimize seating configurations.

Restaurants that have used them, including as Jason’s Deli and other well-known brands, find that table location solutions with full data-harvesting capability become an indispensible part of their business. Food delivery times go down, and Customer Satisfaction Index scores go up accordingly.

Beyond that, they get information they never had before, to improve efficiency and drive revenue.

Hot Food Hot, Cold Food Cold

Let’s start with the advantage of a table tracker that is most apparent to customers: You can serve them faster, and the food reaches them fresher. No longer do food runners wander around looking for the plastic ticket that might be obscured by a condiment.

When Jason’s Deli switched to a table tracker system from the old plastic-ticket-in-the-holder system, its ticket times improved by a full minute right away, according to regional manager Michael Johnson.

The system is programmed with specific delivery target. The clock starts when an order is placed and a device is handed to the customer. Everyone, from counter to kitchen, can see the timer running. They also know exactly where the customer is sitting. The system gave Jason’s Deli the ability to prioritize orders, and runners found customers faster.

The table tracker, which uses compact RFID tags affixed beneath tables, also reduced noise and confusion in the dining room and allowed Jason’s to free up table space when it retired plastic ticket holders.

Beyond Fresher Food

Beyond the ability to deliver fresher food, such a system collects and stores information, which over time becomes the “Big Data” we hear so much about. This is information most restaurants never had before. For example:

  • Average service times, down to the second. This information begins to provide a benchmark for improving performance. A district manager or general manager can access the data from any tablet or PC to pinpoint problem times of day or staff members who aren’t performing up to snuff. Any number of reports can be created that show service times by hour, day, month or year. A large chain of sandwich shops that benchmarked service with a table tracking solution found performance improved by up to 39 percent in just one month.
  • Where people prefer to sit. Unless you pay someone to sit around charting seat preferences, you probably have no idea whether your current layout is optimized. But with a table tracking solution, you’ll know soon enough whether you need more two-tops or four-tops.
  • Data to help you schedule. You have some idea of the ebb and flow of business in your establishment. Not infrequently, however, you probably get caught short of staff or with too many people on the schedule. With service data analytics, you’ll see patterns that allow you have just the right number of food runners, for example, on an afternoon shift on the second Tuesday in July, or whenever. The beauty of Big Data is in its power to help you predict the future.

In summary, a fast casual restaurant table tracker is a lot more than a utility tool. It also empowers restaurant managers to make the customer experience better by collecting and analyzing data in ways never before possible. The result is greater efficiency and a better chance for repeat business.

 

Michelle Strong is chief marketing officer at LRS and an advocate for meaningful customer engagement.

Using-Data-to-Transform-Fast-Casual[2]

Share

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Latest Posts

Subscribe to updates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Privacy Policy