Archive for the “Guest Engagement” Category

PX Think Beyond: Panera’s Blaine Hurst talks restaurant experience in a tech-forward future

Paytronix recently launched a recurring webinar series featuring some of the top trailblazers in the restaurant and convenience industries. PX Think Beyond is designed to highlight how top executives’ forward thinking transformed their respective brands and enabled them to thrive. The series is hosted by Arjun Sen, CEO of ZenMango and a former Fortune 500 executive.

Watch the first episode for an intimate conversation between Blaine Hurst, former president and CEO of Panera Bread, and Andrew Robbins, CEO of Paytronix Systems, on the future of restaurants.

In this talk, Hurst shares his vision for the future of restaurants, noting that experience and hospitality still comes first. For his part, Robbins looks to the future of omnichannel restaurant experiences, when guests will have the power to choose their own paths to engaging with brands — whether that be on- or off-premises dining — and expresses how important it is for brands to take those interactions to a new, personalized level.

Blaine opens the conversation with the idea that the best way to lead a brand is to create a culture of dissatisfaction where team members believe that the status quo is simply not good enough.  Instead, it’s important to believe that everything can be made better.

Andrew looks at the same thing from a slightly different but overlapping point of view and suggests that brands need to create a culture of paranoia around the guest experience. Think, Andrew suggests, about how to increase the lifetime value of each guest and, by extension, rapidly increase the brand’s value.

Blaine and Andrew’s top strategies for getting to know guests include:

  • Understanding their past behavior and where they are going to be in the future;
  • Being inquisitive, always asking questions, and never making assumptions;
  • Talking to as many people as possible and learning from every conversation;
  • Constantly questioning what is possible.

Each failure is an opportunity. Blaine talks about smart failure and dumb failure and the need to pursue everything, even if it does not turn out to be right. After all, you cannot bat at 100%. If an exploration is approaching a dead end, stop. Take the learning and move on.

Personalization is key. Understand why people act the way they do. Why do some guests prefer certain menu items? Why do some order online, while others continue to visit the store? Understand individual preferences for each member of a family – each is different. Personalization is so much more than using an algorithm to put guests in a group. Segments are important, but they should lead to better consumer experiences.

Predict the future. Try to imagine where guest experience is going next. How are lifestyles and work lives changing, and how should your brand operations evolve to meet these changes? How will tomorrow’s technology alter the dine-in landscape, or foster new virtual opportunities for engagement?  

Catch up on Episode 1 of PX Think Beyond for the full conversation with Blaine Hurst and Andrew Robbins as they share their secrets on how to think beyond and take a brand to the next level. Learn how to turn insights into action in a two- to three-year time frame to deliver big wins for your brand.

Sign up for a seat at the table as Paytronix continues Think Beyond to hear from more visionary leaders from top restaurant and convenience store brands about how to drive the industry forward in a challenging market. New episodes in the series will be available throughout 2021.

Checkers & Rally’s sees growth ahead with new loyalty program and mobile app

One of the great things about being in this industry is helping iconic brands grow and adjust to the market. Checkers & Rally’s offers our latest opportunity to be part of such a change. The brand has always been known for its great burgers and its drive-thru locations, but just this week announced that it closed $20 million in funding to fuel new growth. Now its new Paytronix-driven loyalty program and mobile app will be a key part of that strategy, as the company predicts the rewards program and app will help increase guest visits by as much as 20% and increase guest spend by as much as 15%.

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The 2021 restaurant and c-stores landscape… and the big party in our future

Like most of America, the restaurant and c-store industries will be happy to bid 2020 goodbye and hope for a fresh start in 2021. As we at Paytronix look toward the future, we see a brightening on the horizon, one that may even end in a large party.

But getting there is going to mean change, not only in how the industry thinks about guest engagement, but also in how restaurants themselves are constructed. We predict that as restaurant and c-store brands move beyond the pandemic, they will need to make significant investments in the technology infrastructure that enables them to focus on truly owning the guest. […]

The Hallmark of Modern Loyalty? AI to IA℠.

Today’s successful loyalty programs rely on personalization. As technology has expanded marketers’ capabilities through data collection, consumers now expect messages and rewards that match their own specific wants and needs.

This has elevated a new concept in loyalty: using artificial intelligence to drive individual action. Put more succinctly, it’s AI to IA℠.

Artificial intelligence enables marketers to identify patterns and idiosyncrasies among customers in a much faster, more efficient manner. A group of like-minded consumers that might have taken an entire marketing team months to identify can be spotted by a computer in a matter of minutes. Leveraged strategically, that can make a big impact in terms of incremental visits and revenue.

Here is a common example that at least one large brand used to drive astounding results: a 37% lift in visits and a 28% lift in spend from the targeted customers. […]