Restaurateurs have historically devoted our time and energy on the endless details required to deliver great food and outstanding service that result in an exceptional guest experience. To the outsider, operating a restaurant may appear simple. However, to those of us fortunate enough to be involved in the industry, we understand that simple definitely does not mean easy.
The day to day challenges of operating a restaurant, growing revenue, and keeping our customers and employees happy has proved challenging enough. Just as we’d mastered creating exceptional dining experiences for our customers, consumer behaviour threw us a curveball; the digital experience.
Smart phones, tablets, eReaders, and laptops have afforded us the ability to connect in real time to dozens of friends and business associates at once without ever leaving the comfort of our couch. Consequently the old traditional methods of interacting with customers through our bricks and mortar restaurants, newspaper and radio advertising seems outdated and out of touch.
The customer experience with our brands is no longer delineated or restricted by the physical space or products. A customer’s assessment of our brands is not limited to restaurant ambiance, food quality, or server interaction. The customer’s interaction with our brands and the start of the purchase decision identified by Google as the “Zero Moment of Truth,” begins in the digital world; when our potential customer is nowhere near the front door of our restaurants.
As customers become increasingly connected to the Internet through their various devices, we are presented with limitless opportunities to directly communicate and engage with our guests in their home or on the road. In this way we can create ongoing relationships and continue their guest experience far from our physical location.
At RAMMP Hospitality Brands Inc., we live by our corporate value of continuous improvement and have embraced the digital world. Digital technology is now a key building block to grow and maintain long-term franchisee profitability. If the digital world is important to our guests, than it is important to our franchisees long-term success.
The secret to understanding the digital experience is understanding that our customer (and yours) does not care how they interact with our brands; to a customer the guest experience is a collection of multiple points of contact across multiple mediums which include but is not limited to the physical space, mobile, web, social, email, print and telephone. Digital consultants Chasm.co refer to this as the Unified Digital Experience (“UDE”).
At RAMMP we are adopting the overarching philosophy of the UDE to guide our decision-making and the investment of our resources towards a customer experience that is consistent, interconnected, and seamless regardless of which channel a customer chooses to experience our brand through.
There is no magic bullet to moving towards UDE. The basic branding gospel of knowing our customer, understanding the problem we are trying to solve, identifying the differentiation between our competitors and ourselves, and creating an emotional impact with our guests remain the key to creating our strategy and tactics. However UDE empowers us to deepen the engagement, amplify the value add, and facilitate collaboration between our employees, franchisees, customers and suppliers.
UDE is supporting our business growth in multiple ways, including: educating consumers on our menu and guest experience, promoting our brands to consumers, and assisting in the development of improvements in day-to-day operations. Currently we are experimenting with integrating technology into the dining experience; mobile ordering, tabletop technology, games while you wait, and instant loyalty rewards.
Due to the ever-increasing accessibility of digital technology the balance of power has shifted from businesses to the customer. By recognizing and capitalizing on this dramatic shift we are in the enviable position of engaging with our customers as never before. Working alongside our franchisees we are focused on customizing our offerings to meet the customer’s needs and excited about realizing the potential afforded by embracing current customer trends in digital technology.