Technology moves faster than Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick. In April of last year, Chili’s launched a robot waitress named Rita that could bus tables, serve as a hostess and even sing happy birthday to 51 of their locations in the US. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good tune sung by a robot, but when they halted the robot program just 4 months later, we weren’t surprised. Maybe someday robotics will play a larger role in the industry, but at this point, they’re mostly used for headlines.
At Big Whiskey’s, we focus on proven tech partners that can deliver an impact on our ROI. We vet our technology companies just as much as we vet our food suppliers. We know that the best restaurant technology can improve customer retention, decrease wait times for guests, and facilitate a better way to fill our talent pool with like-minded individuals. It’s here to stay for sure, but it’s not time for an R2D2 at your table yet. Here are three ways we’re expanding our technology in 2023.
Pay at the Table
Starting this year, Big Whiskey’s will be rolling out pay at the table at all locations. We’ve identified a partner that will allow our guests to easily and effectively pay by scanning a QR code on their receipt rather than handling the transaction through our staff. It’s an optional program that can save our guests time if they are in a rush. Our turn analysis estimation suggests a seven to eight minute faster turn across the organization, which means our staff can serve more guests during our busiest day parts. We believe this will allow our franchisees to see greater profits and our guests to be more satisfied with their dining experience.
Learning Management System
Training is everything when onboarding new employees at Big Whiskey’s. From our entry-level back-of-house employees to our general managers, everyone is trained with our proprietary system. It’s one of the best ways to ensure consistency for our guests every time they come in. We’ve invested in a Learning Management System that allows us to train virtually from anywhere in the world. Because consistency is paramount in service, it must also be paramount in training. With a learning management system, we can implement a consistent, perfected message internally for every new employee we bring on. This makes learning the Big Whiskey’s Way easier for everyone by cutting down on time and resources. We can’t wait to share it with our team this year.
In 2022, our Loyalty Program was launched to the world. The results were incredible. Our loyalty program members enjoyed free appetizers, meals and drinks all year, and ticket averages of members increased by more than 15% across the board. All in all, loyalty members spent more than $2.15M last year at our locations! In 2023, we’ll be expanding our loyalty program to offer more benefits to diners and more opportunities to invite guests back with higher frequency.
The way we see it, if you’re in the restaurant business, you’re in tech business. Whether you know it or not, restaurants have to embrace technology to succeed. We’re committed to tech to improve our processes, provide opportunity to our franchisees and to onboard our new employees in the most efficient way possible. We’re not in it for the headlines. Even though having a robot waitress sounds like a lot of fun, we’re sticking to the technology that builds a return on investment and keeps our guests comin’ back for more.