estaurants are reimagining every aspect of the guest experience—service models, brand strategies, ops/marketing systems, floor plans, etc. ...
To dig deeper into how the industry is returning to growth post COVID-19, Wisely’s CEO Mike Vichich led two of Wisely’s restaurant partners, bartaco and First Watch, in a rapid-fire Q&A.
For further context, both brands leverage Wisely Waitlist & Reservations and Marketing Automation/CRM.
Click the play button below to watch the full conversation or scroll for highlights.
Key Takeaways as Restaurants Leverage Tech During the Pandemic
- With many restaurant brands seeing off-premise sales jump to 30+%, removing friction is key
- In a newly contactless world, data and insights are more critical than ever to provide the experience customers want
- Solutions that ease ops burdens and maximize marketing efforts require adaptability and flexibility
During the Q&A, the brands discuss the changes brought about by COVID-19 to business, customers, and operations/marketing, and how they're innovating to meet new demands.
“It’s hard to change as we all have been.” Matt Eisenacher, SVP of Brand Strategy and Innovation said in a recent interview with Wisely. First Watch made the hard call in the midst of restaurant shutdowns to close all 380+ locations and revamp their tech stack in a matter of weeks in the name of customer experience.
"The kinds of changes we’ve just made would’ve taken 12 months pre-COVID-19 as we worked through questions and apprehensions. But we’re finding that our teams and customers are willing to jump in to change. And it’s been thrilling to thrill people, more so than ever."
Scott Lawton, CEO & Co-Founder of bartaco, echoed this. “We're learning how to throttle new profit centers, how to manage our floor with a much lower labor model, and we've found that we can be profitable in this digital world."
He added that the key for bartaco is always customer experience. “When it comes to how we're handling digital investment, we want to do what's right for our customers … we build loyalty by getting to know [them], making them feel at home, and making our restaurants an extension of their living room.”
bartaco has been at the cutting edge of restaurant transformation in the midst of COVID, pivoting a lifestyle brand to primarily off-premise with a virtual host stand and contactless “picnic-style” dine-in.