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TGI Fridays restaurants will purchase more than 2,000 Dell Venue 8 Windows tablets and roll them out to a number of branches across the U.S., following a successful pilot test in Texas and Minnesota. Tripp Sessions, VP and CIO, told Loyalty360 that the tablets will enhance customer engagement because they will allow waiters to collect multiple orders with ease and offer customers a new experience, one that is perhaps even more enjoyable than before.
Sessions said that the company reviewed several technologies before settling on tablets. Much of the software and hardware used in the catering industry is confusing and proprietary, he said, but tablets can be put to a myriad of different uses with relative ease, including queue management and inventory.
“After looking at a number of technologies, we decided that giving tablets to each of our servers would highlight the best part of Fridays—our team,” Sessions said. “During a test of the tablets, we saw a number of enhancements to customer experience across multiple metrics. This includes a faster speed of service and a tip-income increase, which we attribute to a heightened level of customer satisfaction.”
Using the tablets, TGI Fridays is receiving qualitative feedback about the guests’ experience, including that they are getting their food more quickly–specifically in the early stages of the dining experience, for items like beverages and appetizers. “Also, since our servers are not lining up to put in the orders at a point-of-sales station,” said Sessions, “orders are getting to the kitchen more smoothly, so we’ve seen kitchen operations improve, as well.”
Sessions said the primary goal in using tablets is to enhance the relationship between the guest and the server.
“Instead of placing the tablets directly on the tables for guests to use on their own, we are giving the tablets to our servers to help with the accuracy and expedition of guests’ orders,” Sessions said. “This strategy allows guests to continue to interact with our outstanding servers, which we believe is all part of the Fridays experience.”
At TGI Fridays, Sessions said every technology solution reinforces this message: “In Here, It’s Always Friday.”
“At its core, Fridays is a social brand, so we believe that the technology we put in place should help us be even more social and drive meaningful connections for our guests–whether that means amongst guests or between guests and our servers,” Sessions said. “Our servers and bartenders truly do drive the customer experience at TGI Fridays. We strive to give them all of the right tools to be the best they can be to give our customers the ultimate TGI Fridays experience.”
At TGI Fridays, Sessions said, its best customers are treated in a special and relevant way.
“Fridays’ guest loyalty program, Give Me More Stripes® one of the first loyalty programs in the casual dining category, has been a leader in recognizing and rewarding members for their engagement with our brand since 2008,” Sessions said. “Customer loyalty is about creating relationships with our guests–treating them like friends. Customer loyalty is based on interest, engagement, and trust in our brand. Relationships are cultivated in our restaurants through the guest’s experiences with their favorite bartenders, servers or managers. And, certainly the area that has evolved the most in recent years is how we’ve extended the relationship outside the restaurants through email, mobile, digital, and social conversations and activations that result in happy guests sharing their love of Fridays through brand advocacy in their online and offline communities.”
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