How Top Restaurant Brands Measure Digital Customer Engagement Success in 2019

At the 2018 Fast Casual Executive Summit, Sean Kennedy of Cowboy Chicken, Brian Anderson of Modern Market, and Michael Schaefer from Euromonitor International joined LevelUp’s Allyson Klineman on the panel stage to discuss digital customer engagement within the restaurant industry. Specifically, panelists talked through why they’re focusing on digital for 2019, what channels they prioritize, and how they measure success.

Read on for a sneak peek into what metrics Cowboy Chicken, Modern Market, and brands around the world are using to measure the success of their apps, web ordering platforms, social media channels, third-party aggregators, and other components of their omni-channel digital strategies. Watch the full video for more.

Allyson Klineman: Michael, what metrics would you recommend restaurants use to measure digital success? What trends are you seeing around the world?

Michael Schaefer: It all comes down to customer engagement. What percentage of your sales are coming through an app? Is your app driving more traffic into your stores? How are you managing your relationship with your customers? One way to start is simple app usage — which guests are using the app, how are they using it, and when? Also — and this is big — how is your digital strategy allowing you to differentiate yourself? Is it helping you bring in a higher average ticket? Or is it a larger and more central part of your overall branding strategy?

There are many great global examples of brands differentiating themselves in interesting ways within the digital sphere. Dominos always comes up, but my favorite example is one very unique campaign they ran in Australia. They gave guests the option of designing their own pizza, and then they sold the best of those pizzas online. If people bought it, there was a huge prize for the designer… either cash or loyalty points. People were becoming pizza millionaires! The idea was fun and gimmicky, but also provided data and rewarded guests. That’s what I consider the engagement gold standard: something that isn’t just viral, but memorable and fun, and helps guests engage with your brand in a unique way.

Ally: Sean, how does Cowboy Chicken measure success?

Sean: We’re always looking to add app users and convert customers into app users. We drive this customer engagement in a few different ways. We offer a $5 incentive for them to download and use the app for the first time. From there we have their data, and we can invite them back into our stores if we haven’t seen them in a while. We offer a birthday reward. Anytime we launch a new item or LTO, we promote it to our app users first. Right now, we have 40,000 users on the Cowboy Chicken app, and about 6% of overall transactions go through it. It sounds low, and I thought we were doing okay until I talked to another brand that has 48% of their transactions going through their LevelUp-powered app. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re still bringing in about $2 million per year in revenue through the app. That provides trackable data, so we want to learn how to raise that percentage. How do we convert more of those guests into high frequency users? How do we reach out and get in touch more often?

To hear more from Michael, Sean, and Brian, watch the FCES panel video today:

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Suzy Whalen

Suzy Whalen

Suzy is the B2B Marketing Manager at LevelUp, where she brings the conference circuit to life with food, fun, and cool (yet useful) swag. When she isn’t coordinating conferences, you can find Suzy planning her own travel, bouncing around the gym, or crossing off her list of Boston restaurants to try.

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