Why La Madeleine and Fazoli’s Decided to Pursue an Omni-Channel Digital Strategy

At the 2018 Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit, panelists took to the stage during “I’ll Take Digital to Go” to discuss how to implement a digital customer engagement strategy that increases guest frequency and spend. To start the panel, LevelUp’s Allyson Klineman asked:  

Why did you decide to implement a digital strategy for your restaurant brand, and how does it fit into your overall marketing strategy?

Jodie Conrad, Fazoli’s: For us, it’s about maintaining relevance for consumers. We don’t really see it as a choice because we want to give guests a great experience, no matter how they want to interact with us.

Jacqueline O’Reilly, La Madeleine: In 2014, we ran a brand and guest segmentation study. At the time, our sales and traffic trends on the daily reports looked really strong. But what we learned from that study is that we had a leaky bucket in terms of traffic because our value equation was off. Our analytics also weren’t there, and we couldn’t learn as much as we wanted to learn from the programs that we already had. It was really tough on our bakery operators to execute our promotions because a lot of the time they turned into what we called “free-for-all event days.” And then there was the struggle from the IT perspective — our timelines were too long, we couldn’t be as nimble as we wanted to be with our marketing programs…. [To fix all of this,] we decided to develop a loyalty program and branded app. This became a RFP project in 2015 that turned into an app launch in early 2016. Today, we see that 11% of our transactions on average run through the app, and on special event or campaign days, we see over 25% of transactions through the app. It’s been a journey and we definitely aren’t finished, but it did come from a real need that we had to solve.

Jodie Conrad, Fazoli’s: It really is a win-win. It’s a win for the consumer in that they get to access us the way they want. We can send them targeted discounts and promotions that are relevant and meaningful to them. It makes life easier for our operators: we have better order accuracy, and it takes part of the load off employees for taking orders and processing payments.

Warren Solochek, The NPD Group: Through our data sets, we’re seeing that Americans are eating more meal occasions at home. However, a higher percentage of those occasions include something that is sourced from a restaurant. People purchase an entree, bring it home, and supplement that with food from their pantry… I think digital is also very beneficial for operators due to the ability to perform differential targeting. You’re able to gather information on when somebody’s using your app, you know their frequency and the things that they buy, and that gives you the opportunity to either upsell them or up their frequency if they haven’t been there for a while.

Looking for more tips on pursuing a digital strategy for your restaurant? Watch the full panel, I’ll Take Digital to Go, recorded at the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit 2018. For more news, restaurant trends and industry insights, make sure to subscribe and check out the rest of the blog

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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