In 2012, a national restaurant chain was acquired by a private equity company. This buyout created an opportunity for the chain to invest in a long-term strategic plan to improve their operations and enhance their guests’ experiences. The goal was to create a streamlined and customize experience for the chain’s customer base. Unsure of where to begin, the chain approached Apexon to lead this initiative and help them identify potential technological investments that would enhance their digital presence and drive customer loyalty.
The chain’s investment plan had originally been focused on the development of an app, however, after an in-depth evaluation Apexon was able to clearly illustrate that what the client actually needed was a new mobile friendly eCommerce site to facilitate their digital marketing campaign.
When Apexon first began the project, it was clear that the client was investing in applications and IT initiatives that were unrealistic and unprofitable. A large portion of their budget was allocated for the development of a mobile application, that was unnecessary, and a critical amount of time and resources were being spent on systems that were not being used.
Using Apexon’s Joint Strike tool, to systematically evaluate the chain’s key investment initiatives and their potential impact, the analysis showed that less than 24% of consumers actually have restaurant specific mobile apps on their phones. This research also showed that 59% of consumers who do not have a restaurant specific app, responded that they would unlikely download one in the future.
The next step was to arrive at a better understanding of the overall user experience of restaurant specific applications. In order to do so, Apexon’s expert consultants downloaded and examined multiple dining applications; during which, they tested the applications’ features by making reservations through the app, dining at the establishments, and ordering carry out through the app. By doing so, they were able to understand what features worked best, what features did not, what features were lacking, and how to incorporate these features into the client’s mobile site. Afterwards, Apexon led vision workshops in order to create profiles for key demographic users, thereby helping the client become a result-oriented organization that looked to data and evidence when investing in future initiatives.
Apexon began a complete overhaul and redesign of the chain’s website. In the redesign, a new loyalty program portal was included, along with a promotions page and blog, and the ability for customers to submit reservations online. The new website was more user friendly and streamlined; allowing customers the ability to search by their location and save favorites to their profile. During the launch of the new mobile site, the client was using Facebook as their primary campaign platform. During this time, there was a 200% increase in Facebook click throughs and a 27% increase in Facebook post views compared to the previous year. The client also witnessed a 154% increase in referrals on facebook and saw a decrease in cost per clicks by 73% compared to the previous year. Once the mobile site was launched, the client’s loyalty program had more than 70,000 new members join after only 90 days. There was also an increase of 67% of customers opening advertisement emails sent by the client compared to the previous year.
Joint Strike is an in-depth diagnostic that uncovers organizational issues which can impede progress and value creation. The assessment is benchmarked against best practices, industry trends, and relevant outliers. It provides valuable insight within a comparative context.
Partnership Platforms / Software
Microsoft Azure – Offers flexible and open cloud computing services. Azure is a data center used for creating, testing, launching and managing applications and supports multiple frameworks and languages.
Fishbowl – A marketing, data, and analytics provider that services restaurants. It enables restaurants to compile and analyze actionable data to make smart business decisions.
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