Building Point-Of-Sale Research From The Ground Up
Dunkin’ Bahamas wanted a strong tool to help their management team understand the Point-of-Sale experience—and not something cookie-cutter. Dunkin’ is one of several brands under a single franchise umbrella in that part of the world. They wanted to establish a feedback system across brands, starting with Point-of-Sale research.
We recently caught up with Vanessa Eneas at The Myers Group of Restaurants to query her about MDI’s point-of-sale work with her team.
Here are some highlights from that conversation...
So tell me how you originally decided to work with MDI rather than someone else?
We’re part of a wider restaurant group called the Myers Group of Restaurants. MDI had already been doing research for some of our brands, like KFC and Pizza Hut, and as we've been really happy with the type of information that we're getting we wanted to harness the power from that work and leverage it with a wider team. Our group has 28 different restaurants across six different brands with a plan for major growth ahead of us. We're trying to prepare for that growth and get as much relevant data as possible.
How are you “leveraging” the research with a “wider team?”
Franchisees collect a lot of information that’s very specific to their individual franchise. Everybody has their own way of doing things. They like to collect information in this way or that way. The data is often similar across brands, just laid out in a different way. With Dunkin’, what we were missing was a formalized “Dunkin’” element to that. We wanted to use this “initial” research project as our template and then collate information from the other brands. That’s our long-term plan. In other words, take the research that we're doing for Dunkin’ in Nassau, Bahamas, learn from it, perfect it, and then roll it out among each of the different brands. Then, we can have a unified measuring stick for future performance with our own norms and track it.
What were you really hoping to get and what’s been challenging?
We hoped for a number of things. First, to understand how we’re performing and how we can improve. We also wanted benchmarks to find correlations between high-performing restaurants, high-service levels, best practices, etc. Then using sales data, transaction data, and speed-of-service to establish benchmarks, we could make reward and recognition a part of the culture.
We're still learning. In a quick-service environment, you're down to 120 seconds and you want your customers in and out. But you also want them to fill out this lovely survey and tell us how we're doing to get a free donut. That request takes an extra 8 seconds. So far, we're getting the information we need, just not getting the volume we need yet. But that's entirely an internal challenge at the moment.
We’ve talked with MDI about ways to increase participation levels through Facebook or a loyalty program in which you get a prompt to complete a survey after every third visit when you register for your points from your receipt, for example.
From what you’ve learned so far, what would you recommend to others considering point-of-sale research?
If I were to do this again, I’d ensure that we engaged our Team Members much earlier in the process. The rollout has been great, but that earlier involvement would have ensured they had enough education and enough exposure to fully grasp how important this project is, and how much it would help them in the long run.
How does MDI compare to other companies you’ve worked with?
I've typically worked with research that was already designed and running, but not something like this where we built it from the ground up. I was surprised by how simple the process was to get from what I was imagining in my head to what MDI ultimately displayed. MDI’s ability to change and modify on the fly, based on feedback, was great—requests as simple as being able to more easily sift through comments were just handled.
I was also surprised by how intuitively MDI managed to get information out of my brain and onto the screen. Their dashboard wasn’t cookie-cutter, but I was able to cut the data how I wanted it displayed. MDI was open to my feedback and how I wanted to see it. We put a lot of time and effort into what we wanted to see, so being able to benchmark data in a way that's useful across brands has made me very happy. Many of our leadership across the company were also very impressed by the way the information was presented.
I love the dashboard. It's attractive and on-brand, which I love. It's clean. It’s easy to use. Every one of our management team has access to the dashboard. They can run the numbers. They can compare how they've been doing. It's just been really good.
Don’t get stuck with a cookie-cutter solution. As Vanessa points out, a little up-front planning will go a long way toward ensuring success for point-of-sale research, even in virgin international markets.
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