How to Ensure a Successful Technology Roll-Out at Your Restaurant
Lately, we’ve seen fast-food juggernauts like Wendy’s and McDonald’s make huge investments in technology from self order kiosks to mobile ordering. Their visions for the future of their brands is clear; the question now is, how will they execute?
Implementing new mobile ordering or self order technology is a critical endeavor. Whether you’re a fast-food institution, a new kid on the scene, or somewhere in between, it’s certainly best to make first days with new technology feel more like a honeymoon than a waking nightmare.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips for ensuring your technology implementation runs smoothly from NEXTEP PMO Manager Dave Sanderson:
1. Agree on clear and realistic goals with your technology partner.
Make sure you allot enough time for your technology project. Implementing new technology requires a certain amount of preparation (making branding decisions, ensuring you meet network requirements, etc.), as well as the time it takes to physically install and test the system.
Here at NEXTEP, as an example, our project management team developed the Next Steps™ implementation process. Every project goes through a formal 5-phase process over the course of 8 to 12 weeks, and our project managers handle everything from planning and design to installation and go-live day. The first and most critical step, we’ll always tell you, is making sure all stakeholders agree on a timeline.
For your opening to be as grand as possible, set a reasonable timeline and understand all its dependencies.
2. Onboard your team.
As NEXTEP President Tommy Woycik likes to say: “People love progress, but they hate change.” Sidestep potential friction and get organization-wide buy-in by educating team members on the virtues of the technology you’re implementing. Cover how the decision improves both operations and the guest experience. Equip your teams with basic troubleshooting skills.
By getting your whole team on board–especially those who will be most directly affected by the change in their day-to-day jobs–you’re sure to experience a far more enjoyable (and faster) implementation and roll-out process.
3. Get your guests excited.
Rolling out new mobile ordering? Want your guests to use your new self order kiosks? Make sure they know about their shiny, new options!
First, build anticipation. Place signs around your store about the new tech on its way. Tease it on social. Mention it in your advertising so that it becomes a part of your brand identity.
Then, incentivize interaction. Post promotions on your website and on social media for guests who use mobile or self ordering. Appoint friendly team members to proactively support guests using self order kiosks for the first time, or to talk to guests about ordering on mobile before their next visit.