How Restaurant365 makes restaurants more resilient with improved mobile onboarding and customer communication
The restaurant industry is notoriously volatile. It’s a crowded, competitive space where operators have enough on their plates cultivating happy, recurring guests and ensuring each and every entree is of the highest quality without having to worry about wrangling together a series of disjointed back-end accounting and scheduling systems.
That’s where Restaurant365 steps in, with a platform designed to help restaurant managers consolidate point-of-sale, payroll, scheduling, vendor management, and other systems into a single application.
The company is experiencing explosive growth, doubling revenue, customers, and employees each year. That rapid change has made strong customer communication a necessity. R365 uses Pendo to stay close to customers, using in-app notifications to alert them of new features and product updates, tooltips to help them complete detailed online forms, and product walkthroughs to allow for self-service onboarding and training.
In particular, Pendo helped make it possible to onboard tens of thousands of restaurant employees to a new mobile app used for scheduling, with almost zero training or support required.
“Our [team] hasn’t really taught 22,000 people how to use [the R365 application]. The guides from Pendo and intuitiveness of the app were enough to get 95% of these restaurant-level employees to use it fairly quickly,” says Joe Hannon, an R365 product manager.
Guides keep users informed
R365 has been on a year-long journey with Pendo to improve customer communication and onboarding. It all started when Colin Blair, dean of the R365 Academy, R365’s internal learning platform, wanted to find a better way to let customers know when improvements were made to the app, new features launched, or bugs were fixed. Previously, customers would log out one night, log back in the next day, and find that things would be different without any notice. That led to a poor customer experience.
Blair and his team now use in-app guides to distribute those critical release notes, eliminating the need for users to navigate a help page for that information. They also use tooltips to guide users through the required fields on accounting forms, inform them of scheduled maintenance, or let them know about the effects of an architecture change.
All that means restaurant owners can focus more on providing a stellar guest experience and less on relearning their accounting system each day. To date, Blair has written nearly 800 such guides. His 593 tooltip-style guides have been viewed over 5 million times.
“Our applications should be simplified. That’s what came out of Pendo over the last year. [We’re] making the in-store experience easier for the end users, who are super busy managing people and inventory and need to streamline their work,” says Hannon. “We need our software to be so easy that we’re managing them vs. them managing software. It’ll make their lives a little easier if we use Pendo to do all that.”
Using analytics to prevent churn
Aside from keeping customers well-informed, Restaurant365 is also using Pendo’s analytics capabilities to understand customer behavior. When a customer stops communicating or logging into the application, it can be hard to tell if it was because they weren’t happy with the product or if they simply closed up shop.
To proactively solve this problem, Blair says his team integrates Pendo with Salesforce to analyze usage data alongside other customer health metrics to determine which customers are most at risk of churn. If a customer goes dark, the system prompts a customer success manager to follow up and see what happened.
“Having Pendo constantly track our users’ engagement allows us to mitigate risks and be more proactive in helping customers be successful and remain customers for many years to come,” Blair says.
Moving into mobile
When R365 prioritized the roll out of the new mobile app, more than 22,000 restaurant employees had to adopt the app and learn how to access their schedules for the coming weeks, request time off, or swap shifts with each other.
To get it done, Blair deployed guided walkthroughs using Pendo. A welcome guide appears on a user’s first login, and page-specific guides are presented as they navigate the app. For ease-of-use on mobile, Blair opted to use swipe-through guides rather than tooltips, because the format is easier to use on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Blair said continuous improvements to Pendo’s mobile capabilities, including the introduction of retroactive analytics that save hours of administrative time, have made that experience as stellar as what they’ve come to expect in the web app.
“If a page or feature was missed, or a product manager needs a new metric that we’ve never tracked, we can simply jump in and tag it and wait for the retroactive data to come in,” Blair said. “It’s a game-changer on mobile.”