As chief information officer of 900-unit Wingstop Restaurants Inc., Stacy Peterson integrates the brands into consumers’ lives as seamlessly as possible.
The Dallas-based brand now unobtrusively pops up on customers’ smartphones. Want to order some wings? Just tweet at them or send them a Facebook message, and your order will be waiting for you.
Peterson’s aware of the importance of a restaurant’s presence in the digital world.
“In some cases, your new customers might engage with your digital storefront before they ever enter into your front doors,” she said during a panel discussion at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago last May.
Already by then, online orders accounted for 16 percent of Wingstop’s sales, which Peterson has estimated is around twice that of the typical restaurant chain.
Wingstop has made fast progress with online orders by integrating its point-of-sale system. Wingstop projected that around 90 percent of domestic locations would have such systems in place by the end of 2016; previously, operators had to keep separate laptops and key in online orders manually.
In her latest groundbreaking move, Peterson and her team in July introduced a conversational ordering platform on Twitter and Facebook Messenger that just requires customers to send the word “order.”
Then an automatic bot asks for the customers’ address or ZIP code, double-checks their preferred restaurant for pickup and provides location-specific menu items and prices. It can also answer questions related to nutrition, flavors and allergens.
“We think it opens up a new frontier for the way customers engage with Wingstop,” Peterson told NRN when the platform was launched.