Case study: TGI Friday’s

  • Why your customer is king: customer experience should be at the top of your priority list. Click here to read the cover feature
  • Case Study: Hilton Worldwide. Click here to read how the hotel brand successfully relaunched its HHonors loyalty programme.
  • Call centre experiences can have a big impact on customer experience, click here to see how brands compare
  • RSA Group (owner of More Than) chief marketing officer, Pete Markey, talks about how marketers should be central in the customer experience

/g/t/e/tgifriday250.jpg

When US restaurant chain TGI Friday’s came to the UK in 1986, it was famous for its distinctively American atmosphere. But by the mid-2000s, the brand had lost its way and when Whitbread sold the operating rights in 2007 to a consortium, including the brand’s US owner Carlson and investment bank ABN Amro, a reassessment of the entire restaurant experience followed.

Commercial director Darrell Wade, who started as marketing director when the brand transferred ownership, says: “The brand was tired, it was a bit old, people did not have pride in what they were trying to do.”

TGI Friday’s responded by pouring time, effort and investment into the development of its staff. Its strategy was to rejuvenate the dining experience and “to go back to what made us famous originally”, Wade says. The brand worked with consultancy SMG to look at four measures on top of general satisfaction – the most important being ’overall fun experience’.

The restaurant also started a training programme called Earn Your Stripes, ensuring all staff reach a minimum standard. It added a scheme called Plus 1, which encourages a more outlandish approach to service, such as specialist cocktail making, servers carrying multiple dishes or doing magic tricks. Wade says the brand looks for personality rather than skills when hiring new staff.

TGI Friday’s saw satisfaction rise from 35% to 58% between 2006 and 2010 and the number of guests citing an overall fun atmosphere increased from 36% to 52%. Wade claims that sales growth for the business is tracking at 7.5% above the market, following similar results a year ago. In the coming year, the restaurant is adapting its customer research model in response to demand, with ’pace of experience’ becoming the lead measure.

Wade also points out that the menu has been refreshed. “It is our 25th year, so we have taken what we are famous for – burgers, ribs, steaks and pizzas – and made them better,” he says.

Recommended

/b/h/s/Clarks.jpg

Clarks is making sweet Originals music

Rosie Baker

Clarks is a retailer that I associate with back to school shoes and my dad – but thanks to some great fashion-led designs and some clever music-related marketing around its Originals sub-brand, it is shaking off some of those associations and becoming cool. The retailer is preparing a social media marketing campaign that sees the […]

Time to play incentive card

Marketing Week

It is no surprise to hear about new retail loyalty schemes being launched (MW 20 October). Brands that already run such schemes are now seeing the opportunities that come with accessing data to understand their customers better, and to offer personalised promotions. The backbone of a loyalty programme is the data but card holders have […]

Comments

    Leave a comment