Hungry Jack’s tucks into customer data for improved BI

Restaurant targeting customers with campaigns via free Wi-Fi

National fast food chain, Hungry Jack’s, has begun maximising its investment in in-store wi-fi networks through capturing customer data and pushing targeted offers to patrons.

Customers have to register their device -- and accept that Hungry Jack’s will send them advertising content -- before they can access the restaurant’s free Wi-Fi which was rolled out in December 2011 to 285 stores across Australia. The service will be introduced to an additional 63 sites by mid-April.

Hungry Jack’s national IT manager, Joey Butler, told Computerworld Australia that when a customer has registered for the service, the company sends out targeted meal offers, advertising and multimedia content in a variety of formats such as images, YouTube videos and SMS messages.

“We’re using this business intelligence [BI] data to gain a better understanding of Hungry Jack’s customer demographic, promote new offers to our customer base and improve the overall restaurant experience,” he said.

In addition to the free Wi-Fi, the company has introduced what Butler calls “queue busting” technology to some restaurants.

This involves staff members using tablets as handheld order takers (HOT) to take customer’s orders while they are still in line and help speed up wait times in busy periods.

“As part of the continued focus on improving the customer experience in our restaurants we will be maximising further opportunities with the free Wi-Fi service such as online ordering,” he said. The introduction of an online ordering system meant customers could pay for their meal via Hungry Jack's website but they would still need to visit the store to collect their order.

Butler added that the free Wi-Fi had proven popular since implementation with over 4,600 customers using the service per day across all stores.

Social media is also a big part of the restaurant’s strategy to attract and retain customers. On Facebook Hungry Jack’s has 200,000 likes while on Twitter it has 1,697 followers.

“Social media is a fantastic way for us to interact with our customers,” he said. “A great example of this is the $5 TV experiment where we encouraged our Facebook followers to be part of creating our next ad for the return of the Stunner meal.”

Hungry Jack’s is also set to release an application in April on its Facebook page, but did not detail specifics. However, Butler could not reveal any more details about the app.

Turning to other IT projects, the restaurant is in the stages of introducing a new SAP BI tool to the business which is designed to improve the flow of information,such as details about new menu items, across the company. It is set to be rolled out by mid- 2012.

“My biggest challenge is identifying how new technologies can be applied to add meaningful value to our business,” Butler said.

“Working in the retail industry, the exposure to IT systems is so diverse and extensive that it really keeps you on your toes. I’m lucky I have a great team behind me.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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