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Black and White Hospitality, the 48-strong group of restaurants across its seven brands, is no stranger to the complex nature of running a large franchise estate. To ensure brand standards are met and reflect the stringent and precise approach of its chef proprietor, Marco Pierre White, it turned to Feed It Back to give total transparency on the performance and reputation of its estate.
SHAUN CREMINS, Brand Director, Black and White Hospitality, explains:
“For those not familiar with Black and White Hospitality, we currently operate 48 restaurants across seven brands, predominantly located in hotels. We operate on a franchise model and the central menu development and innovation is overseen by Marco himself, in collaboration with Black and White Hospitality. As we don’t directly manage the majority of our estate, it is absolutely imperative that we gather true insight on the guest experience to ensure we can make informed business decisions to drive growth.
“I joined Black and White Hospitality nearly two years ago, from a background working in retail with big brands and independents. In previous roles, Net Promoter Scores (NPS) were a vital tool used to help make brand decisions, but, when I arrived, it was clear Black and White Hospitality didn’t have a robust and trustworthy system that was delivering a high volume of results.
At the time, we were using a mystery diner service to gather data, but it just wasn’t delivering the volume and quality of data needed to glean any meaningful business analysis from the insight. We had a look around the market to see what was available and decided to bring onboard Feed It Back early last year. “A key driver in us choosing to work with Feed It Back was the synergies between our two businesses. Carlo, Julia and the team are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the industry, they shared our appetite and vision to grow and we decided they were the right partner for us.
“IN THE HOSPITALITY BUSINESS, everything has to be orientated around improving the guest experience. Firstly, you need to achieve consistency across your estate, then you can look at tweaking the model and fine tuning the levers that will improve the experience, all the time monitoring feedback to track what progress has been made.
“Thanks to the Feed It Back platform, we now receive over 1500 pieces of feedback a month across our business. We are very eager not to overly disrupt the guest dining experience by being too pushy with driving guest feedback, so set ourselves the target of 1,000 pieces of coverage which we’re easily achieving. The platform allows us to quickly and effectively see what specifically is driving negative and positive reviews across our brands, so that we can make senior level decisions about changing the proposition or introducing additional training.
“For example, when looking at feedback across our Steakhouse group, we identified that one of the primary drivers of negative feedback was inconsistency in the cooking of the steak. Consequently, we adapted our training approach and implemented an immediate steak masterclass in conjunction with our meat suppliers for every Senior Chef in the business. As a result of this approach, we have subsequently seen a shift in positive reviews, highlighting the success of the action.
“Another benefit came from looking at the monthly insight report, and understanding there were certain pinch points during the day that over indexed with negative reviews because of wait times. Digging deeper, it was clear this was because the staffing levels were wrong, which in turn was impacting our reputation. With the richness of trustworthy information from Feed It Back, we had the tools needed to highlight this issue and drive through these changes with franchisees.
“OTHER WINS ARE MUCH EASIER TO COME BY. It might seem simple, but the wait time for the bill was something that was clearly frustrating guests across the estate. As it is the final action before leaving a restaurant, it was impacting their overall experience and driving them to leave a negative review. We swiftly dealt with this by taking a firm line on wait times for the bill and have seen a vast improvement. It might seem simple, but it’s only when you have the irrefutable true data in front of you in black and white, that you can push through changes and track their impact.
“As a direct result of these actions, we have seen quality and consistency improve across all areas of the business, which has translated into an increase in positive feedback. In fact, our NPS scores have risen by 25% over the 12 months we have been working with Feed It Back.
“Hospitality is a fast-evolving industry and you have to be pragmatic and flexible to meeting the ever-changing wants and needs of the consumer to keep guests coming back for more. As such, we regularly review our menus, in consultation with Marco Pierre White, to ensure the menus are fresh and in keeping with the latest trends. “Feed It Back has become an integral tool we use to inform our new menu innovation, both looking at trends in feedback to understand what guests like, and don’t like; but, also in helping us implement the new menu and trial new dishes.
“When looking to relaunch the evolved version of our New York Italian brand, we used feedback to inform all our decisions. This wasn’t just limited to food and drink, but also the look and feel of the brand and desired atmosphere. We revised everything from training manuals, menu design, restaurant design, speed of service, as well as the food and drink offer, all with the help of the platform.
“FROM THE INSIGHT, we could clearly see that, while customers enjoyed the Italian elements of the menu, they felt we were under-indexing the traditional New York elements, such as hot-dogs and surf and turf. With this insight, we introduced these elements, along with more innovative dishes, which have all been performing extremely well.
“Through its easily digestible monthly reports and true insights, Feed It Back has become a crucial tool we use to inform almost all senior business decisions. We are entering an exciting period of growth, forecasting to open at least 10 restaurants a year, and we fundamentally believe Feed It Back is the right partner to help us achieve this growth.”
“Our NPS scores have risen by 25% over the 12 months we have been working with Feed It Back.”