Burger chain Grill’d tapped into Salesforce to help stand up new delivery and contactless pickup options for customers that could no longer eat-in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
General manager of digital Anna Kismet told the Salesforce Live for Retail & Consumer Goods summit that pre-COVID, 70 percent of the Grill’d business was from dining.
“We have 150 locations around Australia and on any given day 25,000 customers come through the doors so this obviously had a significant impact,” Kismet said.
“[It was] nothing short of an existential crisis for us. We really had to work hard to find different ways to serve those customers.”
Kismet and CRM & loyalty manager Ryan D’Souza had already spent the past two years laying technology foundations with partners including Salesforce.
Salesforce’s sales and marketing cloud platforms underpin Grill’d’s membership program, Relish, as well as the administration of Local Matters, a scheme where diners place bottle caps into jars assigned to different community groups, and the group with the most caps gets the largest donation.
Given Salesforce’s role in digitally transforming these aspects of the Grill’d business over the years, it made sense for the company to look at how Salesforce might also help it bring money in during the pandemic.
“We looked to our technology stack and our partners to see how we can quickly pivot from a dining business to a channel business and continue to operate,” Kismet said.
The previous work on Relish’s foundations meant Grill’d already had a way to communicate with customers “in a very relevant and contextual way,” Kismet said.
“[We were also] able to manipulate and roll out technology to answer their needs,” she said.
Kismet categorised the immediate needs of Grill’d as delivery and contactless pickup.
“Delivery has always been on the rise in Australia but being able to launch it on 26 March - six days after the real cataclysmic event [of the restaurant shutdowns] that we experienced … gave us a really good kick,” she said.
“Also, pickup is still a large percentage of our business so we partnered with Salesforce and literally within the space of 24 hours rolled out a dashboard where team members can trigger an SMS notification to the customer to come in and safely pick up their takeaway packages.”
Grill’d saw a large increase in sign-ups to Relish during the period, and that led to strong online sales growth, though this has been tempered by the re-opening of in-store dining.
“From a financial … contribution perspective, we actually more than doubled the percentage of total sales [from online] during this period, and whilst that has actually softened as restaurant dining has re-opened, we’ve continued to have that higher level than pre-COVID times,” D’Souza said.
The digital lead-up
Salesforce’s sales cloud is “the brains” behind Relish, while marketing cloud is “the communication arm”, according to D’Souza.
“Overall, Salesforce touches and influences every part of Relish and all these technologies we’ve built upon Salesforce we continue to evolve and enhance as we move forward.”
The Local Matters program, meanwhile, has been re-platformed onto a mix of sales cloud and Salesforce communities.
“At Grill’d we always aim to support our communities and try to give back where we can,” D’Souza said.
“One of those ways we look at giving back and supporting our community is via the Local Matters program.
“The Local Matters program essentially supports three new local community groups or charities per month per restaurant.
“So if I do my maths correctly that’s about 420 community groups each month that are not only given exposure because they are seen by our customers in our restaurants but also on our website, but also Grill’d actually donate to these community groups.”
The administration of Local Matters used to be heavily manual.
“We had a very unreliable legacy database, multiple calculators getting crunched, and also Outlook,” D’Souza said.
“The problem that we actually wanted to solve was to make the application process for the groups easier, along with an easier selection process for our restaurants, and also to automate the assessment process, because overall the old way of running Local Matters used to take a minimum seven days out of someone’s work schedule.”
Community groups and charities that want to participate now fill out an application form hosted in sales cloud, which automatically pushes data to the restaurants (or flags problems with an application, giving the group a chance to correct it).
It is also much easier now for the individual restaurants to “select the groups [each month] and also the winners.”
“Essentially what we did was we actually utilised Salesforce communities that we connected to our sales cloud instance to offer a portal for our restaurants to actually go in and within three clicks select the three groups,” D’Souza said.
“They can also select groups ahead of time, so if you wanted to you could select groups two months down the track, and also within three clicks they can select their winners and that is it.”
D’Souza said the proof of the transformation was in the number of groups that had signed up to the program, and in fewer drop-offs from the application process.
“The feedback we’re getting is the whole system is easy to use,” he said.