Chili’s Introduces Tableside Tech to Boost Customer Loyalty

New pay-at-the-table devices will save time, but the biggest benefit is the increased access to loyalty and customer preferences.

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Need to Know

  • Chili’s partners with restaurant-tech firm Presto to launch new pay-at-the-table devices.
  • The new tablets are a means to an end in increasing personalization and ultimately, customer loyalty.
  • Loyalty program members spend 12-18% more than non-loyalty program members.

Analysis

Chili’s announced this week that it is launching tabletop devices that will be installed in most of its 1,250 US locations. 

In a partnership with restaurant-tech company Presto, Chili’s customers will now be able to order and pay through a tablet device at their table. The devices will accept multiple forms of payment, and will also be able to upsell customer orders, notify managers of unhappy customers in real-time, and ask customers survey questions after their meal. 

But this new pay-at-the-table technology is a means to an end: increased personalization and engagement. The fact that it saves customers a bit of time is only a side benefit.

A new feature being tested with the tabletop devices is guest sign-in, which will allow customers to log into their My Chili’s Rewards (the chain’s loyalty program), view past orders, re-order favorites, and set or adjust dietary preferences.

“Our guests and operators expect a best-in-class digital experience focused on making their lives easier and improving hospitality,” said Wade Allen, chief digital officer at Brinker International, owner of the Chili’s brand. “This nationwide pay-at-table technology upgrade to Presto is an important component of our strategy to provide a convenient and personalized guest experience.”

While this kind of loyalty program is becoming increasingly popular with quick-service restaurants, such as McDonald’s and Chipotle, the territory is relatively new for more traditional, full-service restaurants. 

Improved customer login information will provide Chili’s access to new customer data that will allow them to “tailor more pieces of the restaurant experience to fit the individual customer, whether that’s offering seating appropriate for someone in a wheelchair or avoiding onions because the customer in question hates them.”

Loyalty programs are essential for modern businesses, with 65% of a company’s business coming from returning customers. But loyalty is important to the customer too. Four-fifths of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, and loyalty program members spend 12-18% more per year than non-loyalty program members.

Chili’s plans to use Presto’s tech to learn more about their customers could turn out to be lucrative. And Presto is prepared to help them disrupt the whole industry along the way.   

“We’re thrilled to be selected by Brinker International as their exclusive pay-at-table technology partner,” said Rajat Suri, Founder and CEO of Presto. “Brinker International’s desire to take the industry forward through disruptive innovation is inspiring, and Presto is fully committed to support this bold vision.”

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