Applebee's gamification helps retain staff, boost sales

In 2013, Applebee's implemented a new gamification system aimed at servers and staff. The system, from Bunchball, helped staff to sell new and supplemental menu items, as well as learn about work rules, earn points and win prizes. Thus far, the top 50 percent of the franchisee's locations have seen improved customer service ratings as the company plans to roll out the system to 33 new locations.

Today, about 7,000 franchisee employees use the system at 140 restaurants, and on average, the system registers 1,800 logins a day, CIO reported. Employees access the system on their smartphones, tablets or computers, and results are shown on screens located in the back of each restaurant.

Managers can log in to the system to make informed decisions about which foods to promote to boost sales. Servers and staff use the system to see a new challenge, perhaps to sell certain menu items, and earn points for doing so. Servers can also take quizzes or watch videos on menu items. Even hand-washing quizzes are available for back-of-the-house employees.

After earning points, employees can qualify for prizes. Top-end winnings include Xboxes, iPads, PlayStations and Kitchen Aid mixers.

"It's not just about money but an opportunity for employees to earn status, more power and motivate them to have short term goals," Robin Jenkins, communications and employee engagement manager at RMH Franchise, owner of 173 of Applebee's roughly 2,000 U.S locations, told CIO.

Applebee's has been adding technology into its restaurants for customer use as well. In 2014, the chain installed 100,000 tablets at all of its restaurants across the country, enabling customers to order appetizers, drinks and desserts, as well as play video games while waiting for their meal.

For more:
-See this CIO article

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