[Podcast] The new customer loyalty with Phil Crawford of CKE Restaurants

[Podcast] The new customer loyalty with Phil Crawford of CKE Restaurants
D. J. Costantino

By D. J. Costantino


Episode Summary

Customer loyalty has come a long way from the paper punch card. Now it seems like every restaurant has their own app, their own loyalty programs, and their own way to reward customers and keep them coming back. We're joined on this episode by Phil Crawford, the chief technology officer of CKE brands, better known as the parent of Carl's Jr. & Hardees. And we're talking all things customer loyalty tech. We get into:

  • Why digital loyalty programs are so essential right now
  • What type of rewards programs are driving guest satisfaction
  • How to use tech to enhance the customer experience—without replacing the human element
  • The tech that will be common for restaurants in 2032

The Restaurant Growth Podcast is presented by 7shifts and hosted by DJ Costantino.

About 7shifts

Since 2014, 7shifts has helped restaurant managers schedule, evaluate, and communicate with their workforce. Our team is comprised of people who live and breathe restaurant culture and strive to help our customers simplify team management, every single day.

Meet Phil Crawford

Phil Crawford is currently the CTO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's which operates 4000+ QSR restaurants worldwide. Crawford leads CKE's Digital and Technology functions and is responsible for building a technology-forward, data-driven company that exceeds consumers' evolving expectations. Crawford has over 20 years of experience in C-Level Technology roles. Previously he has served as Global Chief Technology Officer at Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. Prior to that, he served as Chief Information Officer/Head of Technology for Shake Shack, Inc. and Yard House Restaurants, Inc.

Big Ideas

Loyalty programs benefit everybody

“I think a lot of people think that loyalty programs are going to cannibalize sales because people were coming anyways. So why give them something or vice versa? Some brands think they're too good for a loyalty program. And you don't need to have a loyalty program. Well, I think in, in, in the day and age of the consumer that has so many choices out there, right.

You kind of have to do something, but more importantly, I think from the technology side of it, I really want to learn and understand who my guest is. Because it's not just about offering something to guests, it's also how it drives product innovation, insight, and location. Right. And how we build restaurants and how we engage with guests.

That to me is really the crux of loyalty. It's all about getting the data and understanding who our people are that we want to take care of...”

The center of the restaurant tech ecosystem is shifting from the POS to the kitchen

“Kitchen operations will be the next big takeover where the POS and essence goes away. Right. And everything goes to a true digital ecosystem order...but the kitchen itself becomes the heart and soul of the business. So it can tell you forecasts, it can predict what's coming in.

It can understand who's the low boy number. It can tell you what products are turning. It can update digital menu boards. Like the kitchen display system becomes a heart because it can also then course meals, or it can modify order transactions coming in to say, “Hey, you've ordered for store one, but if you order it from store three, it's faster by 10 minutes.”

Like that next generation stuff, I think is, is on the cusp.

We can learn a lot from how other countries use restaurant technology

“I've had the privilege to travel the world in a previous role. And I really see other restaurant and other, you know, Asia-Pac, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), that really have restaurants for ahead of us in the United States. I think the U.S. itself is just behind adopting the technology.

I think if you go to, you know, any part of Japan or China, you'll see what the next generation stuff for artificial ordering and robotics have already been played there for years. We're just now catching up. I just think here, we're just always a little bit slower to take the risk. We're more risk-adverse, we kind of like our old ways.”

“We live a very sheltered area here in the United States sometimes, which is why everybody should go out and travel the world and experience different dining and hospitality around it because you might actually find something you can bring.”

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D. J. Costantino
D. J. Costantino

Hi! I'm D.J., 7shifts' resident Content Writer. I come from a family of chefs and have a background in food journalism. I'm always looking for ways to help make the restaurant industry better!