Before we get into anything technical, let’s start with a quick story.
Recently, I met a retired gent named Tom – he used to work the night shift at an old Ford factory in Michigan. Every morning at 8am, he’d walk into Gino’s Bar next to the Factory for his usual: a Bud Light, burger, and fries. Not exactly what Mom would call a wholesome breakfast.
Tom chose Gino’s every morning over the bar across the street not because their burger or Bud Light was better – but because every morning, Gino would say “Morning, Tom”, and have a Bud Light on the bar counter before he could sit down. What a way to start your day.
The point? Relationships, more than anything else, are what creates repeat business in the Hospitality Industry.
As a restaurateur, you’re likely familiar with this adage, and the challenges of delivering on it. New faces, names, and preferences are always walking into your restaurant. And with such a wealth of choices available to consumers, every interaction is a high value opportunity to turn a new customer into a lifelong customer.
It’s less likely that you’re familiar with a new technology that is making the delivery of hospitality more seamless. They’re called beacons.
What is a beacon?
Beacons are an easy to use, non-intrusive technology that enable Wisely to notify you when a guest walks into your establishment.
The technology was pioneered by Apple when they introduced iBeacon™ – and it’s been designed to work with minimal impact on the phone’s battery life. The beacons themselves last for over 2 years without replacement.
How do they work? In short, beacons emit a unique bluetooth signal that is identifiable by an app. Simple, right?
The beauty is in what the beacon allows a smartphone to do – enhance physical world experiences.
When a beacon is placed in a space, be it a museum gallery, a retail store, or a restaurant, it can interact with an app on a smartphone to deliver contextual information about that physical space.
To provide an example: imaging walking into the Modern wing at the MoMa in New York City – a beacon nearby the Picasso section could allow the MoMa app deliver a biography about Picasso right to the museum guest’s phone.
Re-imagining how that could help a restaurant is exactly where Wisely comes in.
Why put a beacon in a Restaurant?
What if a beacon could help a restaurant’s front of house staff know when a guest walked in along with a complete profile for that guest: their visit history, taste preferences, allergies?
With that concept in mind, we built the product we’ve now deployed in restaurants across the country.
We created a 3-part solution to make it all work.
First, an app on the guest’s phone allows that guest to take part in an experiential rewards program that we custom design with each of our partners.
From there, when a guest enters a partner restaurant, that guest’s phone detects a Wisely beacon* installed at the restaurant (that’s part 2) to notify restaurant staff via our Restaurant Manager smartphone, tablet, or Apple Watch app (part 3) that a guest has arrived. Imagine that: a simple tap on the wrist when one of your valued guests walks in – their picture, name, visit history, and preferences at your fingertips.
From there, we leave the rest up to you – to do what you do best.
Can’t everyone be Gino?
When Tom and I started talking about Wisely, a lightbulb went off in his head. He knew what Wisely was all about – using technology to enable the hospitality experience he had every morning with Gino.
At Wisely, our mission is to help restaurants deliver exceptional guest experience, delight their guests, and in doing so, grow revenue.
Sound like something that would benefit your business? Get in touch.
Have more questions about beacons or Wisely? Please post them in the comments!
*Thanks to our friends at Estimote for reviewing this post and being excellent partners.