This summer, Chick-fil-A tested a new service feature at three of its Houston franchise locations. Kallpod, a small, three-button device that customers can use to request service, has been quietly changing the way customers engage with servers and management at restaurants and hospitality venues across the U.S. and Canada for the past few years. Chick-fil-A is among the highest-profile foodservice chains to adopt the device, as well as the first in the quick service sector, and the early results are making waves throughout the industry.
One of the three Houston franchisees saw re-order revenue increase 500 percent after installing Kallpod. Those are the types of results that make headlines, even outside of the foodservice industry.
Chick-fil-A is known for its focus on service, so when it makes a change to its customer-facing operations, the industry pays attention.
“On the surface, this addition may sound like a simple augmentation of Chick-fil-A’s standard-bearing customer service. But the numbers indicate it’s much more than that,” wrote Alicia Kelso for Forbes.
She concludes, “Chick-fil-A’s Kallpod experience…underscores how technology can facilitate better customer service. In the increasingly competitive limited-service landscape, the brands that figure out how to successfully strike the service/technology balance will have the best chances.”
Franchise Times honed in on how Kallpod encourages secondary orders, something QSR brands don’t typically see much of. The magazine interviewed Devin Deshotel, the chief operating officer for two of the Houston locations using Kallpod.
“Before we introduced Kallpod, you would hear guests say they were interested in trying a cone but didn’t want to order it with their first order placed at the counter,” Deshotel said. “Now, I often hear guests say that they are going to place their first order and will order the cone at the table. There is a tremendous opportunity for those incremental orders that were not taking place before we implemented Kallpod.”
CNBC, Nation’s Restaurant News and Today are just a few of the other national outlets to cover the partnership. Kallpod’s CEO, Gabriel Weisz, says the company is thrilled, but not entirely surprised by the amount of press it’s received since working with Chick-fil-A.
“The service industry is at a crossroads, and people can feel it,” Weisz said. “When a major brand like Chick-fil-A takes a step forward in the way it interacts with customers, that’s something that everyone is going to pay very close attention to."
Chick-fil-A is not the first big brand to use Kallpod. Marriott, HMS Host, Live Nation, Aramark, and more than 1000 other foodservice and hospitality brands have all brought on versions of the device. But the chicken franchise is the biggest QSR brand to partner with Kallpod, and Weisz predicts it won’t be the last.
“Kallpod has made a name for itself by allowing service-oriented brands to engage more effectively and more easily with their guests,” he said. “For the most part, that’s been with high-end hospitality brands and sporting & music venues that live and die by the quality of their service. But there’s a whole other world of restaurants that have a lot to gain by improving their service with Kallpod. Chick-fil-A is proof of that, and I think we are going to see a lot more QSR brands following their lead.”