Mitchells & Butlers says that more than half of the restaurant bookings it receives are now carried out online following investments it has made in new technology.
The pub chain, which runs 1,800 sites, regards innovation and technology as “critical areas” for its business in terms of efficiency, attracting and interacting with guests and remaining competitive in its markets.
“A key area of focus is to build on our existing technology, given the systems investment we have made in recent years,” it said. “We have developed our online bookings system to increase the availability of short-term bookings and to integrate with third party booking providers to extend our reach.”
As a result, more than half its restaurant bookings are now made online and it is now exploring additional ways to improve efficiency and the guest experience, including enhanced WiFi provision in its sites and the trialling of alternative payment technology.
Mitchells & Butlers has also developed its digital strategy across key guest interaction areas: acquisition, experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and social media.
“The relentless nature of digital development is such that we must continually enhance our skills in this area. In the last year we developed five new brand apps, which have collectively had more than 400,000 downloads, and achieve a significantly higher booking conversion rate than through traditional email communication,” it said.
It is now looking to build on this through the addition of loyalty incentives into forthcoming apps for Browns and Miller & Carter. It has increased its social media presence, consolidated 10 million guests’ details on its central database, gift card sales have increased by more than 40% and it has have carried out several successful campaigns with affiliates.
Food delivery is also an area that the chain is assessing. It has carried out an initial successful trial with Deliveroo across 25 All Bar One and Browns sites.
“Given the early success, we are working to roll this out further across our brands, in different locations and with different third party providers,” it said. “We believe that this model can apply to around a quarter of the estate, and that it provides a good opportunity to generate incremental sales.”