News Feature | May 1, 2017

Restaurant And Hospitality News – May 1, 2017

Christine Kern

By Christine Kerncontributing writer

Papa Murphy's Logo

In news this week, Papa Murphy’s jumps on the home delivery bandwagon with a beta test via Amazon Prime Now; and hotels need to leverage the Guest Feedback Cycle in order to make the most of their booking and loyalty numbers.

Papa Murphy’s Partners With Amazon For Test Deliveries

Pizza chain Papa Murphy’s has teamed with Amazon to launch a new beta test for delivery service at seven restaurants in the Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington areas in an effort to leverage the growing trend in the restaurant industry. Papa Murphy’s opened 109 new stores in the fiscal year ending December 28, 2016, and reported a 5.6 percent increase in revenue.  The new trial delivery is available to Amazon Prime customers via the mobile app or the website. Users are able to place orders and track their status.

Jean Birch, Board Chair and interim Chief Executive Officer of Papa Murphy’s Holdings, Inc., asserted, “While top-line results continued to be challenged, we are pleased that we were able to maintain profitability in the quarter by focusing  on cost controls and company-store margins. As we look ahead, we believe we have made progress sin 2017 and are on the right track to return this system to growth.” Among new initiatives are national cable television advertising, an inaugural strategic refranchising transaction to grow the business, right-sizing SG&A expenses while refocusing resources, and, in addition, “launched a delivery test with Amazon’s Restaurant Delivery Service, Prime Now. We have a long way to go in an increasingly competitive environment, but believe we are on the right track to ultimately reward all of our franchise owners, employees, and shareholders.”

According to Dan Harmon, senior vice president of operations for Papa Murphy’s, the test was designed to discover how the company can best integrate delivery services into its daily operations, including examining cost structure and customer responses.  “One of our top priorities for 2017 is to become even more convenient for our customers, and adding delivery is a way to help accomplish that objective,” Harmon told The Nation’s Restaurant News. “We anticipate delivery being a win for our customers and a win for our franchise owners as we refine the implementation with this test.” 

Papa Murphy’s is unique in the pizza business, because customer bake the pizzas at home. This is a potential plus for delivery, since it eliminates the possibility that the pie will get cold while on their way to the customers. “Partnering with Amazon Restaurants makes us even more convenient for our customers,” asserted Birch. “Our product is uniquely suited for delivery because, unlike a cooked pizza, it arrives fresh for customers to bake easily at home when it fits their schedule.”

Guest Feedback Cycle Is Crucial To Hotel Bookings

According to TrustYou, The traveler experience begins and ends with guest feedback. In fact, guest feedback is so important that very few travelers will book a hotel without having read at least a few reviews in advance. Reviews give your hotel more visibility, which leads to more guests seeing your property and ultimately more bookings. Through each stage of the cycle- booking, the onsite experience, and the post-stay feedback, hotels need to create an optimum experience for users that will guarantee that they book and return to book in the future. When this cycle is leveraged properly, hotels can guarantee a positive impact on travelers and create a cycle of booking one customer in order to deliver another.

TrustYou identifies three stages of the cycle and how guest feedback influences each one. Stage 1 is Booking. Research demonstrates that 95 percent of travelers research their hotel choices by reading reviews. That means that those hotels that leverage reviews are at a distinct advantage to book business. Hotel ratings and structured reviews are crucial elements in the guest feedback cycle.

Stage 2, or the Onsite experience, also plays an important role in incubating a traveler’s feedback. Frictionless communication options provide hotels with the means to provide quality guest services in ways that will encourage positive guest reviews. Real-time communication can help forestall negative reviews by resolving issues or complaints quickly and efficiently. The happier your guests, the better the reviews.

Stage 3, or the post-stay feedback, is also important, as guest loyalty is the direct result of a positive experience. Guests provide responses through a wide range of channels, including guest surveys, online travel sites, and social media, but half of all feedback is collected via an establishment’s own guest surveys.  Research also demonstrates that hotels that solicit guest reviews return an average 8 percent higher overall rating than those that do not. And since three-quarters of all travelers say they are willing to spend more money on hotels with higher ratings, the effort necessary to elicit these reviews is definite worth the investment.