How do you create the right kind of environment in order to be part of someone’s consideration set? As the Chief Experience Officer of TGI Fridays, the familiar neighborhood restaurant chain, Sherif Mityas, has been leveraging his background in merchandising, marketing, and retail, to figure this out.
Sherif really wanted to know, how does one create guest loyalty? After many years of experience, he understood that the various components of retail success were ultimately tied to the customer and their end satisfaction. He knows that it’s not about having the best burger or the coldest beer. People only care about the experience they get when they come to a restaurant or the experience they want when they’re at home and want food delivered.
Determine Your Customer Touchpoints and Map Them Out
Sherif shares that when he first stepped his role, he had to think through the customer touchpoints that matter. These are the times before they’re thinking about food and the experience, while they’re in the midst of the experience, and once they’ve left. He recognized these various points needed to be mapped out.
Within the first 60 days in the role, Sherif tells us that he got all of the key people in a room and explained the importance of disrupting the silo. It was important to break down the concept of initiatives and take action to make real movements that positively affected customers and the business. In addition to mapping out a journey based on touchpoints, Sherif knew they needed first-person feedback. They needed to understand how people interact with Fridays. They did this by interacting with guests, chatting with them in the restaurant and at the bars, in order to understand the touchpoints that matter most.
Create a System for Forward Movement
According to Sherif, there were a lot of different initiatives that were in place, but it was time to take a step back and pause some of the initiatives. They needed to think macro in terms of moving forward. Sherif and his team created a system of three gates that every new idea needed to filter through.
Gate 1: Will this provide a more frictionless experience for the guest? If it doesn’t pass gate one, it doesn’t move forward. The guest needs to acknowledge that this is something that would make their life easier.
Gate 2: Can it be executed? If it’s a customer request that can’t be accommodated, then it won’t happen. Field through the requests that make sense.
Gate 3: Is it going to have an ROI? Whatever the initiative is, it has to be measurable and move the needle. Develop the plus one mantra. Will it incrementally lead to more guests? Will there be an incremental increase in dollars for this?
I highly recommend listening to the episode to hear some of the tactics that Sherif and his team put into place in order to improve both the guest and employee experience.
Gather Your Information and Analyze Priorities as a Team
Sherif tells us that he and his team got together in a room and did a data dump. They posted a lot of pieces of paper on the walls and then started bucketing the information into groups. Then they had to synthesize this information by deciding their next steps.
According to Sherif, they thought through this in terms of a funnel, prioritizing items across two dimensions. The first lens is to consider what they believe the potential impact will be. And the second lens is through the “plus one” criteria. Of course, this requires thinking through the lens of execution. Sherif shares that he reports to the CEO who’s extremely supportive. This support helped move the work forward.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“I wish I knew that you don’t have to solve everything on day one. This is not a sprint. You know, especially in this role is the chief experience officer. Because you almost feel like you have to prove, oh my god, this role exists. You don’t have to try to solve everything on day one, or week one, or even month one; just take the time to do it, right. Because the results when you do it, right, speak for themselves.”
About Sherif MityasSherif Mityas is the Chief Experience Officer for TGI FRIDAYS with oversight for the Brand’s Strategy, Marketing, Operations, Technology and Digital efforts. Mr. Mityas has more than 20 years’ experience in the retail and hospitality industries in both senior consulting and executive industry roles.
Prior to joining TGI FRIDAYS, Mr. Mityas served as the Managing Partner for JS Consulting and as the Chief Executive Officer for Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery.
Mr. Mityas received a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University, a M.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and an M.B.A. from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.