Can Gamifying a Restaurant Get You Better Service?
by Sarah Kessler - Mashable - November 30, 2011
Quick Pitch: Objective Logistics’ software, Muse, rewards waitstaff and sales staff for good work.
Genius Idea: Automatically determining work performance based on criteria such as sales, tips, surveys and customer acquisition data.
Several startups have taken stabs at making work feel more like playing a game. Badgeville, for instance, rewards employees for activities such as watching training videos or sharing links to job openings. Bunchball and Seriosity offer similar motivations.
But in sales and restaurant environments, where nobody is sitting in front of a computer, these programs aren’t as viable. Objective Logistics hopes to provide a solution that seemlessly integrates with the point of sale machines that these companies are already using.
The startup recently raised a $1.5 million round of funding led by Google Ventures and Atlas Venture, and it is beta testing its software, Muse, in a 17-unit chain of restaurants called Not Your Average Joe’s. Muse uses data from customer payments, including sales and tips, to track each employee’s performance. Employees who perform the best win the shifts they prefer.
This simple beta version of the platform, says Objective Logistics co-founder Philip Beauregard, has resulted in a 1.8% increase in sales and an 11% increase in gratuities throughout the Not Your Average Joe’s chain.
It’s not surprising that giving workers an incentive to work hard improves their performance. Sales commissions appeared on the scene long ago. What’s surprising is that Muse, which the startup plans to sell using a subscription model, works across multiple types of point of sale systems.
“[Point of Sale] integration is mind-blowingly difficult,” Beauregard says.”What we did is build what amounts to being the Mars Rover or Rosetta Stone of point-of-sale systems.”
Beaugard says he will use the new funding to incorporate other rewards in the platform and add a feature that offers employees tips for how they can improve their performance. An employee who sells a lot of appetizers but doesn’t ever sell desserts, for instance, might receive an incentivised “mission” to sell a certain number of after-dinner treats in one night.
“We aim to create a meritocracy in [the restaurant and sales enviornment],” he says.