More than ten years ago, Mike Repetti started his journey with The Habit as the first person in the IT department at store #37. Today, information technology is the second largest department at The Habit Burger Grill, allowing us to focus on enhancing our mobile ordering app which surpassed 1.81 downloads in March of 2022.
Repetti’s drive for innovating The Habit’s tech is evident in the way he speaks about his goals to improve both guest-facing and operator experiences. Below, hear from him on multiple aspects of The Habit’s tech differentiators and how they evolved over his ten years with the brand:
What are the main technological aspects that differentiate The Habit Burger Grill from other fast-casual burger concepts?
MR: The Habit is a very operator-centric company, and we really put our money where our mouth is when using technology as a strategic advantage. The brand in general is very operations-focused and it helps that my team and I have experience in that aspect. We acquire technology and we optimize it for our goals, like automating the system so our people can spend that time focusing on guests, rather than tech issues.
How would you say The Habit mobile app has enhanced owner operations?
MR: When we started on our digital journey, we made a very conscious decision to remain customer service oriented in-store. We didn’t want to just have a utilitarian ordering app. So, we invented the concept of digital hospitality, to portray the smiling welcoming cashier through our app too. We added a lot of features in the app that are popular with the guests – favoriting items, accessing previous orders, the ability to pay in 2-3 steps—we even send texts to guests to let the know when the order is ready or when we receive the order. It enhances the ordering experience.
How do you see The Habit’s technology advancing or changing in 2022 to keep up with online order demands amid the pandemic?
MR: We were in better shape than most concepts when the pandemic hit because we made the decision early-on to invest in our digital journey and tech stack. Soon after the lock downs began, we quickly rolled out pop-up drive thrus within the first 10 days and family meal bundles within 30 days. We pivot quickly and we’re known for it. From an operator standpoint, one of the things we do best is multi-channel innovation. Restaurant operators need a way to turn off digital orders or limit hours if there’s a staffing issue, supply chain issue, plumbing issue, etc. In order to manage all those variables, we built a platform that does all of that, while others may have to log in to 6-7 different systems to make those changes.
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