In order to stay ahead of the intense competition within the fast casual segment, Le Boulanger needed to gauge the customer experience and utilize the data to optimize the guest experience, identify training gaps to improve employee performance and drive guest loyalty.
Partnering with PerformanceScope, Le Boulanger successfully rolled out the Guest Excellence program to measure and quantify guest experiences. Le Boulanger was able to track which elements of the guest experience made a positive impact on guests and increased their likelihood to return and become loyal customers. Le Boulanger has also been able to apply Guest Excellence results to decrease their overall kitchen cost which has lead to significant savings.
Le Boulanger is the Bay Area’s premier bakery café and offers a wide variety of award-winning breads and pastries, as well as freshly prepared soups, salads and sandwiches. Le Boulanger is a family-owned business whose baking has won numerous awards for its San Francisco sourdough and 20 varieties of other breads and pastries. One of few remaining family-owned and operated businesses, it started on the principals of a family baking tradition. With 18 locations, Le Boulanger continues to thrive by offering its guests an outstanding commitment to a premier guest experience.
Today Le Boulanger operates three successful divisions of the company: retail, wholesale, and catering. Le Boulanger’s retail business continues to flourish as it recently opened its latest location at the new domestic terminal of the San Jose International Airport (SJC). Le Boulanger catering continues to fuel the creative minds driving the dot.com industry, providing fresh coffee and sandwiches to countless executive board meetings at businesses throughout the Silicon Valley. Le Boulanger’s wholesale division bakes for country clubs, chain restaurants, colleges, caterers, business and industrial foodservice caterers, airports, stadiums, sports arenas, hotels, independent restaurants, delis and more.
Due to their growth and guest appeal, Le Boulanger sought an expert in the measurement of the guest experience to help drive guest affinity. “There were a few companies that we could have chosen to work with, but PerformanceScope’s Guest Excellence program was best suited for our needs because it really targeted the fast casual segment and spoke our language,” says Jeff Brunello, of Le Boulanger.
Le Boulanger was looking to better connect with customers and wanted direct contact whenever possible. “We wanted to know what our guests thought was working in our locations and what could be improved,” offers Brunello. “Anything we can do to set us apart from our competitors and invest in driving our guests back to our locations was an initiative we were willing to undertake and see through over the long term,” adds Brunello.
With a proud and time-honored history spanning 88 years, Le Boulanger is proud to exceed expectations in customer satisfaction and firmly holds its place as the Bay Area’s premier bakery/café.
Company-Wide Accountability and Visibility
Le Boulanger employed PerformanceScope’s Guest Excellence program to track customer comments, compliments and complaints and provide structure to the feedback process. Prior to the implementation of Guest Excellence customer feedback was handled at a corporate level. There was no location-level involvement about the feedback received, or how it was resolved or managed. Today, with Guest Excellence, store managers are able to investigate feedback, track the dialogue between the store and the customer, and utilize this form of guest engagement to personalize the customer experience and drive guest affinity by reducing customer churn. “Now when we receive positive or negative feedback, we are able to take that insight right to the front lines and identify where we made a customer happy or not-so-happy. We can take that nugget of feedback and use it improve the way we do business and take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation. Staff are held accountable for the resolution process and in turn, best practices become entrenched,” commented Brunello.
“Guest Excellence provides Le Boulanger with a process that tracks customer complaints and compliments through to resolution, and more importantly, this information is now available for viewing throughout Le Boulanger. Now, everyone from corporate-level to store-level can have visibility as to how we are performing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. There is no excuse for losing track of any customer interaction. I value that greatly,” adds Brunello.
Fine-Tune Coaching and Training Ops
The guest feedback gathered by Guest Excellence also provided Le Boulanger with the ability to identify coaching and training opportunities for staff. The nuances of the employee/guest interaction define the tone of the guest experience, and if a service is missed or non-existent, Guest Excellence can help find these gaps and provide a means of closing that gap with the goal of optimizing the overall guest experience. This in turn creates a more confident staff who know what is expected of them throughout the guest experience and can be empowered to improve the guest experience independently. These best practices result in lower attrition rates and boost employee satisfaction and retention rates.
Measured Knowledge is Power
Le Boulanger prides themselves on their rich history and present-day achievements. Using Guest Excellence, Le Boulanger was able to determine their areas of strengths and weaknesses. “Now we can open our eyes to different areas. This data helps us point out the highlights and areas that need improvement,” says Brunello. One area that was greatly impacted was the kitchen costs. Using the Guest Excellence feedback about guest preferences for particular product offerings, the operations team was able to trim and consolidate expenditures resulting in lower overhead costs – a definite advantage in today’s economy. Furthermore, Le Boulanger can now identify which attributes of the guest experience lead to increased rates of affinity and which areas detract from the Le Boulanger’s overall brand promise. By knowing these details, they are able to craft products, services, and offerings that have the greatest appeal to their guests. “In terms of ROI, Guest Excellence data we are now tracking translates into increased guest frequency and word-of-mouth recommendations,” remarked Brunello. “Moreover, part of the return on investment here was getting the company excited about what we can do with data and information like this. The possibilities are endless.”