With more than 2,000 locations nationwide, the Chick-fil-A quick-service chicken restaurant chain has experienced decades of successful expansion while regularly receiving industry awards for customer service and satisfaction. Chick-fil-A has long been known for innovative, out-of-the-box thinking, including being the first quick-service restaurant chain to enter shopping malls.
Chick-fil-A wanted to build on its record of innovation and repeatedly being named one of America’s favorite food establishments by launching a customer loyalty program. However, analytics staff faced a tough task trying to build consensus and buy-in among the number of internal departments that would need to contribute to a seamless loyalty program execution. Franchisees wanting to reward customer loyalty had effectively started creating their own loyalty program initiatives at their locations. Independent loyalty programs meant that customer reward data was not being captured across the brand and the loyalty experience did not transfer between locations.
The company’s expansion and growth had left data in disconnected pockets, often inaccessible without help from IT. Different departments were using different data tools, unable to easily join data from multiple sources or rapidly process large volumes of data without writing code. For a loyalty app to succeed in the long run, Supply Chain Analytics Manager Justin Winter ultimately knew he needed to be able to deploy and share analytics at scale. A tactic that would help accomplish this objective was to connect Chick-fil-A’s disparate data together — connecting and cleansing data from data warehouses, cloud applications, spreadsheets, and more.
Committed to providing a cohesive loyalty program that would honor the brand, Chick-fil-A decision-makers agreed to work together to develop an app-based loyalty program dubbed Chick-fil-A One™. However, delivering a great customer experience while using the app depended on addressing the company’s legacy analytics toolkit and finding a solution that could help operationalize the app’s rigorous analytics needs. Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A was ramping up new analytics capabilities, using new solutions including Alteryx, Amazon Redshift, and Tableau, across a variety of functions in the organization. Winter and other groups of users found success using Alteryx in their day-to-day analytics activities and decided to try Alteryx to bring their loyalty program to market.
Winter shared the group’s epiphany while trying to patch together early versions Chick-fil-A One saying, “We had been holding it together by writing manual SQL scripts and sending Excel-based emails to try to make it work for the pilot. We were trying to move to a process that we could launch in a few months, which led us to the big question: How are we going to actually do this? The answer for us was Alteryx. We realized that our Chick-fil-A analysts could actually build out the customer personalization aspects themselves, like how we’re going to give free food to customers. It made sense to have the analysts who already know the financials or the customer response build out those aspects.”
Winter was able to apply knowledge from the business owners directly to the app as he leveraged existing tools and infrastructure. During Chick-fil-A One development, he enjoyed using Alteryx to manipulate billions of customer records within Amazon Redshift, filtering out just the pertinent data he needed for Tableau functions as well — with all efforts taking mere hours instead of weeks as they might have before with existing company servers and limited analytics options.
Being able to empower both data analysts and line-of-business users to quickly perform their own analytics eased pressure on every department involved in the cross-organizational effort of bringing Chick-fil-A One to market, ultimately helping move it from concept to reality in a mere two months.
And as if that alone wasn't enough, the team’s work in developing the loyalty program was instantly rewarded when Chick-fil-A One became the most downloaded app during its first two days in the Apple app store, garnering positive attention from both customers and press. Poised to now further innovate, expand, and manage Chick-fil-A One’s features, Justin and his team are excited to support customers, franchisees, and the Chick-fil-A journey in the process.