Boka Group improves server performance with data-driven scorecards

How this restaurant group connected its POS system
with OpenTable to get actionable data

Type of restaurant
Restaurant group

Locations
23 locations in
Chicago and Los Angeles

Year founded
2002

According to a study conducted by McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are treated. While diners often show appreciation with their wallets, they also increasingly show dissatisfaction in the form of negative service reviews, making server performance a core component of any restaurant’s success.

Moving beyond manual processes

For Boka Restaurant Group, providing an outstanding experience to their diners is imperative, and they believe the foundation of that experience is server performance. Operations Manager Larry Flam needed help with creating an effective and scalable system to manage server accountability.

Flam’s process for reviewing server performance across Boka was extremely manual. You know the intel is important when an Operations Manager like Flam is willing to take the time to perform the tedious process.

By automatically connecting Boka’s POS system with OpenTable guest profiles and all online reviews, Flam leveraged our Server Scorecard to analyze server performance on both macro and micro levels. Armed with actionable data, Flam and the Boka team are putting it to use: “All the information you need to resolve an issue or acknowledge good behavior is right there for you—all of the guest information and all of the information about the dining experience is tied directly to the server’s name and their location.”

In addition to having server performance in one place, OpenTable’s Server Scorecard empowered Flam to operate efficiently. He says, “Last year I let you know that I was doing this whole process manually. And then you went and put this feature in the dashboard and you changed my life in a really positive way!”

Maximizing the server scorecard

Armed with data-backed insights, Boka changed the culture surrounding their server training to focus on key guest feedback. “We are not just training servers to get to that score of 5, which is our goal anyway,” Flam says. “Now we can utilize the data to learn, in more detail, what it is that guests are really commenting on.”

Once subjective performance reviews are now conducted with individual, objective, data-driven analyses. “Before, I would say ‘you don’t really have as good a presence at the table as you need to,’” says Flam. “But now, I can show them: ‘When you look at your feedback scores, your food knowledge is good because the score is relative to what the guests think about the food and your score is above average. But when we get to your service score, we are seeing an area you can improve.’”

This shift in approach has proven extremely effective for the Boka team, giving way to server accountability and the prioritization of internal reinvestment. With the ability to drill down into the root causes of server success (or lack thereof), morale has never been higher and servers are much more receptive to feedback.

Achieving performance success

Not content with status quo operations, the Boka team is always looking for innovative ways to improve themselves and increase their service scores.

“After this process of staff review, we have seen an improvement in every single restaurant,” Flam says. “And not only in the overall feedback scores for each restaurant, but we’ve also been able to increase check averages and tip percentages.”

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