TGI Fridays Digital Engagement
As the original casual dining bar and grill, TGI Fridays offers authentic American food and legendary drinks, served with genuine personal service.
Bringing people together to socialize and celebrate the freeing and liberating spirit of “Friday” was the concept’s founding premise, from which the brand promise “In Here, It’s Always Friday” was born.
As part of its competitive strategy, TGI Fridays has, in recent years, taken an enthusiastic approach to digital engagement with customers.
Their omnichannel operations have facilitated ordering online, voice ordering with Alexa including integration through the GM Marketplace, digital engagement in its brick-and-mortar locations through tablet technology, as well as social media promotions – throughout their 900+ stores.
TGI Fridays have been recognized as a disruptor in the restaurant industry, winning many awards including the CIO 100 (3x), a Digital50 award, the Most Innovative Team by the International Franchise Association, and more.
The Digital Engagement Strategy & Objectives
As a client of Pivotree since 2015, TGI Fridays approached the Pivotree team in 2018 with a request for guidance on the next phase of their platform.
This guidance would be grounded in a dynamic strategy developed by Fridays and marketing partners to innovate in marketing and segmentation.
The previous solution they had been pursuing was resulting in a complicated and more costly approach. The strategic objectives included:
Consolidation (Moving from Headless to Non-Headless)
The ecosystem of the Fridays solution involved a plethora of services provided by several companies. By upgrading to SAP Commerce 1808, Pivotree was able to:
- Replace some of the services external to SAP Commerce and thereby reduce the overall total cost of ownership (TCO);
- Support in progress enhancements to preserve the existing investment;
- Prepare the system for further consolidation while providing more advanced functionality (SAP Marketing).
Continued Support of their Trusted Partner
The needs of Fridays aligned with the capabilities of Pivotree (a long-time SAP Customer Experience System Integrator) and their partners. Having worked together for several years Pivotree was uniquely positioned to understand their current and future business needs and provide the best advice. The analysis resulted in a decision to continue the strong working relationship with Fridays to deliver this and future projects.
The SAP Customer Experience Project
TGI Fridays began its digital transformation in 2015 with Pivotree using SAP Commerce (at the time, Hybris), and trusted its ability to handle its robust enterprise needs – including 900+ stores worldwide, and an advanced marketing team, an active social media presence, complex ordering channels, and more.
With the evolution of the SAP Customer Experience portfolio, which included a move towards a more seamless integration of the stack internally, Fridays saw the opportunity to achieve a better guest experience and use the accomplishments of their commerce channel to better support their marketing channel. Fridays also required Pivotree to customize key components to deliver a branded, seamless, and enjoyable experience for guests.
The following features and functionality were part of the project:
- Upgrading SAP Commerce from 6.2 to 1808
- Leveraging SmartEdit technology as the CMS (SAP Commerce 6.2 was still dependent on WMS) – which included the website front-end redesign
- Replacing Salesforce ExactTarget with SAP Marketing Cloud
- Building customizations for advanced personalization through SAP Marketing Cloud and SAP Customer Data Cloud
- A hybrid hosting approach – SAP Commerce and Customer Data on-premise, and SAP Marketing Cloud on SAP Cloud
- Incorporating ongoing enhancements and support services
Fridays Pivotree Timeline
The project started in early 2018, beginning with the implementation of SAP Customer Data Cloud. Between October 2018 and February 2019, Pivotree upgraded SAP Commerce to 1808, followed by the conversion from headless to non-headless. This introduced SmartEdit as the CMS. The customer also took this opportunity to refresh their website look and feel when they transferred the UI to SAP Commerce.
Along with this upgrade, Pivotree was able to complete the integration of SAP Customer Data to provide the foundation for customer preferences. SAP Marketing Cloud was delivered by June 2019, and the project will continue with the planned evolution of the overall functionality – taking advantage of the power of SAP Customer Experience as a suite. For example, in the summer of 2019, Pivotree continued to follow Fridays’ plan for a lower TCO by replacing Salesforce ExactTarget’s conﬁrmation, abandoned cart, and other emails with built-in functionality from SAP Marketing.
“Fridays’ digital transformation would not have been possible without Pivotree’s knowledge of the SAP suite of products and their ability to be agile given our short timeline.” - Chris Hansen, Sr. Director, Digital
The Technical Solution
The new TGI Fridays site uses SmartEdit as a CMS, bridging the interaction between Marketing and Commerce, and managing the menus and guest services for over 900 locations.
- Version 1808
- SAP SmartEdit
SAP Marketing Cloud
SAP Customer Data
The result is a seamless experience across Commerce and Marketing held together with a single view of the Fridays guest in their Customer Datahub. With SAP Customer Data, they were able to more effectively record and retain guests’ information, and with SAP Commerce and SAP Marketing, they could use that information for better service, no matter their place in the conversion pipeline – from anonymous to known. Incredibly, this can be administered from a single place using SmartEdit.
Fridays continue to work with partners that help them decrease TCO while delivering more value to the business and their guests. This project lowered TCO by moving to non-headless, leveraging top-of-class SAP technologies such as SmartEdit, SAP Customer Data, and SAP Marketing Cloud.
Having established its restaurants as leaders in the industry space – with innovative strategies, technology, and culture since the 1960s, Fridays continues to deliver on its brand promise to guests. Allowing guests to interact with their brand freely across every channel, knowing they’ll be delivering a personalized experience at every touchpoint, means they can deliver the promise of Fridays in every guest engagement.