When The Halal Guys started as a New York City food cart in 1990, technology was the furthest thing from the founders’ minds. Today, the growing and thriving restaurant is rapidly expanding, thanks largely to a customer-focused digital approach to dining.
The brand recently underwent a design of its 100-plus franchise locations to showcase its story and give customers the authentic feel of ordering from a New York City street cart—but with stronger digital options.
Customers will always seek out great food, but they increasingly want a digital dining experience. Chief Development Officer Margaret Carrera says being open to evolving with new technology demands has allowed The Halal Guys to innovate and offer new digital capabilities. Technology has the power to enhance how people experience the food, from ordering to the in-restaurant dining and delivery experiences.
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Years before the pandemic, the company began looking for new ways to evolve the customer experience with technology to stay ahead of changing trends and demands, including adopting a smoother, cloud-based point-of-sale system in 2017. Having an eye toward the future allowed The Halal Guys to adapt and evolve on its own timeline instead of being forced to quickly adapt digital methods during the pandemic.
The Halal Guys also added a mobile loyalty program that allows customers to earn rewards and order through the app. Increasing the brand’s capability allowed it to connect with more customers and made it easier for customers to order personalized menu items on their schedule.
Hand in hand with digital tools is an increase in data. Carrera says The Halal Guys is very involved in understanding customers’ preferences and patterns through data, largely through their app usage. Data drives every decision, starting with the site selection process as the brand expands to new locations. By understanding customers, The Halal Guys can deliver outstanding service and locations to meet their needs.
Carrera acknowledges that digitizing the experience and integrating new technology is often time-consuming and difficult, especially across so many locations. But the results have established The Halal Guys as a leading customer-centric restaurant. As customers evolve, a digital approach to dining opens brands to new opportunities for growth and connection.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.