Since kicking off the program January 1, Mooyah has seen tangible success. Compared to the same time last year, Mooyah is up 300 percent on the number of 5-star Google reviews.
In the first three days, Mooyah doubled the number of daily Google reviews it received in all of December. Mooyah started 2019 with an overall star average of 4.2. In the last two and a half months the average has increased to 4.5. “Every single month we improve on our rating,” Anderson-Liu says.
The new program is in place at 70 locations and, of those participating, 38 restaurants are now in the top three search results on Google Maps, she adds.
“You have to overcome those negative reviews from the past,” Anderson-Liu says. “So, these increases—even 0.3—are really, really great. We're really encouraged by that.”
Here’s how Mooyah is doing it. Instead of incentivizing customers to post positive reviews on their own, the brand is motivating its team members and franchisees to solicit the positive reviews from customers. Mooyah rewards team members whenever their name is mentioned in a five-star review.
“We found that this program would help us by turning every shopper into a mystery shopper in our team members’ minds,” Anderson-Liu says. “We thought if we could change their mindset a little bit to say, ‘this isn’t just a guest’ or ‘this is just a person in front of me,’ this is somebody who could actually improve my livelihood and my standing here at Mooyah.”
Along with recognition by the brand, employees who are called out in a positive review can choose from different rewards depending on how many reviews come in each month. The different tiers include rewards when a team member reaches five or more reviews in a month and a second tier of different gifts when an employee reaches 10 reviews. If a team member achieves 11-plus reviews in a month they are entered into a $250 value gift raffle. Each quarter, the franchisees with the highest rating will receive a cash reward.
Employee retention has improved since the program kicked off in January, Anderson-Liu says.
“By rewarding the team members instead of the guests, we're getting them to stick around a little bit longer than they might have otherwise,” she says.
Anderson-Liu notes that millennials make up a large part of Mooyah’s workforce and they enjoy being recognized for their hard work. The top employees are called out by name in the company’s biweekly newsletter and that’s a rewarding experience, she says.
“We've gotten really great feedback from team members, which we often don't hear,” Anderson-Liu says. “We're getting tons of thank you emails from them, just for recognizing them and finding a way to connect with them in a way that matters to them, which is sometimes difficult. To be able to recognize those people who are working really hard and who are the heart of our brand is great.”
The program is motivating employees to interact more with customers and pay attention to details that might have been overlooked before. From ordering to table touches, workers are finding different ways to encourage guests to leave a review. In some cases, they’re also helping rectify a situation before it turns into a negative review. When a business resolves a complaint in the customer’s favor, they are likely to do return and do business with the brand again 70 percent of the time, according to Lee Resources.
Employees are now using instruction cards to help guests learn about the program and guide them through the process to leave a review.
“We equip our team members with these cards and then we've trained them to look for specific opportunities, like table touches,” Anderson-Liu says. “When we go around and do that table touch and ask them how their meal is. If they say, ‘Well, it wasn't great,” it allows us to catch that and make it right on the spot.”