Investment in Technology
This year, Wingstop is planning to double down on its technological efforts as it continues its journey toward “digitizing every transaction.”
The chain is starting a five-year investment strategy centered around three main facets: globalizing the U.S. digital platform to ensure success for the international business, modernizing and building a business intelligence platform, and elevating and advancing the end-to-end customer experience.
In 2021 alone, Wingstop will invest more than $10 million in capital to establish the foundation of the strategy.
“Now is not a time to rest on our laurels, but instead we must invest,” Morrison said. “We believe the brands that have gone before us regret not making such an investment and realize how hard it is to unwind multiple platforms all over the world after the fact. We’re at another inflection point in our business and believe this critical investment will protect our leading digital position well into the future.”
Wingstop will launch this strategy from an outstanding starting point. In Q1 digital mixed more than 63 percent, compared to 43.3 percent last year. The brand’s database, which is filled with more than 20 million users, has been fueled by an influx of new customers. Wingstop is leveraging its CRM platform to engage these users and increase frequency, which led to a 12-month high in customer retention levels in Q1.
More specifically, Wingstop is attaching information to customers so it can understand their preferences and inviting them back more aggressively. The chain’s long-term goal has been to attract heavy quick-service restaurant users—a type of customer that has a higher income and uses quick-service more than Wingstop’s core users.
And the brand is seeing those types of guests in large numbers. Wingstop would like these customers to visit again within a 90-day period, and hopefully turn them into a heavier Wingstop user at five times per quarter. The restaurant also leveraged an advertising surplus in Q1 to target these heavy quick-service users.
“I think we are starting to see, albeit very early, signs that we are seeing some momentum gaining,” Morrison said. “Because we believe if we can get those guests not to just be once-a-quarter, but even more frequently than that, it can have a meaningful impact on our top line performance. So it is a big lever we’re pulling. We’re applying a lot of resources to it, and we have seen the effectiveness of that strategy start to take place during the first and early second quarter.”