Wingstop’s digital presence has produced the biggest impact lately. Digital sales increased to 27.6 percent of domestic systemwide sales in Q4. It hit a company record 30 percent in January.
“Guests can now order from a slick user interface that first gauges their need for wings from snacky to starving with a wing calculator,” he said. “I think you get the sense that we have upped the fun factor and have given a decidedly Wingstop flavor to online ordering.
Digital transactions on average are $5 higher. “We think that we can continue to drive digital sales, without employing discounts or incentives, like other brands,” Morrison said.
Wingstop’s marketing strategy also pushed into more digital advertising while incorporating elements from the new “Where Flavor Gets Its Wings” campaign, which launched last week.
Wingstop is hoping the new promotion, which features in-store and TV advertising along with digital, will lead the brand closer to digitizing every Wingstop transaction.
“Closing this gap by creating more top-of-mind brand awareness of Wingstop is the essential first step in attracting and retaining incremental customers, which we believe that we'll have a huge opportunity to expand our audience to quick-service restaurants users, as they learn about Wingstop,” Morrison said. “We expect that our 2019 advertising is going to be a large source of that awareness.”
Another part of Wingstop’s digital takeover involves the launch of delivery. All delivery orders are made digitally, Morrison said. The new Wingstop website is enhancing the customer experience while ordering online.
Wingstop began testing delivery in select markets in April 2017 and started rolling out the service in November 2018. The rest of the system will soon follow, Morrison said.
Unlike other brands that have rolled out delivery systemwide in one burst, Wingstop’s approach was slow and strategic. The rigorous testing was done so the company could make sure product quality and overall guest satisfaction would mirror a customer’s dine-in experience.
At the end of 2018, 30 percent of Wingstop restaurants offer were on board. Delivery capabilities will continue to spread throughout 2019. The company expects to be at 50 percent saturation midway through the year and up to 80 percent by the end of 2019, Morrison said.
“We have been extremely thoughtful in our approach with delivery, which can be demonstrated with the extensive testing we performed, which started in the Las Vegas market in April of 2017,” Morrison said. “ We ultimately felt like we clearly understood the impact of delivery and—what it would have on our business. We have a clearly defined playbook to execute, as we start the national roll-out.”
As 75 percent of the brand’s business is already take-out, Wingstop is well positioned to handle delivery, he added. While testing showed that Wingstop’s delivery customer and carry-out customer are different, there is room for overlap—almost 20 percent—that will hopefully drive future traffic.
“Our customers prefer to bring their product to home or to an occasions that they're at,” Morrison said. “And so with that, we've been able to demonstrate that it is a highly incremental occasion for us.”