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Innovation to Push Through COVID-19

Even in the darkest times, we Spark!

The last months have completely changed the way the fast-food industry works. The biosecurity measures and the new threats to our customers’ and employees’ health have catalyzed innovation in our Buffalo Wild Wing units around Houston. Our teams are thinking day and night of new ways to improve takeout/curbside/delivery and offer the best service while keeping our customers and our workers safe during these uncertain times of COVID-19.

We want to highlight the efforts of our team in Sugarland, Texas, that came up with a magnificent system to manage the orders, especially to keep up the pace during the busy hours. The team was facing several problems regarding order management, ensuring customers maintain social distancing, and solving problems with customers arriving early to pick up their orders.

“After 6 pm, it becomes massive.” says the Sugarland Team, “We usually have a swarm of guests surrounding the tent outside. This can also put guests in danger when there are multiple cars trying to leave/park.”´ To deal with this, the team invented a new system to organize the employees in the following jobs:

· Web Outside Names · Outside Names · Caller · Runner · Payment Runner · Inside Names · Phones/Tablets · Bagger · Side Bagger

The process starts on the sidewalk near the front of the building, which is roped to make two lines: the line of the Web Orders and one for the Call ahead orders (6 feet apart from each other, of course). The “Outside Name” employee will get the names and phone numbers of 5 guests at the time and give it to the “runner” that will deliver it to the “Inside Name” employee. Once the orders are ready, the “runners” will call the guests for them to come back and pick it up. “This way guests can park anywhere they want and our "Runners" don't have to walk around the whole parking lot to find them. It will also limit how many people will be at the tent at the time.” Says the Sugarland Team.

Regarding orders management inside the kitchen, the “bagger” plays a key role, since they manage the web tickets. They will give the HOH the tickets 20-30 minutes before the order’s delivery promise time. If someone arrives early, the bagger will push their ticket and have the cooks add it to the ones being made.

In order to avoid infection risks during money handling, the Call Ahead and Walk-In customers will handle their payment to the Outside Name employee and these will request a “Payment Runner”. The Unit gives the guests a small card that says, “I am waiting for your payment” and tell them to stand by the tent so the employees can get their payment back to them. The payment runner will then bring them their payment back and throw away the small card. “We will tell the guest to patiently wait in their car and will call them when their food is ready.”

The system is designed to make the customer experience the easiest, fastest, and most comfortable possible while eliminating contagion risks in the process. Spark is proud to have employees like those in the Sugarland Team and we want to congratulate them for the great effort and for such fantastic ideas. Our goal is to always be in front of the trends in the industry and these initiatives are the ones that allow us to stay one step ahead.

Thank you for showing everyone that even in difficult times, we tackle the challenge and SPARK!

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