TGI Fridays is among the food chains trying to adapt to new times with a new chatbot for finding restaurants and ordering.
An article recently went viral about how casual dining chains like TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesday, and Applebee’s have been dealing with “sales slumps and dozens of restaurant closures” as a result of their fading popularity (the cliched blaming of millenials resulted a number of jokes). Considering the diminishing interest in these establishments, TGI Friday’s chatbot might be seen as an effort to appeal to the younger crowd as they’re launching it not only on the obvious platforms of Facebook and Twitter, but also Kik.
TGI Fridays vice president for strategy and brand initiatives Sherif Mityas points this out, saying “Today’s guests live in a digital world, spending large amounts of time interacting with friends and family on social platforms, and we want to meet them in the places they’re already engaging.”
The Fridays bot was made by Austin-based company Conversable, who have also worked with Wingstop and Pizza Hut for delivery bots and other food brands. Venture Beat shared a statement from them a while back, which states “Fridays will work with Conversable to expand its online reservations capabilities and also offer online orders via social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter [Direct Message], and Kik.” The bot currently helps you locate the nearest restaurant, find out their information, and make to-go orders.
The bot works like a simple multiple choice conversation and while some features like answering customer questions and making reservations online appear to still be in the works (Mityas says they have plans to “continue to expand the opportunities”), it gets the job done. When you confuse the bot, there’s an option to ask “How does it work?” which results in an explanation with a contact option—a considerate response to the way bots are prone to confusion.
It’s hard to imagine anyone just happening upon the bot except big TGI Fridays fans, and even then they are probably already on the mobile app which has significantly more thorough features. Still, it’s an interesting way to engage existing customers on social media who might not have gone in a while or are trying to find a familiar restaurant in an unfamiliar place. Either way, it’s heartening to see brands like TGI Fridays try out new technology as they adapt to a new demographic.
Are you a TGI Fridays fan? Would you use the TGI Fridays chatbot when making a trip? Let us know in the comments below!