Playing to Win

Games help promote customer engagement with foodservice program.

Published in FSD Update

Imagine customers actively engaging with foodservice at least once a day. That’s the reality when companies, such as Microsoft, partner with companies like Gametation, which “drives better choices using targeted, quick-to-play games,” according to the company’s website. At the Society for Foodservice Management’s annual Critical Issues Conference, Riyaz Habibbhai, director of business development for Gametation, presented the findings of a campaign his company performed with the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash. The results were impressive. (Microsoft declined to be interviewed for this article). Habibbhai says the team at Microsoft saw participation from more than 50% of the campus, which equates to 25,000 to 30,000 people.

“We thought the foodservice industry was the perfect market for these games because, for people in that industry, there are crucial times of the day when they want to capture a customer’s attention,” Habibbhai says. “How can we capture those customers’ attention and make it fun?”

How it works: Customers are invited to play on their smartphones to try to win a dining deal. If the user doesn’t win, operators can set up an ad to show up on the phone. Operators determine what and how long the game runs, how many people can win each day and how often they can play.

Game options: Habibbhai says the Gametation team initially created games based on nostalgia or prior knowledge such as Spin the Bottle or Scratch and Match. The team also develops custom games for clients such as a probability game.  

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
smoothie

Nurses often mention that at 2 p.m. they are dragging and just trying to get through their 12-hour shift. This winter I will be implementing a 2 p.m. pick-me-up, which will include a smoothie station where they can create their own smoothie to help get them through their shift. It will be filled with energy-boosting ingredients to personalize their own drink, such as bananas, almonds, spinach and even dark chocolate.

Ideas and Innovation
chili

Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that. Our plan is to boost guest engagement this winter by inviting them to design a unique chili experience. The guest chooses the type of chili first, then the vessel: bowl, bread or potato. Next, they customize their dish even further by choosing the toppings, which will be categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. The wild card, crunch and heat categories, are where my team and I will flex our creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.

Ideas and Innovation
new year party

In search of inspiration for this letter, I turned to the one I wrote for January 2017, in which I griped about some trends I wanted to toss in the new year. Twelve months later, the Sriracha trend has calmed down, food trucks seem slightly less pervasive and, while the definition of “clean” eating continues to evolve, it’s not so laser-focused on GMOs. So it seems my predictions were correct, including the one about where I’d be eating on New Year’s Day (though I had no clue my now-fiance would propose to me that night over duck noodle soup).

However, since this year has been...

Industry News & Opinion

Dining hall workers at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., have been asked to remove stickers worn in protest of working conditions at the school’s dining halls, The Stanford Daily reports.

School officials say that the stickers with the statement “Respect and a Fair Workload” go against a union-university agreement that states union members may not wear “insignia [with] any message that is vulgar, profane, or disparaging of Stanford, or that results in conflict or disruption in the workplace.”

In a conversation with The Daily, Seth Leibson, senior organizer for SEIU...

FSD Resources