Cutlery chattering, whispers of waiting customers, laughter of eating customers, the mixed aroma of chicken and pizza, the sound of sizzling oil, kids running around, shop attendants mentioning orders, the lady biting into the cheesy pizza. This was the scene of a typical shop owned by Simbisa, one of the largest food-chains in Africa operating the Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn, Creamy Inn, Galito’s and Rocomamas brands in Ghana – until COVID-19 hit. Business were closed and forced to operate remotely, restaurants had to provide only delivery and takeout orders, social gatherings were prohibited, schools and a whole host of activities were shut down.
Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, regular patrons and customers reduced spending and stopped eating outside of home which badly affected restaurants, the likes of Pizza inn and Chicken whose primary customer base dine-in in person.
The client wanted a way to offer customers the typical experience they would have at their shops without breaching any defined COVID19 protocols. When people continue staying at home, they miss out on the great food and great customer experience at in-person touchpoints, which may be harmful to the brand and their overall sales performance.
We created Roadhouse – a contactless brand experience. The concept was simple. Make the whole dine-in experience contactless without the customer having to step into the shop.
We set up a space at the forefront of the shop with very attractive lights and ambience where customers can park their cars and relax. Attendants offer customers a scannable menu from which they choose what they want to be served with. The attendants prepare their orders in their car wait in their car.
Throughout the time customers wait for their orders and eat their meals, they get to connect to an audio frequency on their car’s radio system to listen to some good music from the on-site DJ.
All these happen without any human contact.
After weeks of its success, we introduced a variety of new activities on the nights of Roadhouse so customers get preferred experiences from different music genres, movies, karaoke and sports.
Roadhouse brought out more customers. The volumes of customers that came in after the pandemic hit increased considerably since they could actually dine-in and observe social distancing and all other COVID19 protocols. The music, movies, sports and karaoke added to experience so customers had a hitherto undone food experience. We retained existing customers who had drawn back out of home meals and attracted new customers who were looking a different experience than what the pandemic presented.
Due to its success, we replicated the concept with a mobile food experience at Community 25 Mall – Tema, which successfully took off in its first week and attracted a lot of new customers.