Zizzi talks about its huge digital transformation as it prepares to become a super brand

By QSR Automations

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Zizzi QSR Automations

The Azzurri Group is one of the UK’s largest casual dining groups, operating three national brands, ASK Italian, Coco di Mama and Zizzi across over 200 locations, while employing just over 5,500 staff and serving 13 million meals a year.

Zizzi was founded in 1999, with its first restaurant opening in Chiswick. Since then, the brand has grown to over 135 restaurants in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Zizzi from its very beginning, has always sought to innovate and bring twists on Italian classics. 

The menu has evolved continuously over the past 24 years. The brand aims to constantly innovate to ensure the menu is in-line with consumer trends while bringing innovation to the table. In November of 2020, Zizzi launched what was perhaps its biggest menu change in its history, bringing lots of innovation to the table, which has now made its way out nationally. 

Zizzi’s digital transformation started in January 2020, with the aim of providing the UK’s leading dining experience, supported through thoughtful use of technology. “No one comes to a restaurant to have a technology experience. They come to a restaurant to connect with their friends, family and colleagues, but we wanted to use technology to make that experience better, says Azzurri Group’s digital and technology director, Joel Robinson.

“We don’t believe that technology should be developed or delivered in isolation from the rest of the proposition, so what we did was really look end-to-end, right through from kitchen design to menu design, to service proposition, using technology to really answer the question of how can we put our customers in control of the experience and how can we ensure we’re delivering against their needs.

“We chose QSR’s ConnectSmart Kitchen quite simply because it was by far the leading platform in the sector. We loved the ability to be able to configure dish timings and dish routings on a course-by-course, dish-by-dish, site-by-site basis, which is really important when you have a business that operates in over 135 different sites which all look slightly different.”

By implementing kitchen management software, Zizzi was primarily looking to improve its speed of service and grow sales through creating capacity in-restaurant and use that capacity to either serve more covers or grow its average check size. 

By living in a data driven world, Zizzi was able to ensure everything was measurable. The brand took the sites where they had deployed QSR’s ConnectSmart Kitchen technology and measured them across 14 different metrics, including speed of service, sales growth, covers growth and employee satisfaction. They then compared QSR’s trajectory across all the sites which didn’t have the kitchen management platform. 

“On speed of service, we measure the number of items we produce every hour and we saw they grew by over 5% relative to the rest of the estate - so that’s real evidence the platform is allowing us to serve our customers faster. Faster service allows us to sell more items and we’ve seen a significant improvement and growth in participation of over 2%. The other thing we’ve seen a huge improvement in is team member satisfaction. We’ve seen a considerable reduction in turnover and an increase in retention, particularly for our chef teams, because they love working with the technology and we saw an over 10% point improvement in employee NPS. This shows that when you give great digital tools and equipment to team members, you really do see the results.

“QSR’s ConnectSmart Kitchen is enabling us to measure productivity in a way we’ve never been able to before. The primary measure for us with QSR is speed of service and bump time within that. Our target is that all of our dishes should be produced in 12 minutes or less and we’re currently achieving that over 80% of the time. The data from the ConnectSmart Kitchen Platform is now used in our menu development process to help us understand where we have opportunities to improve the brand wide proposition and with our operations team to help us understand where we can improve site level performance.   

“We’re really proud of the digital transformation we’ve delivered and there’s loads more to come over the coming months and all of it is designed to do the same thing, which is to improve and enhance the customer experience and improve and enhance our team member experience,” concludes Robinson.

To find out more about QSR Automations ConnectSmart Kitchen Platform and how the technology can help to play a key role in driving your digital transformation, visit QSR Automations​ online or call (UK) 020 3870 4571 (US) 855 980-7328. 

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