Editor's note: Hear Mike Lester share more insights about how The Melting Pot uses guest feedback in our free webinar.

This is the age of the customer.

"The consumer has more power today to give feedback in a number of ways, from social media, websites, and call centers to actually coming in to a restaurant and having an experience," says Lonnie Mayne, president of InMoment. "They have a very loud voice."

To capture consumers' voices and present their thoughts, criticisms, and reviews on a dining experience, the industry has seen an influx of platforms to meld the consumer voice into one actionable package for operators.

One of the companies in the field creating results is InMoment. InMoment, formerly known as Mindshare Technologies but rebranded in June, listens to customer voices and presents them in a simple and neat way for restaurants. It uses what it calls the experience hub to learn about guests’ experiences, capture and centralize the data, and offer them to restaurant clients so they can improve their businesses.

For restaurants, InMoment often captures the guest experience through consumer surveys that include both open-ended and structured questions. The information that the Experience Hub spits out can help brands understand whether their identity matches with consumers' perception of them; how new dishes are perceived; how the menu can be adjusted to show a better value; and even can be used to train new staff.

Full-service restaurant clients of InMoment include The Melting Pot and Brinker International, parent company of Chili’s. The Melting Pot has worked with InMoment for six years. More recently, the brand used the information it received from InMoment to raise its perception of value with guests when it launched a new menu in January 2013.

Mike Lester, president of The Melting Pot, says he’s been told he uses InMoment in an effective and useful way. The restaurant began working with InMoment (then MindShare) in 2008, when The Melting Pot decided to move away from its mystery diner program and instead implement InMoment to survey guests about the meal, the experience, the service, and the brand in general.

"Right away, we learned some very important things about our guests that dispelled some long-held beliefs that we had within our organization," Lester recalls. “The Melting Pot is more of an experience, and we felt, as operators, that our guests enjoyed a lengthier, more paced-out experience. And by and large that's true, but what guests told us was, there were certain elements of the experience they wished could be a little more efficient."

The immediate feedback opened Lester's eyes, he says. "If we didn't realize this right away, what are some other things that we need to learn about our guests?"

That’s when The Melting Pot began asking InMoment about other aspects of the dining experience it was curious about, to drill down into guest feedback and create actionable insights.

One outcome of that was the new menu, introduced January 2013, which was the result of a yearlong test in eight Melting Pot locations. To conduct these tests, the fondue restaurant worked with InMoment to create a slightly different survey than the normal national one. Besides the core questions, guests were queried on specifics about the menu: what they liked, what they didn’t, what was working for them, what needed improvement.

“On the new menu, there were several key areas where we saw significant gains, ‘percpetion of value’ being the most obvious and dynamic one,” Lester says. “After hovering around the same level of ‘perception of value’ for the last two or three years, we ended up with this new menu shooting up 6 percentage points, which is a sizable gain. Overnight, we introduced that.”

FSR will host a webinar on Oct. 30 with Mike Lester, who will discuss more of the successes The Melting Pot has seen by working with InMoment. If interested, please register here

By Sonya Chudgar

Industry News, Marketing & Promotions, Technology, Melting Pot