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Food & Beverage
How Mama Lou's and Lark Crafted a Recipe for Success: Exceptional Service, Happier Employees
Mama Lou's embarked on a transformative journey by embracing digitalization with Lark's communication and productivity tools. The result? Streamlined processes, improved staff coordination, and elevated customer satisfaction. Modernizing their approach, Mama Lou's reached new heights, delivering an exceptional dining experience that exceeded expectations.
"As a family-based business, we embrace the power of Lark to nurture our team's potential. By consolidating platforms and streamlining processes, we create a harmonious work environment where everyone can thrive. Lark becomes our digital hearth, fostering collaboration, engagement, and innovation. When our family is strong, our customers experience the warmth and care in every interaction. Lark: empowering our family to deliver extraordinary experiences."
Mama Lou's Italian Kitchen is a restaurant brand known for serving delicious Italian cuisine with a Filipino twist. Founded in 2010 by Richard and Malou Tremblay, the restaurant started as a modest kitchen in their family home in BF Homes, Las Piñas. Today, Mama Lou's has expanded its portfolio, offering a wide range of authentic Italian dishes and Filipino favorites that appeal to all ages and cultures.
Food & Beverage
Running a restaurant comes with its fair share of challenges, and Mama Lou's management team encountered several obstacles that made their journey even tougher. Here are three of the biggest challenges they faced before they started using Lark:
The management team at Mama Lou's strived to enhance communication with their frontline staff, but encountered challenges due to the use of multiple chat platforms. This led to confusion and delays in addressing concerns, with approvals via emails and Viber creating a cumbersome process that risked lost requests.
"It was really stressful for each team to be using different platforms. I was looking for a tool where we don't have to switch apps anymore,” said Mama Lou's CEO.
Mama Lou's underwent remarkable growth with the expansion of multiple stores, leading to an influx of valuable customer feedback. However, without a standardized method to capture and handle this feedback, they faced the challenge of effectively managing it. The decentralized approach made it necessary to improve consistency and timeliness in responding to customer inquiries and concerns. Furthermore, establishing a system for stores to share insights and best practices became vital to drive continuous improvement across all locations.
Store managers at Mama Lou's faced difficulties in efficiently managing daily sales reports. The reliance on Viber chats for sharing created a manual process that burdened the finance teams with extra workload. Moreover, the use of pen-and-paper checklists hindered the ability to track and identify areas for improvement in restaurant operations.
Efficient Approval Process and Centralized Communication with Lark
Mama Lou's uses Lark to simplify the approval process for its store managers seeking approval for promotions, marketing campaigns and budgeting, which can be very frequent. Previously, these requests were shared via email or Viber, resulting in buried approval requests and last-minute requests. With Lark, the approval process becomes centralized and trackable, ensuring that approval requests are distinct and easily identifiable.
Before, getting approvals took 1-3 working days, but now it only takes hours – a clear sign of progress and efficiency.
Consolidating approval requests into a single platform enables better coordination and accountability, ensuring efficient decision-making.
"What we hate is to overwhelm one person with all the things or issues. When there's a payroll or design requests, what employees tend to do is to bombard that one person. Now it's more organized. It's less emotional and less stressful for my employees." - Mama Lou's CEO
A Recipe for 5-Star Success
Lark Moments, affectionately known as 'Mamarable' within the company, played a crucial role in connecting and communicating with store managers to ensure exceptional customer service. Richard, the founder, implemented Lark Moments to track and improve customer feedback, resulting in an outstanding dining experience.
Store managers now post daily customer feedback, whether positive or negative, and Richard personally responds to each comment with an appropriate emoji. If an issue is identified by David, the President of the group, he promptly involves the relevant personnel for resolution.
This proactive approach has contributed to Mama Lou's impressive 4 out of 5-star reviews on Facebook and continuous praise for their exceptional food and service. Through 'Mamarable,' Mama Lou’s management gains valuable visibility, while frontline staff members have the opportunity to receive recognition and learn from the best practices of other stores.
Digitizing Processes for Efficiency
Achieving 5-star reviews doesn't just depend on customer feedback, but also requires optimizing the overall operations of the business. For instance, regular store inspections are necessary to ensure smooth operations and excellent customer service.
Before using Lark, store managers posted opening and closing photos in a chat group. If there was something that needed attention, it would be converted into a task. While this was workable, it wasn't the most optimal process as tasks were sometimes missed and managers did not have a full picture of key issues in their stores. So the team shifted to Lark Base for better organization.
With Base, store managers now have easy visibility with a dashboard. Plus, notifications ensure accountability and a timeline.
Sales reporting transitioned from Viber chats to Lark Base dashboard
The team also transitioned from manual chat-based sales reporting to a Base form that store managers can fill out. The project lead created a Base dashboard and provided access to the finance team to update its data. Once completed, an automated workflow will send daily updates directly to management's inbox. This eliminates the need for finance to consolidate data in Excel manually, saving time and reducing human errors.
"We managed to reduce the process of inputting and validating numbers from hours in Excel sheets to less than 30 minutes, a significant improvement in efficiency." - Finance, Mama Lou's
Mama Lou's serves as an excellent example of how effective communication and operational efficiency can make or break a business in the food and beverage industry. By embracing digitalization and leveraging Lark's powerful communication and productivity tools, Mama Lou's successfully streamlined their processes, improved coordination among staff, and enhanced customer satisfaction. With Lark's user-friendly interface, your restaurant can easily get started on optimizing its operations and elevating customer satisfaction.
As Mama Lou's CEO said, "In terms of usability it's very much the same as other tools. It's user-friendly. Our employees use it in their day-to-day collaboration”
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