16 Mar Enhancing Growth through Technology
Blythe Nauseda, Director of Operations Excellence
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We recognize that embracing and taking advantage of technology is vital to our success as a company. This is the year of system enhancements and technological additions which will strengthen the guest and team member experience, provide management with real time tools to control costs and contribute measurable stakeholder returns.
First, let me introduce myself since I am one of the newest members of the Flix Entertainment corporate team. I joined Flix in August 2015, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the casual dining industry, specifically in financial controls, auditing and IT systems. Before coming to Flix, I was a senior financial analyst for Darden Restaurants for six years, working closely with senior leadership to oversee cost controls, improved guest experience, operational efficiencies and key performance indicators. Prior to my analyst position, I served in an auditor role for Darden for seven years, where I conducted nationwide audits in a 525-restaurant chain to ensure compliance with financial control processes/procedures and partnered with IT to test point-of-sale changes for fraud prevention and ease of use. I attended the University of Central Florida and received degrees in liberal studies and business administration, and in fact, held various corporate positions at Olive Garden while working my way through school.
Let’s have a look at some of the significant enhancements that will be brought on-line during the first half of the year.
Gift Cards: The ability to purchase electronic Flix gift cards directly from our website is a significant guest-focused enhancement. This feature went live in December 2016 and to date we have sold over $70,000 in electronic gift cards with 80% of the total sales occurring in the December holiday season. Guests are emailed a gift card in PDF format which they can print and bring to the theater or redeem online for ticket purchases.
Call Center: This is a web-based interface providing a centralized access point to all Flix movie sessions, ticket sales, and loyalty information. From the interface, the team can issue refunds, exchanges from one location to another, sell tickets and process loyalty inquires such as redemption and account activity.
Vista Clock In: Vista is the name of our comprehensive box office/F&B point-of-sale (POS) system. This upgrade incorporates team member labor punches directly into Vista rather than a standalone time clock. This integration provides real-time labor usage in both hours and dollars. Flix management teams will now be able to monitor and adjust their staffing on the fly, based on real sales activity, ensuring far greater efficiency.
Hot Schedules Vista Integration: We will now be able to download team member schedules created in our scheduling program called Hot Schedules directly to Vista. This will deliver a very real enhancement of our new clock in feature by restricting employee hours to shifts that are actually scheduled thus preventing team members from clocking in before their scheduled time. All early and nonscheduled shifts will now require a manager override.
Seat Maps: Used for seat selection during the ticket purchase, seat maps will now be integrated with all Flix food and beverage purchases. Servers select seats on a theater map and the data will auto-populate the guest check (theater number, row and seat number). Utilizing seat maps provides accurate seat identification for food and beverage delivery, valuable food preference data by movie genre and time, and automatically captures loyalty guest information if seats were purchased using a loyalty account.
Electronic Guest Vouchers (EGV): EGV are randomized electronic codes for ticket redemption generated in Vista and distributed to guests for promotions/deals, rain checks and guest recovery issues. EGV provide guests the convenience of online redemption instead of having to visit the box office. The company also benefits with the added control of voucher numbers with associated expiration dates, which will be validated at the time of redemption, creating the ability to accurately track pass types redeemed for studio payments and easily identifying the amount of outstanding pass liability by type.
Vista Lab: A laboratory system is being setup which will mimic our Flix Vista Head Office and Back Office servers. Presently, all system and programing changes are made in the live environment for testing, which can be problematic. With a lab system, both setup and system functionality can be thoroughly tested prior to inclusion in a live environment, potentially causing numerous system issues. An additional benefit of the lab will be the networking of training tablets at each Flix location to the lab environment. Trainees will have hands on practice on our Vista POS system which will not create sales or other business disruptions.
I am so excited about the technology updates that are slotted for this year. They will prime us for continued success as we open new units and will provide the tools and systems backbone necessary to achieve our guest and company financial goals far more quickly and reliably.