How Funlab is using me&u’s Staff Upsells to generate extra sales on the move

March 27, 2024
min read

Funlab is Australia and New Zealand’s “premier creator of competitive socialising experiences”, with eight brands in 45 locations. With over 2000 Motherfunners (ahem, staff), Funlab was recently acquired by global private equity firm TPG Capital, who have partnered with the innovative hospitality brand to help achieve growth ambitions.

The Funlab ethos is to do everything “for the fun of it”, so when we were getting ready to launch our new staff app, Crew, we couldn’t think of a better beta partner.

As self-proclaimed masters of “weird and wonderful moments that don’t just tweak the ordinary, but transmogrify the everyday into something more extraordinary”, we wanted to find out how Crew has impacted their bottom line [note: their CFO also goes by the title “Sir Dollars & Sense”].

We sat down with Patrice Beckmann, Head Of Operations at Funlab, to chat about how mobile ordering enhances the experience for me and you (because of our company name). Patrice has been with Funlab for 16 years (!) and started as a bartender in Sydney before progressing up the ranks.

Seeking a table-side ordering solution

“We've had me&u in place probably for about 4 - 5 years, we had started implementing it in some stores and then the pandemic hit which ultimately led to a full rollout when we started trading again. Coming out of COVID, we wanted to have measurements in place at the time to make sure your guests felt like they were in a safe environment,” Patrice said.

“We'd always been looking for a way to easily be able to serve our guests at tables while they're doing their activities, and then it turned out me&u had a solution for that all of a sudden.”

Crew allows your staff to create magical guest experiences, drive extra sales, and boost your service on the move. The main feature Funlab uses is Staff Upsells, which puts the power in the hands of servers to drive extra sales at the table, i.e:

  • See previous purchases
  • Quickly process re-orders
  • Orders are sent directly to your point of sale
  • Customers can pay with Apple’s Tap to Pay on iPhone straight from their seat

“We supply the phones for our team. Depending on the size and layout of the venues, we have between one and three phones per site, and we’re working on some fun branding opportunities for the phones themselves.

“The first few months with Crew have gone so well. We made it an operational focus so there’s been a bit of planning that’s gone into it and we staggered the rollout across the states - we didn’t go live in 45 venues at the same time. From my perspective, the technology is so straightforward and easy to use. For us, it was the smallest part of the training we do with our staff.

“It was more getting people's buy in to why we should be servicing our guests at their tables, during the activities. I'm from Europe and in Europe, table service is just part of good service. It's not necessarily ingrained in the Australian hospitality culture. It’s helped replace people going up to the bar and we’re now generating extra sales through Crew - I can see that from the numbers. And something that is really clear is that the average spend per transaction through the Staff Upsells feature is around $4 more.”

Re-inventing the approach to service sequence

“It’s very intuitive. It’s really for our teams to use. But we did have team members who were hesitant at first - there was hesitation to approach the guests in the first place, but we’ve been setting the expectation with our teams.

“We’ve been using pen and paper for a long time, but there certainly wasn’t any consistency. So now that we can actually measure consistency and we can see when it's not happening and we can auto correct. Some of our team members were a bit like ‘I feel awkward having to go up to the guests and ask them’.

“One learning for us was that it is weird for a guest to be approached by someone with a phone because it looks like the team member is on their own phone and they're only half looking, potentially looking at social media, and then talking to a guest.

“So we've changed up the way the team member actually goes up to the guest. So they take a tray, they take a menu and they place the iPhone on that. So they have the device sort of as part of a bigger setup. It looks a lot more professional. It looks like they're going in with purpose, basically.”

Patrice emphasised the positive impact of Staff Upsells, noting that most team members enjoy the direct interaction and the dynamic nature of their roles, which has been further nudged by significant incentives. This approach not only boosts staff morale but has also led to an increase in revenue. The ongoing comparison with previous year's sales indicates a positive trend in beverage sales, moving in the right direction.

“Everyone's naturally engaged and excited because there's a lot in it for them,” Patrice said.

To get started with Staff Upsells, download Crew here.

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