At this year’s National Retail Federation Show (NRF), industry leaders and experts from around the world convened in New York City to gain and share valuable insights into various aspects of the retail, grocery, and restaurant industries. Key topics included customer experience, digital transformation, supply chain management, omnichannel strategies, and emerging technologies like AI, IoT, and data analytics.

Steve Teller, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Five Guys, and David Helms, Chief Technology Officer at Flybuy, presented on stage to discuss their business transformation and how innovation has drastically changed Five Guys’ customer experience and revenue growth. Five Guys is a family owned and operated franchise restaurant group known for their high-quality burgers, fries, and milkshakes, with over 1,800 locations worldwide. Flybuy is the leading location intelligence platform present in over 55 countries and facilitating over 350 million orders every year for restaurants and retailers. Flybuy’s pickup solution enables restaurants and retailers to have complete visibility into the customer and delivery driver’s journey when picking up their order, enabling staff to prepare orders based on arrival times.

Five Guys approached Flybuy in 2019 with three very unique problems they wanted to solve: 

  1. Food freshness for off-premise orders (takeout, curbside, delivery, and pickup windows)
  2. Missing order items in off-premise orders
  3. Excessive delivery driver wait times

 By partnering with Flybuy, all these problems are now in the rear view mirror.

Food Freshness

Five Guys wanted to sync the burger and fry firing make-times with the customer’s arrival at the restaurant. To ensure they did not prepare an order too soon, the staff would wait until the customer showed up to begin preparing the food. “Wait to drop the fries, until you see the whites of their eyes” was the motto Five Guys  lived by…but this created long wait times and customer dissatisfaction.

When Flybuy stepped in, they worked with Five Guys to determine the exact time it would take for a burger, fries, or shake to be prepared. With these timestamps and knowledge of the customer’s exact location, Flybuy created early alerts to inform staff when they should start cooking the burger, dropping the fries, or mixing the milkshakes in order for them to be ready immediately when a customer or delivery driver arrives for pickup. The result was immediate: fresh food, fast handoffs, and customer happiness.

Missed Items

Another challenge that increased drastically as Five Guys’ off-premise business boomed, was frequently missed items when preparing off-premise orders. When the staff is busy juggling dine in customers and off-prem orders, some items, such as water bottles and shakes, would often get forgotten from orders, resulting in annoyed customers, refunds, and third-party delivery penalty fees.

Flybuy ensured that Five Guys employees would now be able to easily view orders that contained frequently-missed items using “Tags” on the Flybuy Dashboard. For example, orders that contain a water bottle or shake will include a big, bold tag that says “BOTTLE” or “SHAKE.” The results after this small tweak was staggering with a 35% reduction in forgotten items, reduced food waste, and perhaps most importantly – refunds.

flybuy pickup staff dashboard

Poor Delivery Experience for Drivers and End Customers

62% of Five Guys’ off-premise orders comes from delivery (primarily UberEats and DoorDash). When a third party is involved with delivering a restaurant’s food, they lose control over the food’s freshness for the end customer. Many factors can arise, including: a driver arriving late, a driver grabbing the wrong bag, a driver getting frustrated waiting and deciding to come back after another pickup, a driver waiting for multiple orders before leaving…the list goes on.  

To facilitate a much better delivery experience for all parties, Flybuy was able to integrate with Delivery Service Provider (DSP) partners, such as DoorDash and UberEats, to give staff insight into the driver’s location and prepare food for an immediate handoff. The accurate and granular ETA information from Flybuy immediately yielded a 25% decrease in wrong orders and 20% decrease in wait time for delivery drivers, which drove massive savings in third-party delivery driver penalties, refunds, and more.

Flybuy provides significant data that restaurants wouldn’t otherwise be able to retain concerning their delivery partners. Whether the driver gets a flat tire or is stopping by another restaurant on their way and is going to be delayed, the crew is able to see that and adjust when to fire the order. 

So what’s next for Five Guys and Flybuy?

With ongoing advancements and consumer-centric strategies, they expect to stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving food industry and provide a flawless customer experience. Flybuy and Five Guys are working together to tackle some new challenges ahead using machine learning. Here are a few cool projects on the horizon:

  1. ETAi™
    In contrast to the traditional navigational ETA which only incorporates naive routing from pin to pin, Flybuy uses contextual ETA, or what they call ETAi, which uses machine learning to factor in parking lot congestion, construction, local traffic patterns, pickup type, and more. By considering these factors, Flybuy can anticipate and predict patterns, allowing Five Guys to plan their operations, get more granular with their ETA predictions, and more effectively optimize kitchen workflows to maximize food freshness.


  2. Wrong Site Arrival
    Have you ever ordered food and picked it up at the wrong location? Over 1,000 Five Guys customers go to the wrong store every month. This equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in refunds. Flybuy helps businesses detect when a customer has arrived at the wrong location and notify them in an effort to redirect them to the right location. This has been a game-changer for Flybuy partners who have implemented this feature, and Five Guys is anticipating major cost savings.


  3. Kitchen Capacity Management
    Right now, Five Guys communicates a “Ready Time” to customers based on the average time an order usually takes. With the new kitchen capacity management feature from Flybuy, Five Guys can communicate an exact “Ready Time” to customers by using real-time kitchen busyness, available labor, and item make-times. This will result in customers arriving at the exact time their order will be ready, ensuring a fast and fresh food handoff – even more than before!

The engineers at Flybuy work with brands to tackle specific challenges that each industry faces and continues to evolve and innovate based on market needs. As leaders in the location technology space and proven success on the field, Flybuy is an essential tool for restaurants, grocers, and retailers to grow their business.

Watch the full video from NRF here.