The Pancake Parlour has been an iconic Australian restaurant institution for decades. Despite this legacy status, the company is committed as ever to staying fresh and up to date – it’s this dedication that has kept The Pancake Parlour at the forefront for the past fifty years, and will continue to carry it with consumers and employees alike well into the future.
Building a Better Internal System
“We’ve been around for fifty years, but we realized that it’s really important to stay relevant and move ahead with the times – especially when we have more than 600 employees mostly millennials, and all using technology,” says Nicole Jackson, Marketing and Communications Manager for The Pancake Parlour brand. “To really stay ahead and stay focused with them, we needed to implement something that was going to be suitable and able to talk to that generation.”
For The Pancake Parlour that something is Sherpa Systems, an integrated web-based program framework that forms the basis of the restaurant’s fully customized internal communications tool “The Mix”. “We did a lot of research on what companies were out there and what programs and what web-based systems were out in the marketplace, and we really formed an alliance with Sherpa because we found that their vision and development of their system was on par with our vision for the company,” says Jackson. Set to roll out within the next couple of months, the company will be using “The Mix” as a complete employee management tool, ranging from recruitment training, rostering, payroll and task management to social communication between restaurants, managers, and employee teams.
“Employees can access the tools they need from any device at any time, and they are in touch with the restaurant for all of their communication, rostering and workflow needs,” Jackson explains. “They can use it for swapping shifts, leave requests and staying in touch - it’s basically like a mini-Facebook group within the company with added management tools.”
Award-Winning Social Media Expertise
The Pancake Parlour is well familiar with Facebook. Using it is a cornerstone of the brand’s finely tuned social media strategy, executed fully in-house by the brand’s social media team with the goal of keeping fans naturally engaged in The Pancake Parlour experience on a daily basis. It’s a big job, requiring a full-time commitment from The Pancake Parlour’s marketing and social media team, but that hard work has paid off with more than 250,000 Facebook fans for the group and a recent award for Excellence in Social Media from the Australian Restaurant and Catering Association.
“I think that our number one strategy is really just keeping our brand at top of mind for Facebook users,” says Jackson. “We appear daily in their newsfeed with all sorts of key messages that are relevant for the time – whether they are coming for breakfast, lunch, or supper – and the thing about our product is we have fantastic images we can use.”
That wealth of images has gone a long way in helping The Pancake Parlour develop its social media strategy, which revolves mainly around image-based mediums such as Facebook and Instagram.
“Social media has become a digital form of traditional word-of-mouth advertising, and a picture tells a thousand words,” notes Jackson. “We could do a radio ad that talks for thirty seconds about our Lemon Berry Pancakes, or you can see a picture in an instant and know exactly what it looks like and you can almost know what it’s going to taste like just by looking at the photo. So mouthwatering images work really well. The minute we post a chocolate pancake with whipped cream
and ice cream and strawberries our fans are totally engaging with us and sharing their experiences. So our strategy is really just about staying relevant to them.”
The Pancake Parlour at Fifty
The Pancake Parlour is at the precipice of a major milestone – fifty years in the restaurant business as of 2015.
“With fifty years of history being a milestone, we’re launching a history book on the family business that will be coming out in 2015,” says Jackson. “It’s the story of how The Pancake Parlour has evolved, with a lot about the family behind the business as well.”
Fifty More Years and Beyond
Fifty years in business is an impressive feat for any business in any sector, especially in today’s global economy. But The Pancake Parlour isn’t just holding on to business – it’s thriving and growing, while remaining true to its roots.
“We’re a bit of a Melbourne icon, and with our current CEO, Simon Meadmore, being the son of the original cofounders, it’s still very much a Melbourne family business,” says Jackson. “Fifty years is a great achievement, but we’re really making sure we’ve stayed relevant. We’re always looking at ways we can create new dishes, renovating for a new modern look, and building our strong social media presence to keep us more in tune with the current generation.”
If its current efforts are any indication, The Pancake Parlour will continue to build its base and thrive for another fifty years to come.