Nothing Has Changed, Everything Has Been Accelerated
The pandemic has accelerated the need for tech-to table in a full-service restaurant environment.
Restaurant owners advanced their investments in food tech companies as demand shifted towards online ordering in 2020. And in the post-pandemic, they’ll continue to do so as chefs and restaurant owners invest in the greater need to ramp up systems like to-go ordering, gift card sales, delivery scheduling, loyalty programs and e-commerce support for websites.
A recent report from J.P. Morgan and payment provider FreedomPay surveyed 50 executives and IT experts across hospitality and retail before and during the pandemic and found that 80% said integrating digital platforms was their №1 priority. What’s more, more than half of those surveyed, 69%, changed their main operational focus to data integration and digitization.
As a result, food-tech innovations have seen massive growth. Take a company like BentoBox which helps build restaurant-specialized websites with features like online ordering, delivery and gift cards. The New York City-based company went from having 4,800 restaurant clients to more than 7,000 and secured a $28.8 million investment led by Goldman Sachs, according to the New York Times.
Similarly, app GoParrot builds a restaurant’s online ordering platform and has full POS integration to leverage data for marketing promotions that show customers menu items geared exactly to their preferences or passed orders.
And more operators are looking to leverage customer data to boost the overall guest experience. Nearly 45% of leaders polled in the J.P. Morgan and FreedomPay survey said data has become more valuable to them since the pandemic.
A number of hospitality tech innovations are catering to this growing need with digitized loyalty programs for restaurants to increase their customer reach. McDonald’s recently announced it would launch its first-ever loyalty program to retain digital customers it gained more of during the pandemic.
Startups like LuckyDiem, a marketplace that offers cash back rewards to more than 200 million active monthly users through hundreds of websites and apps like Yelp, does exactly that. And Spendgo integrates with any POS system and online platform giving businesses various marketing tools to engage with customers and incentivize them to reorder or return for in-person dining.
Indeed, innovations that allow restaurants to optimize their digital presence and engage with customers have also allowed owners and operators to obtain customer data giving them access to things like food allergies and favorite menu items.
Companies like Yumpingo are all about fostering a positive guest experience using data to monitor customer satisfaction. And when it comes to rating the customer experience, Ovation uses a survey where customers provide data and contact info to restaurants allowing them to check in on their overall satisfaction.
Now with restaurants fully reopened, more customers are looking for the best experience in the post-pandemic. Yelp reported the highest number of consumer app usage in May with foot traffic up across the country by almost 50%, a sign that restaurants will have ample opportunity to gain new customers and think about retaining guests through digital ordering platforms.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.