__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 20

for most multi-unit operators. If the digital storefront is optimized to attract business, it will build incremental revenue. Each website should have an appetizing layout and clear, user-friendly instructions, steps and clicks that guide customers through efficient, friction-free ordering. The website should make it quick and easy for customers to identify service options that are available (curbside, pickup, delivery). Larger chains such as Applebee’s have invested heavily in making their websites the first point of ordering, featuring each customer’s local menu. “Order Now” is prominently displayed on the homepage and at the top right corner of the site, diners can easily sign in with their credentials to prepopulate many subsequent information details.

Photo by Scott Suchman for virtual restaurant Satellite Sandwiches.

Ordering and payment systems Ordering and payment systems are likely the biggest digital differentiator in the shortterm, notes David Henkes, senior principal at foodservice consultancy Technomic, Inc. Chipotle, Domino’s and Wingstop are prominent examples of restaurant chains that have excelled in this area and performed well amid the health crisis. In the Chicago and Washington, DC areas as well as other markets, fine-dining restaurant companies have gravitated toward Tock, a reservation system and ordering provider. In addition to these functions, Tock has created a marketplace to help customers find local restaurants, specials, pickup and delivery options within a particular territory. Many of Tock’s options require up-front payment; this ensures restaurants will receive their revenue on a timely basis. For third-party delivery, Tock will redirect to the appropriate service. A restaurant website serves as a storefront RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 20

Across the country, single-unit and multi-unit operators who are still able to accommodate dine-in services face an uphill battle, with the flurry of new restrictions due to the surge of coronavirus. Restaurants are utilizing QR codes and mobile ordering more frequently as customers who dine-in seek out lower-contact options for placing their orders. In Washington for example, Puerto Rican restaurant La Famosa provides a QR code that links to an ordering portal where diners can select menu items and complete payment tableside. DoorDash, a third-party delivery service that went public in November, is among third-party providers across the United States that also fulfill ordering and payment services. As the largest such provider in the country, DoorDash has a penetration of half of the third-party market share. Restaurants can encounter drawbacks to thirdparty delivery: ordering may be easy, but delivery is not always precise and can take up to an hour in many markets. When ordering is made frictionless but the delivery is not so smooth, consumers may still end up disappointed. Today’s pandemic consumer wants to order without friction and expects food to be delivered hot. Cold food and other delivery problems can damage a restaurant’s brand equity over time. Conversely, as technology improves over time,

Profile for Eatery Pulse Media

Restaurant C-Suite Trends Issue | Winter 2021  

As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic...

Restaurant C-Suite Trends Issue | Winter 2021  

As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic...