Digital Ordering to Triple by 2020

Restaurant mobile app

Restaurant digital orders have grown an average of 23 percent, per year since 2013, and will triple by the end of 2020, according to a report from NPD Group.

The report, called Delivering Digital Convenience, found that 70 percent of a restaurant’s digital orders come through its mobile app or its website, with the remaining orders coming through third-party apps or websites. Customers used the restaurant’s own app most of the time because of rewards points or savings, and other brands appeal to customers because they want to create a custom order or take friction out of the ordering process.

Third-party apps like DoorDash, UberEats or Grubhub/Seamless accounted for 40 percent share of the 20 most used apps, and are used by consumers who want to look up various food items and check prices.

“Digital orders will remain an outsized source of growth for the restaurant industry over the next few years, and operators who desire to grow need to embrace a digital strategy,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry adviser and author of Eating Patterns in America, said in the announcement. “There are clear leaders in the digital ordering space, and third-party providers who have achieved critical mass the fastest.”

See more here.

Survey: Walmart builds on largest share of grocery loyalty

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“Walmart is quickly extending its grocery dominance in brick-and-mortar into the online realm.

Consumer market researcher Packaged Facts said Thursday that 23% of online grocery consumers cited Walmart as the retailer they use most for groceries. That’s second only to Amazon, named by 38% of purchasers, according to Packaged Facts’ “U.S. Grocery Market Focus: The Walmart Shopper” report.

About 27% of in-store grocery purchasers said Walmart is the brick-and-mortar retailer they get groceries from most — over two times as many as Kroger, the next most cited retailer, the study revealed.

In a relatively short time, Walmart has transformed itself into an omnichannel retailer by accelerating investment in e-commerce to develop a seamless shopping experience between its massive store base and digital properties, Packaged Facts noted. What’s more, Walmart has turned its thousands of stores — an apparent cost disadvantage versus pure-play online retailers — into a competitive strength in distribution, the researcher said.”

Read more here.

Coca-Cola Backs Restaurant Tech Company

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“Coca-Cola’s 2018 investment binge continues with a contribution to Hayward, Cali.-based restaurant tech company Omnivore.

The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) was a lead investor in a $10 million Series A for Omnivore, a universal point-of-sale connectivity platform, alongside Performance Food Group and additional funds from Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik.

Omnivore promotes an “end-to-end suite of solutions” to help optimize the digital restaurant experience, such as online ordering, paying at the table, third-party delivery, kiosk/digital menus and analytics. The financing will be used to accelerate current development and growth of proprietary Omnivore products that minimize friction for restaurant brands, third-party technologies, and POS companies, according to a news release.”

View more here.

How To Make Your Restaurant A Pokemon Go Hotspot!

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As smartphone apps go, the augmented-reality “Pokemon Go” really is a monster. “Pokemon Go” has been downloaded to more than 15 million smartphones in less than a week, according to the analytics consultancy SensorTower, and restaurant operators are asking how they can capture them as customers as well as Pokemon hunters catch the little Pocket Monsters.

A restaurant operator can buy 30 minutes of heightened Pokemon action by buying Lure Modules and installing them at PokeStop locations. Here’s a seven-step tutorial on buying and using the “Lure Modules” that the developer Niantic is selling and experts recommend to draw customers’ attention:

  1. Make sure your location and your smart phone are near a PokeStop, which is designated by an elevated blue cube on the app that turns into concentric three-dimensional spinning circles as you near it.
  2. If your restaurant is within yards of a PokeStop, buy Lure Modules by first tapping the red and white ball at the bottom on the “Pokemon Go” app. That will take you to a “Settings” screen with options such as Items, Pokemon and “Shop.” Tap “Shop.”
  3. You are now on a purchase screen, and you can purchase PokeCoins through the iTunes or Google Play stores by scrolling to the bottom. A Lure Module costs 100 coins (99 cents). You can buy larger amounts such as 550 Pokecoins for $4.99 and 1,200 coins for $9.99.
  4. After the PokeCoins are purchased, you can by a Lure Modules for 100 PokeCoins or eight Lure Modules for 680 PokeCoins. Your purchase will show up among the Pokeman Go “Items.”
  5. During the period when you want to increase possible “Pokeman Go” traffic for 30 minutes, tap on the spinning “PokeStop” and click on the white bar immediately beneath its location.
  6. A screen noting an “Empty Module slot” will open and tap the white bar to install the module. Your location is a “Lure” spot when you see what looks like a mini blizzard of pink leaves. The Pocket Monsters will show up for you and others for 30 minutes.
  7. Let potential customers know you’ve made in investment by posting your alluring purchase to your Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat fans, such as Just Salad did in New York as seen in the tweet pictured above.

8/15-8/17: CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit

Registration is open now for the CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit, to be held from August 15th to 17th in Chicago. In their own words, the event is an opportunity to explore the many opportunities that retailers, restaurants and other B2C enterprises have for leveraging mobile and digital channels to build their brands, increase sales and improve customer engagement, experience and loyalty.

Registration is limited to managers and executives of restaurants, retail and other business-to-consumer organizations.

To read more or register now, click here.

What’s Next for Retail?

Retail Customer Experience, the online publisher of current retail news and research, just released their latest Whitepaper on what’s next for retail (and how to navigate your business there). It includes research and advice on mobile POS, inventory management, and omnichannel brand representation, including warnings about some of the pitfalls retailers face navigating new technologies.

To download a copy, click here.

Digital Employee Training

There has been lots of buzz about new mobile payment apps, menu tablets and online ordering but there has been an underwhelming focus on what new technology could mean for staff training. Digital technology can not only help scheduling but can also boost sales, teach employees correct procedures and give valuable insight to human resource departments. A company is able to have full control of online video-based training sessions whereas when an experienced employee trains a new hire, there is no sure way to trust that they are teaching the right things and in a company-approved manner.

Point-of-sale tools can help managers know whether or not servers need extra training based on the record of average sales for each table that is tracked by the POS. “Then it’s the responsibility of management to analyze those numbers and help their staff not only be accountable but also optimize sales,’ says Allan Barmark, whose firm creates custom training programs for businesses. Digital technology also allows for training to take place in a self-paced way because it is available online; there is no need to close the restaurant or hold classes that are difficult to schedule with different locations and shifts.

Food safety training is also made easier by digital technology as it ensures that employees have completed the required training and keeps a record. If there were ever to be an issue, the employer can rest easy knowing there is proof of completed training. Barmak also mentions that digital training technology gives managers and human resource departments new tools to use in identifying employees with the potential to move up in the company and tracking their progress.

To read more about what digital technology can mean for employee training, click here

Domino’s Launches New Application

Domino’s, pizza chain, is launching a brand new iPad application that features a 3D “realistic pizza builder.”

The application gives  customers an opportunity to see a “more realistic view” of their end product as the customize with various sauces and toppings. In addition, the iPad app will also feature a tracker that monitors the progress of your order in real time. Similar to other Domino apps, users will have access to Domino’s national menu, coupons, and a store locator.

The new app is way of supporting and growing Domino’s strong percentage of digital orders. According to Tech Crunch, digital orders account for about 40 percent of all the company’s sales in the U.S.

The Future of Restaurant Technology: Touchscreen Tables and Chef Cams in Dubai

Eater reports that Ebony Interactive Restaurant in Dubai has installed tables that posses the dual-functionality of internet-surfing touchscreens. Guests have the ability to peruse the menu, including photos of the food, order, and watch their meal be prepared by means of a “Chef Cam.” This camera gives guests the opportunity to watch their meal be prepared in real time in the kitchen.

The owner tells the Khaleej Times that he wanted to combine “a unique dining experience” with the “latest technology,” choosing to open in Dubai because “it already considers itself a smart city.” He proceeds by describing the restaurant as having “excellent ambience.” Guests who choose to look up from their table may watch a digital image of a fish swimming in a tank on the interactive wall.

Ebony Interactive Restaurant takes dining technology innovation to another level. Not only can guests use their tablet tables to order, but they can also display table cloths, “send greeting cards to other tables,” order taxi rides home, and “view photos and share them with their companions on their individual seats on the table.”

Tuning in to the Social Restaurant Podcast

We’ve been tuning into Nate Rigg’s Social Restaurant Podcast and are finding it to be an informative listen. If you use Facebook as a messaging tool for your concept, you’ll want to hear this week’s in particular. Mike Gingerich, one of the leading strategists in the Midwest focused on Facebook marketing for restaurants, is interviewed. He’s the co-founder of Tabsite, which helps restaurant brands use Facebook to grow their email list, hold contests, launch discounts and promotions and integrate online ordering to their Facebook page.