The fall of 2021 is still delivering new market demands and changing customer behaviors for concepts across the globe. In order to keep up, brands have had to rapidly adopt new technologies to create alternative channels for revenue that address proof of vaccine requirements for in-person dining as well as the health and safety concerns of their employees and customers.
The pandemic has also ignited several market trends, such as placing an emphasis on providing value, delivering personalized incentives, and rewarding guests beyond points with experiential offerings. Meeting the needs of those they serve has opened up a range of options for concepts to pursue in order to create a compelling and safe customer experience. Initial steps many brands are taking include embracing a new wave of digital innovation through personalized mobile apps, online ordering, curbside pick up, delivery, and the latest in loyalty technologies.
This leaves today’s concepts with the added challenge to deliver a seamless, modern restaurant experience both on- and off-premise. Running a smarter, more efficient and safe restaurant that connects front-of-house guest management platforms (tablets, QR & kiosks) to back-of-house (POS, kitchen display & 3rd party ordering/delivery) systems has become critical to their success.
Implementing these new systems may mean brands now have a variety of technologies to drive optimal performance. Therefore, a strategic and collective approach by marketing, operations and IT is required to integrate all technologies and deliver the capabilities necessary to fully optimize the customer experience.
Create a Better Customer Experience with Innovative Integrated Technology
The past 18 months have really highlighted what a dynamic environment the restaurant industry can be. Clearly, the focus for brands is to build a technology infrastructure that supports their current systems, yet provides them with the agility to quickly change direction and also scale as they grow in the future.
One of the most effective ways to integrate multiple software is to work from an open, microservice architecture platform. This architectural style structures an application as a collection of services that are:
- Highly maintainable and testable
- Loosely coupled
- Independently deployable
- Organized around business capabilities
The microservice architecture enables the rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large complex applications. It also enables brands to evolve their technology stack by easily handling the addition or subtraction of other components. This overcomes the hesitation of many concepts daunted by the thought of being “stuck” with something that they don’t want or that will become outdated soon.
To deliver on customers’ expectations and scale at an appropriate pace, brands are leaning into a restaurant technology platform with “agnostic” capabilities that allow them to integrate with different software and services such as online ordering, delivery, pickup, payments, messaging, and more. With this kind of flexibility, restaurants save time and resources in the long run and eliminate disruption to their technology ecosystem as they adapt to changing customer preferences.
Customer Success Story – El Pollo Loco Tripled Digital Sales by Modernizing its Marketing
Over the past several years, El Pollo Loco made technology investments in e-commerce and a POS system. Punchh integrated with all their key business systems to provide El Pollo Loco a single, robust platform to manage their loyalty and marketing initiatives and activities.
In 2020, El Pollo Loco experienced many locations operating with a closed dining room or limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions and changing customer behaviors.
Restaurant Loyalty Solution
Punchh helped El Pollo Loco pivot their operations during the start of the pandemic to provide customers with drive-thrus (in some locations), take-out, delivery, online ordering and mobile GPS-informed pickup for a seamless, omnichannel customer experience.
El Pollo Loco marketers realigned their initiatives to highlight digital ordering, limited-time, free delivery through Postmates, and large family meal options. They generated demand for their new food operations and menu items by communicating to their loyal customers with personalized campaigns they created and delivered through the Punchh platform via email, push and rich messaging.
Like El Pollo Loco, brands that effectively embrace new operations and marketing will be positioned to succeed in an increasingly digital environment. With the latest loyalty technologies in place, concepts can ensure a contactless guest experience that is truly seamless, convenient, and memorable.
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