Even before the pandemic, the “omnichannel restaurant” model was becoming more common. Competitive restaurants realized that offering off-premises dining would be critical for long-term success. Restaurateurs tracking consumer trends understood that busy lifestyles required the need to adapt. From ordering dinner during a lunch break that could be picked up after work to exploring new cuisine that could be delivered right to their doorstep, consumer demand for this convenience gave rise to omnichannel restaurants that gave them new options.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of off-premises dining, taking it from a differentiator that gave restaurants a competitive edge to, often, a necessity for staying in business.
The Post-COVID Omnichannel Restaurant
Now, online food sales are expected to reach $200 billion by 2025, and more than 50 percent of consumers view online ordering as essential to their way of life. Even as some consumers return to dining rooms, 75 percent of restaurant operators are considering off-premise dining to be their best growth opportunity.
Operating an omnichannel business efficiently takes new processes both inside and outside the restaurant:
Digital Ordering Essentials
- Kiosks in-house help streamline orders, whether immediately when a customer enters or after being seated at a table with the rest of their party.
- In-app online orders allow customers to order on their schedules. When ordering in-app, consumers should have the flexibility to do a “rapid pick-up” which adds their order immediately to the queue or schedule out for a specific time of their choosing.
- Third-party applications for omnichannel restaurants provide consumers the benefit of not just ordering online but having the option for it to be delivered right to their doorstep.
Managing Order-In and Order-Up
- An interconnected platform will consolidate and expedite orders, no matter if they were placed tableside, online for curbside pickup, or online for delivery.
- Technology that balances capacity with demand allows restaurants to “throttle” or prioritize channels based on volume. For example, restaurants may choose to prioritize orders placed online directly through their own apps or websites over third-party platforms.
- Online payments allow customers to pay when placing online orders, reducing the restaurant’s risk of preparing food that is never picked up.
- Pay-at-the-table solutions for omnichannel restaurants provide consumers dining on-premises the ability to pay at the moment they are ready without having to wait for a server to settle their tab.
- Contactless payments have become an expectation of consumers for both their convenience and security.
Omnichannel Marketing Data
Omnichannel restaurants also realize that new digital engagements allow them to collect data that can help them operate more profitably while personalizing the service that turns a casual foodie into a loyal customer. With all of a customer’s data, rewards, and payment information all in one system, restaurants can develop a complete view of their customers’ preferences – and promotions and rewards that increase traffic.
How ISVs Can Support the Omnichannel Restaurant
To evolve from brick-and-mortar businesses into omnichannel restaurants, operators need help implementing and optimizing their tech stack for maximum efficiency and profitability. This requires the expertise of ISVs and VARs. And those who will be most successful will adapt to new solutions and possibly new partnerships in order to serve their market better.
For example, if your clients traditionally used terminal POS and card-present payments, talk to your customers about the benefits of implementing an omnichannel payments platform. However, before you do ensure your business has the right partnerships in place to benefit both your customers and your business. You will see more growth and less friction if the omnichannel solution you are offering provides you with full residual earning potential on e-commerce transactions and card-present transactions through a single processing provider.
Helping your customers evolve into omnichannel restaurants is vital to both the restaurant’s relevance in an increasingly challenging market, as well as your own competitiveness as an ISV.