Why Data Ownership Should Be Key When It Comes to Tech in Foodservice

According to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry 2019 report, “more than 8 in 10 restaurant operators agree that the use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage, and many are planning to ramp up their investments in technology in 2019.

This is great news for consumers but with so many choices in the technology sector, operators can be left feeling overwhelmed.

What’s important to remember is whichever tech advancement— whether it's their POS, online ordering, smartphone app, mobile payment, or loyalty program— operators decide to prioritize, it must make sense for their type of business and unique customer needs.

Watch the video above to learn how BurgerFi accurately figured out what tech advancements make sense for their business to get a proper ROI and how data ownership must be a priority in this day and age!

Produced and Researched by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writter & Producer


How Chipotle's Investment in Digital is Paying Off

Chipotle's online ordering |   Chipotle

Chipotle's online ordering | Chipotle

One of the latest strategies by Chipotle to reclaim its top spot in the fast casual sector is to implement more digital technologies. The restaurant's goal is to make the ordering process even more convenient for guests.

One of the ways the chain is focusing on digital is it has added another line dedicated to only online orders. Starbucks, the king of mobile orders, also has a group of team members dedicated to solely mobile orders at each store.

Chipotle is also testing having online only pick-up drive-thru lanes to make the pick-up for online orderers even quicker.

"We are definitely under a digital transformation at Chipotle," said Brian Niccol, Chipotle's CEO to "CNN Business."

Evidently, the investment in digital tech has paid off. Digital sales grew by 66 percent in the last three months of 2018. The company's stock has spiked by 35 percent over the last year and in the last quarter of 2018, restaurant sales grew by 6 percent.

"We're definitely just getting started," said Niccol to "CNN." "There's still so much opportunity in front of us, and there's still a lot of work to be done."

Read more about Chipotle’s push to promote digital ordering at “CNN Business” now.

It's been a long road of recovery for the fresh Mex fast casual after its food safety crisis back in 2015, but then the chain hired the former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol and continues to make power moves as part of its comeback play.

In 2019, the chain started the year out with a bang by rolling out lifestyle bowls. These new menu items are keto, Whole30, and paleo-friendly. Even though more restaurants are offering meals that are diet friendly, it's still difficult for those eating keto, paleo or Whole30 to find quick food options on the go. Chipotle is one of the first chain's to cater to these popular diets, making the restaurant one of the only options for those who are tired of the constant meal prep.

On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron explains why he thinks the chain's recent introduction of its Lifestyle Bowls was a slamdunk. Watch the video below to learn more about Chipotle's latest campaign to appeal to health-conscious eaters.

Restaurant Ordering is on Track to Triple by 2020



Guests expect that restaurants offer digital conveniences like online ordering. With that in mind, more restaurants are either partnering with third-party apps or developing online ordering platforms that are mobile friendly.

According to a recent report from the NPD Group, digital orders are up by 23 percent annually since 2013 and by 2020, this percentage is expected to triple.

Guests are now more inclined to make a food order digitally than calling the restaurant directly. They are also more likely to do this from their smartphone versus a computer. Six out of 10 digital orders are made on mobile apps.

Food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash are wildly popular and now make up 40 percent of the 20 most-used apps. These apps offer consumers multiple food options to pick from.

From a restaurant standpoint, these apps are an easy solution to the delivery problem. By partnering with a delivery app, you can offer your customers the convenience of delivery without investing in a driver or a platform to process these orders.

Even though the third-party services have made it easier for brands to offer delivery, they do cut significantly into profits. So we are starting to see more restaurants shift away from these services.

"There are clear leaders in the digital ordering space, brands, and third-party providers who have achieved critical mass the fastest," said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor. "To make the best decisions about digital strategies and potential partnerships, operators need to understand the key features that differentiate these companies from one another."

Restaurants definitely lose some of the control of these orders. Ultimately, it's up to the third-party's delivery driver to get the food and bring it to the guest in the estimated time frame. So the service aspect is heavily dependent on the delivery provider, not the restaurant.

According to the NPD report, over half of the consumers said they wouldn't use delivery if the food was to come cold or with the incorrect temperature. Read more about the report at “Restaurant Dive” now.

Want some tips on how to provide a delivery program that works? Watch this episode of On Foodable below, where we discuss how to implement delivery services, packaging, menus, and even restaurant design in order to optimize delivery efficiency.

Why the Mobile Takeout Trend is Here to Stay



Smartphones have opened up a world of digital social interaction. So much so, that this has become the most common way that consumers connect.

With that being said, diners have naturally gravitated to digital systems like online ordering and food delivery. It's convenient and can be done from their home, office, etc.

Besides delivery becoming more of an expectation, more guests are using mobile ordering as their form of takeout. They are placing their order via an app or website prior to visiting a restaurant so that their food is ready when they arrive. Not only does this mean the eater has more control over when they eat, but his option allows users to forgo the pricy delivery fee, the tip, and service charge too.

According to a recent study from BRP and Windstream Enterprise, 20 percent of participants are using a pre-order option. When it comes to millennials, in particular, this percentage spikes to 32 percent.

"They are less likely than older generations to dine out and more inclined to order their food for off-site consumption," writes the study.

Food delivery has become somewhat unpredictable. The food can arrive much later than expected and the meal may be in poor condition when it arrives. With the pre-order option, diners can get the food directly from the source and then can either eat it right away or take it on the go.

Fast casual brands like Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Shake Shack are leading the way with mobile ordering.

Panera offers "rapid pick-up", where guests can order through the restaurant's mobile app for a specific time and collect it from a destinated area, without even getting on line or talking to a staff member.

"The dining journey has radically changed, as have guest expectations of what makes a great dining experience," says the report. "Therefore, embedding full digital dining support – everything from social engagement to guest WiFi to flexible ordering options, and real-time promotions – should be part of every restaurant’s strategic DNA."

Even though online ordering has become wildly popular, only 26 percent of restaurants surveyed in the BRP and Windstream Enterprise study said they have mobile point-of-sale technology.

Read more about the mobile takeout trend at “Forbes” now.

This is surprising that restaurants considering the multiple third-party solutions out there offering online ordering and food delivery for restaurants. But this could be partly because of the rising costs and poor service of third-party delivery platforms.

Want some tips on how to work with third-party service providers? Check out this recent episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show below where the Hosts Valerie and Erle sit down with the director of sales for Jason’s Deli and gets tips for operators on how to make sure they don't get outmaneuvered by third-party service providers.

This Service Aims to Help Restaurants Better Manage Online Orders

This Service Aims to Help Restaurants Better Manage Online Orders

It seems like we live in a time-strapped society. And now, with advances in technology and the expectation to have that technology work for you to make life easier, there is high consumer demand for the ability to have what we want, when we want and how we want it. Restaurant operators are in the service business and with that comes the responsibility to adapt to demand. Resistance could potentially lead to becoming forgotten by those who pay your bills— customers.

Needless to say, operators now have to deal with orders coming from all sorts of places. For one, orders that come from guests on location (of course), via phone for pickup or delivery, via food delivery apps like UberEATS and/or an equivalent, and even via online through food ordering services, like GrubHub and the like. Plus, with the rise of restaurant openings and an increasing market competition, most restaurant operators have to learn to cater to all to not lose out on their market share and stay afloat or, better yet, profit.

What is a restaurant operator to do to keep track of everything?

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