Peapod and FarmLogix: Exploring the Future of Food Tech

Peapod and FarmLogix: Exploring the Future of Food Tech

On this special episode of The Barron Report recorded at Foodable.io, brought to you by Kabbage, we get to discuss how technology has become the core backbone of how we reach, interact, and exchange info with our customers. In this episode, Guest Host Donald Burns navigates us through this discussion of where technology could take the industry over the next decade. How will online, mobile, Social, AR and more affect the business of the future?

Joining Donald are two food businesses who, while aren’t technology companies, rely on technology to move their businesses forward.

Carrie Bienkowski of online grocery delivery company Peapod is showing Americans how they can shop smarter, save time and money, and find the foods they want in order to eat better. Using their online platform, customers are able to fill and adjust their carts all with the tap of a finger.

Meanwhile, Linda Mallers, CEO and President of FarmLogix discusses how their company is a company transforming the local and sustainable food supply chain by connecting buyers to producers with technology and sustainability expertise.

Watch the episode above to see how these businesses are leveraging technology in their daily lives as well as how they predict tech to impact the industry.

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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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You Must Deliver! And Here's How...

You Must Deliver! And Here's How...

The delivery game is changing and on this episode of On Foodable Weekly: Industry Pulse, we’re looking at what you need to do to take advantage of this growing market.

More than 68 percent of consumers have ordered online delivery in the past 6 months.

Meanwhile, nearly 35 percent of millennials have reduced their restaurant visits in the past year. With online delivery orders nearly quintupling (yes, that's FIVE) in just the past year, restaurants need to recognize that while this could be a threat, it could also be an opportunity.

Foodable spoke to a number of industry experts about what restaurants need to consider before jumping into the delivery game. We talk delivery services, packaging, menus and even restaurant design in order to optimize delivery efficiency. Watch the episode above to see what they said!

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Strategies To Know For E-commerce Retailers and Food Tech Entrepreneurs

 Strategies To Know For E-commerce Retailers and Food Tech Entrepreneurs

As food tech entrepreneurs stay vigilant on Amazon’s moves, success is achievable for those who capitalize on the logistics giant’s shortcomings.

At least that’s what Patricia Nakache, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, suggests in a “TechCrunch” article.

Trinity Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm. The company’s portfolio includes brand names like Starbucks, P.F. Changs’s and Jamba Juice.

“We’ve seen food trends come and go. Every so often we come across something more fundamental and lasting than a trend: a seismic shift. Starbucks’ visionary leader Howard Schultz helped create one such shift,” says Nakache referring to how the coffee company taught Americans to appreciate an elevated customer experience and better quality products.

Now, we are experiencing a different kind of seismic shift.

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Is Your Operation Ready to Offer Digital Ordering?

Nearly every household orders food to-go from a local restaurant at least once or twice per month (some per week) and the days of traditional ‘phone orders’ or simply waiting in line, are clearly coming to an end thanks to new and continuously improving technology.

mobile ordering

Many independent restaurants have been sitting back, watching the development of online/mobile ordering, also known as digital ordering, wondering if they need to get into this space and/or how to even get started.

The question shouldn’t be ‘should we introduce digital ordering?’— the question should be ‘when will we introduce digital ordering?’ The answer to that question should be: As soon as possible, BUT only when your operations are ready for it and you won’t be undermining any restaurant fundamentals throughout the process.

If you haven’t implemented digital ordering, don’t feel bad!

It’s obvious you didn’t open a restaurant because you love technology. You opened one because you love food, drink, and serving a community through the development of customer experiences.

There are numerous benefits, however, to offering digital ordering methods to your guests. The good thing is that technology (or apps) currently on the market, have made it extremely simple and cost effective to introduce this new feature while improving on customer experiences. To sum it up, independent restaurateurs no longer need an IT department or professional to get started— the hard work is already done for you!

If you’re on the fence about the how, why, and when of digital ordering for your establishment, consider the following tips to see if it’s the right fit for you.

online ordering
  1. Improves Efficiencies – Digital ordering will not tie-up phone lines or require staff to stand around taking manual orders.  This will allow staff to be more productive in terms of food preparation and other customer service requirements, especially if the ordering method is tied right into the point-of-sale system. This will undoubtedly and effectively control labour costs while improving communication amongst your team and your customers.  Speaking of preparation, digital ordering methods often allow customers to ‘pre-order’ hours ahead of time, allowing the kitchen more time to prep, just like traditional table reservations would for a full-service restaurant.
  2. Improves Quality Control – Digital ordering will also reduce human error often associated with phone or counter orders (due to background noise, customer accents, or simple misunderstanding), resulting in higher customer satisfaction rates and often quicker customer return rates.
  3. Improves Mobile Presence – With digital ordering, you instantly have a mobile app while improving your mobile and online presence, which then improves your SEO, marketing, and overall customer satisfaction. Use this updated technology to ensure your website, social media, and online efforts work FOR you, not against you.
  4. Improves Competitive Advantage – You’re not alone when it comes to not having online ordering methods implemented. It is likely true, many of your hyper-local competitors are ‘behind,’ as well. This means that introducing this technology will give you an immediate advantage while also positioning you to compete at a higher level with the larger mainstream brands in your area.
  5. Improves Overall Revenue – When customers are given more time to order and can view all of the different menu options available to them, they tend to spend more money. Digital ordering increases impulse purchases through effective up-selling. Imagine what adding even just $2-$4 could mean to your bottom line!
  6. Improves Marketing Efforts – Lastly, digital ordering collects data that is highly beneficial. Many of the applications offer ways to track previous orders, create customized profiles to predict sales, and understand which neighbourhoods are buying and which ones are not. It also provides an avenue to improve social media efforts by driving sales directly through these platforms.
ordering food online

Introducing digital ordering methods can, however, come with their challenges for operators and these challenges are not necessarily technology driven. Here are some to consider.

  • Menu Setup – It must be easy for customers to navigate your menu. If there are customizable dishes (for example, a hamburger), it must be very easy for customers to decide which toppings they want and don’t want. In addition, typical food sensitivities or allergy alerts need to be clearly visible to the customer on your digital application. The solution is to keep your menu simple.
  • Delivery Options – With digital ordering as an option, the expectation of delivery often presents itself to your customer. It’s not mandatory, but something to consider as an operator. Delivery can create more immediate questions than answers, though, as one needs to decide on using either a delivery app company or hiring their own set of drivers. This, then, poses insurance questions and another potential increase in costs. Delivery can be expensive and difficult to ensure food is delivered as advertised— meaning your style of to-go packaging will need to also be reviewed for quality assurance.
  • Venue Layouts – With an increase in digital orders or to-go orders, in general, a restaurant's layout may need to be adjusted. This could mean less tables and larger pick-up areas. It could also mean aligning kitchen equipment differently and even creating specified digital ordering pickup parking spaces to ensure these customers are in and out, as quickly as possible.

The entire premise of digital ordering is to simplify the ordering sequence, for both the restaurant and the customer. If you cannot promise a high level of customer satisfaction, then you’re not ready.

Don’t start to offer digital ordering just because others are offering it. It needs to be thought through and planned for before it’s launched. In summary, customers must enjoy the digital ordering experience just like they would if they were dining in.

By Doug Radkey, Industry Expert