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Executive Insight Q&A: The Benefits of a Platform That Provides Personalization

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Rob Tedesco, VP of Product, Hathway

Personalization is in demand. Can you speak to the benefits of an ordering platform that allows guests to customize?

This is absolutely true, and is evident among digital guests as well. More than 70% of restaurant app/website users expect to be able to customize their food. Relevance and context will ensure your guests have a good experience and come back again and again. Features like favorites, and the ability to rapidly “reorder, help to not only personalize the experience, but get users through checkout faster. Relevant, timely recommendations drive better check averages. It used to be up to staff to “know” their customers, but digital ordering channels have a leg up here.

How can an ordering platform seamlessly promote upselling in an effective and inviting way?

Make core products bigger while focusing on low price-point upsells. Brands like Chipotle and Subway emphasize classic upsells, allowing guests to add toppings to their core product. One dollar here and there adds up! Also, guide users through very clear steps in the process. Explicitly labeling side and drink selection as “steps” helps to create a mindset among users that combos are part of a standard ordering process. Brands are also starting to experiment with algorithms (e.g., machine-learning driven) to help provide relevant upsell and cross-sell recommendations to guests. Brands like Wingstop use an approach bolstered by dynamic logic; the more relevant the cross-sell items being promoted, the greater the uptake.

Loyalty programs are popular with guests, and potentially revenue-enhancing for restaurants. What are your recommendations for creating an engaging loyalty environment for guests?

Loyalty is the outcome of a great experience. Guests expect their experience to be omnichannel (rewards can be earned and redeemed at any touchpoint, whether order ahead, scanning in store, providing a phone number to a clerk, etc.). Consumers want to save both time and money, so experiential rewards like MVP access are a great growth area for brands. Gamification is also a great way for brands to accelerate loyalty engagement: after introducing a loyalty program, brands can “gamify” them in digital channels, such as through “challenges” or scavenger hunts.


Whatever the program, it absolutely must be tailored to the brand’s business. At Hathway we believe this is so important we have an entire team that exclusively works with brands to build a customized loyalty strategy.

When making payments, guests demand choices. How can a restaurant most effectively meet a range of preferences, such as Contactless, digital wallet, and more?

People don’t want to key in 16+ digits just to buy a sandwich. To better serve your guests, you need to either remove the friction entirely (using Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay) or make sure the friction only happens once (and that cards are saved to a wallet that is accessible in all channels thereafter).

While most transactions are still credit/debit, there is increased adoption of Apple Pay which, once implemented, tends to drive the majority of iOS sales. There is also significant adoption of on-premise “scanning” to pay and/or for rewards, and this functionality is supported by the major players. It all starts with a modern and nimble technology stack: best-in-class providers like Olo, Punchh, and Paytronix have been ahead of the curve providing as much choice to consumers as possible.

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