In the past two years, digital ordering has surged hand-in-hand with off-premises dining. And as 2022 nears, both remain in demand.
“Our outlook is that online ordering will continue to grow,” says David Portalatin, the NPD Group’s food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America, adding that future increases will be more tempered and “not triple-digit growth.” For the year ending March 2021, restaurant digital orders grew a whopping +124% compared to prior year, according to the NPD Group’sfoodservice market research, CREST.
Portalatin breaks down how the market research firm defines online or digital ordering: orders for delivery and for pickup placed online or through a mobile device. It’s an important distinction: digital order for pickup is almost three times larger than ordering for delivery. ”Both are growing. It is a very sticky behavior,” Portalatin explains.
“Off prem is likely here to stay. All of our life is centered around homes and that too is likely to be sticky,” he says.
Cracking the Off-Prem Code
After orchestrating a strategic technology rollout, casual restaurant chain Another Broken Egg Café saw its off-prem sales skyrocket from 2 percent to 15 percent. At MURTEC Executive Summit and Showcase, Paul Macaluso, President & CEO of Another Broken Egg Café, took the stage to share the details on the brand’s impressive technology transformation.
“As it relates to off-premises, it is how can we take the infrastructure that we've already set up throughout the pandemic and monetize it better and optimize it further,” Wallanus explained.
For Another Broken Egg, Macaluso and his team see an opportunity in catering. The brand launched with EZCater on November 16. Early results are promising. Most of the catering orders tend to be for early mornings Monday through Thursday, “which works out perfectly for our kind of demand cycles. Being a brunch brand, our weekends are super busy,” Macaluso explains.
To help help improve service and personalization, Another Broken Egg’s is rolling out a new customer relationship management through Olo in January. As HT previous reported, Olo struck a deal to buy Wisely, known for its CRM, in October.
“We've had a disparate system of information about our customers,” explains Macaluso. “We've got emails, we've got people that connect with us through social media. We've got people that have connected with us through the previous wait list management system, but none of those things were integrated and talking to each other. Now with the rollout ... , we're going to have all pieces of information integrated. We'll know if you've ordered from us online through Olo, if you've ordered through EZCater, if come into our cafe, if you've been on a wait list, if you've ordered a seasonal selection item, if you're more inclined to order alcohol or not…
“We're going to have a single source of truth on our customers once this is fully rolled out. And it's going help us also have more accurate wait times for people as they get on the wait list. In addition to some of the other benefits of Revel (including payments by QR code and servers using tablets to place orders tableside), it's going help us serve people more quickly and have quicker table turns and process more orders as well,” Macaluso says.