I don't know about you guys but a standard weekend in my household involves an hour or more of gentle bickering over what to eat. Well-intentioned plans to explore new neighborhoods fall to the wayside in favor of delivery and binge-watching Netflix in pajamas. And it's not just the weekends. As I write this, I'm also tracking my lunch via an online ordering app. Of course, my fridge still has leftovers from this weekend's take out but who's keeping track...
While platforms like Grubhub, Door Dash, Caviar, and UberEats have made life even more self-indulgently gluttonous, easy, and wonderful for the consumers, pressure on restaurants has always been high. Imagine a restaurant having to take tickets from multiple POS systems during crazy lunch rush hours or during a peak dinner service. If you've ever seen multiple tablets at a host stand, what you're witnessing is actually all the various ways a restaurant gets orders. Once the orders come in through those tablets, someone from the restaurant has to re-enter each order into their own system in order to process the tickets through the kitchen. And this is only one of the many headaches restaurants have to deal with when juggling multiple order systems.
But, no more.
The NCR Aloha Platform-of-Sale (POS) has come up with technology that integrates the online orders directly with the restaurant's in-house systems, eliminating extra steps and inaccuracies. Grubhub is the first online platform to officially announce their partnership with NCR. I recently had the opportunity to interview Grubhub with input from one of their restaurant partners, Potbelly, on the experience of online ordering and what this tech update means for restaurants and customers alike.
TL;DR: it's seriously good news.
- How have you seen the trends on online-ordering change over the last year (demand, food preferences, willingness to spend, etc.)?
In the past year, we’ve seen trends around diner expectations, mobile ordering and the variety of orders being placed by diners.
- Diners are increasingly turning to food delivery for everyday occasions. Whether it's a busy parent getting some well-deserved time back in the evening or a young professional having a worry-free dinner party, people are seeing the benefits of an easy connection with their favorite local restaurants.
- Diners’ expectations of the takeout/delivery experience from their favorite local restaurants have increased. We expect the demand for quality, speed and ease to continue to grow.
- People are busy and want to order what they want when they want it as efficiently as possible from wherever they are. As such, online-ordering has shifted towards mobile. 60% of Grubhub’s orders are placed on mobile devices and we’re focused on improving mobile UX for diners, restaurants and drivers alike.
- There has been an increase in restaurants embracing delivery over the past year, including chains, leading to a wider variety of orders being placed by diners. According to Grubhub’s recent analysis of the hottest food and delivery trends for the first half of 2017, orders of dishes like poke bowls and pretzel bites have massively increased (by 365% and 238%, respectively).
Technology continues to rapidly evolve to provide a seamless experience in every area of our customers’ lives – this includes the online food ordering experience. Customers expect an easy, fast and accurate ordering process through branded apps and various market places. As a brand, this experience is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s a “must have.”
- Do you think that this integration of technology will speed up delivery time for customers?
The integration of POS technology will make restaurant operations more efficient. It will allow restaurants to more efficiently staff, save time on menu updates, consolidate financials and free up space on the crowded delivery tablet counter. The time saved will allow restaurant owners to focus on making great food and continually improving their service level for diners in a variety of ways.
Absolutely. The technology will allow orders to flow in to one system which will provide our operators with improved data for delivery management that will ultimately speed up delivery times.
- As one of the leading online delivery services, what are you most excited about with regards to this update?
We are most excited about increasing our ability to help our restaurant partners succeed. This technology integration will bring efficiencies to our restaurant partners that will allow them to spend more time creating delicious food for diners and help build the best possible future for restaurant owners, Grubhub and the space.
- How do you see the future of online ordering progressing over the next year? What additional benefits will there be for customers?
In the next year, streamlining restaurant management, efficiently managing delivery, and delivering better data to restaurants are all likely to become increasingly important. These improvements will delight diners because they’ll help restaurant owners to provide an even better, more streamlined experience.
For example, Grubhub has recently:
- Integrated with several POS system providers, so that restaurants can manage all in-house, takeout and delivery orders from one device. This integration frees up restaurant staff to focus on what they should be focusing on: cooking delicious food for diners.
- Created a function for restaurants to manage their menus in real time, so owners have the flexibility to instantaneously change and update menu items, including daily specials, providing diners the most up-to-date menu information and a wider variety of fresh options.
- Integrated Grubhub delivery features. Owners are given real-time status updates on driver location which helps restaurants decide when to fire food and also allows access to each driver’s contact info, so restaurants can reach out to drivers to check on orders or resolve issues for diners.
- Created a sophisticated ratings and reviews system that gives people the information they need to make ordering decisions. The system surfaces in-depth insights that are aggregated into an overall star rating as well as a score for each facet of the ordering experience (order accuracy, food quality, delivery time). This raises the bar for transparency and trust in the online restaurant ratings and reviews space and provides feedback for restaurants so they can improve the ordering/eating experience for diners.
- Will this technology upgrade involve additional costs or fees that affect customers (rise in delivery fee, rise in service charge, etc.)?
We will charge a small additional commission rate per order to restaurants that use one of our POS integrations. Grubhub will not charge diners any additional fees.