Volume 48, Number Three
[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he ever-evolving digital landscape is keeping foodservice operators on their toes as they run to keep up with their customers’ desire for convenience. Such pursuits are assuming various forms, from smartphone customer loyalty apps to delivery options through smart TVs. The possibilities are endless. We’ve picked some of our faves to highlight.
Starbucks executives recently announced the launch of two new mobile services. The ordering and payment app, which was tested in select U.S. cities in 2014, will become available across the U.S. and Canada this year. It allows customers to order and pay for their coffee and baked goods before they step into a Starbucks location. The Seattle-based company also announced details of a delivery service, which will roll out in Seattle and New York City this year. New Yorkers will place their order via the Starbucks company website, and a Starbucks employee will deliver it to select office buildings. Seattle-based patrons will order on the app, and it will be delivered by Postmates, a local startup.
Domino’s Pizza customers can now order their pie with the flick of the wrist and then follow its progress. All it takes is smartwatch technology (Pebble or Android Wear) and the Domino’s Tracker app. What’s more, hungry patrons can also order through a voice-ordering app and Domino’s Samsung Smart TV. It’s all part of the chain’s “AnyWare “campaign, which promotes using technology to place orders on multiple devices. It’s a huge market — the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company generates approximately 50 per cent of its U.S. sales through its digital channels, according to Tim McIntyre, VP of Communications.
Pizza Hut customers will soon order dinner through their car thanks to a new partnership between Pizza Hut, Visa and Dublin, Ireland-based technology consulting film, Accenture. Orders will be placed using voice-activated technology, and they will be paid by Visa via controls integrated into the connected car’s dashboard. And, there’s more: the vehicle will use Beacon technology (Bluetooth LTE) to alert Pizza Hut employees when a customer arrives on location for pick-up. The Plano, Texas-based division of Pizza Hut’s parent company, Yum Brands, plans to test the connected car in Northern California this spring, but no national roll-out date has been announced. No news yet on what type or brand of car will be outfitted with the Yum gear.
Orlando, Fla.-based Dealyze Inc. has launched a mobile app, which allows restaurateurs (and other businesses) to create personalized loyalty rewards programs. Interested operators receive an in-store tablet and a custom-built loyalty-rewards program app within two weeks of sending Dealyze a logo and branding assets. Then a link to the app is emailed to customers who register via the in-store tablet. At that point operators can create unique digital Òpunch cardsÓ rewarding customers for visiting their location, while collecting data for personalized emails and texts offering daily specials and deals. The program is being piloted in 10 Cold Stone Creamery locations in Florida and Puerto Rico, and 40 other businesses are purported to be using Dealyze. Clients have reported seeing up to a 13-per-cent increase in revenue after adopting the system, and theyÕve noted a 10-per-cent boost in sales after sending a deal via email, says Bill Baron, founder and CEO, Dealyze.