Grubhub launched Thursday its Ultimate technology, a first-of-its-kind proprietary hardware and software solution that integrates all restaurant ordering channels into one system. Replacing error-prone handwritten scribbles and shouts, Ultimate is a digital workflow solution, connecting the front- and back-of-the house directly with diners and creating a transparent view into their order status—whether diners order for pickup or delivery on Grubhub, at an in-store kiosk, or directly with a cashier.
There are four components that make up the Ultimate technology:
- Lightweight point of sale (POS) with direct integration to the Grubhub web and mobile app
- Heads-up customer displays to show real-time order estimates across all channels
- In-store self-ordering kiosks to complement the Grubhub app
- Kitchen display system (KDS)
"Diners have come to expect ordering ahead for pickup to breeze through busy rush hour crowds and grab their morning coffee or lunch, but currently they can only enjoy this convenience at large [quick-serves]. Ultimate now gives restaurants of any size this ability to please diners with an easy, digital pickup experience," says Matt Maloney, Grubhub founder & CEO. "With Ultimate, we went even further by building integrated kiosks and a digital queue – in person and online—so diners can see the exact status of their order at any time. Most people do not want to order in person or by calling if they have an alternative, and by integrating pickup with delivery orders our restaurant partners have a complete picture to more efficiently manage their operations."
Pickup, which composes more than half of the over $250 billion U.S. takeout market, is a massive and growing opportunity that has not yet been transformed by digital ordering. The Ultimate technology accelerates adoption of digital pickup and improves capacity management for restaurants of all sizes, giving unique line of sight into all ETAs regardless of the ordering channel. Whether ordering on-the-go or in-person from the cashier or a kiosk, diners get complete visibility in the app and on the displays at the storefront through the Ultimate technology.
"Ultimate is exactly what I was looking for but didn't know it," says David Morton, co-owner of Chicago-based DMK restaurant group. "We have designed our new restaurants around this technology because it allows us to provide better service to our customers with less effort and cost. This is a game changer in quick-serve and fast casual restaurants."
With more than five years of research and development, Ultimate began as an in-app queue where college students could order ahead while sitting in class and have a real-time view of exactly how many orders were ahead of them. They could continue to monitor their order status and would be notified when their order was ready. This transparency allowed students to manage their schedules and avoid skipping meals or eating at other restaurants because of unexpected long lines at their favorites—and still get to their next class on time.
"Students enjoy the convenience of self-ordering opportunities, and we've seen demand for our food service operations increase since installation across our campus. It increased the efficiency of our operation while providing a service that is highly desired by our students," adds Zia Ahmed, Senior Director, Dining Services at The Ohio State University.
In addition to ordering ahead via Grubhub, in-store ordering kiosks allow restaurants to migrate employees away from the cash register and back to food prep lines and fulfilment areas, expediting and ensuring accuracy of orders and increasing throughput. Real-time ETAs appear once an order is placed, allowing customers and delivery drivers to precisely time their arrival, avoiding unnecessary and frustrating waiting. Driving further efficiency, the queue seen by customers is identical to that seen by all employees throughout the restaurant, sharing automatic updates at each stage of the order process.
The Ultimate technology also unlocks the potential for stadiums and food halls to join the next generation of restaurants, opening up a new experience for today's digitally-savvy diner. Instead of standing in never-ending lines, sports fans and concert-goers can order ahead directly from their seat via Grubhub, watching their place from the in-app queue for the exact moment the order is ready. Food halls are able to provide diners a real-time view into wait times for a variety of restaurants, giving the diner control of balancing the choice between restaurant selection and time to food pickup.
Restaurant owners and staff now have access to a custom-built solution, smoothing out process and demand during daily rushes. Currently in over 100 locations, the Ultimate pilot rollout has focused on New York City and Chicago where restaurants have seen pickup demand impact their bottom line. "Since installing Ultimate, I've seen sales increase by 10 percent and employee costs decrease by 15 percent. I have staff preparing food instead of taking orders and my customers love the kiosks and transparency. This is a millennials' dream come true," says Joe Germonatta of Art Bird & Whiskey Bar in Grand Central Station.