Fast-casual and quick-service brands continue to find innovative ways to adapt. Consumers want more diverse food options without conceding taste, quality, and, especially, convenience.
As such, limited-service operators are revamping menus and even store concepts to place an emphasis on speed and ease for customers. Capriotti’s, a fast-casual sandwich concept that operates more than 100 units in 18 states, is one of those chains.
Among the changes being made, David Bloom, Capriotti’s chief development officer, says the chain’s newly integrated point-of-sale will be featured in all of the brand’s stores, and that the initiative is aimed at improving and modernizing the customer experience.
“The use of technology in our daily lives is growing at exponential rates,” Bloom says. “As trends in not only technology, but also in every aspect of our lives evolve, it’s our job to evolve right along with them in order to provide the best dining experience that we can for our customers.”
The brand debuted its first pick-up window and is now rolling out an entirely new store prototype designed specifically to cater to demand for convenient, online ordering.
The pick-up window is the first step in Capriotti’s scheme to retrofit its ordering dynamic. Paired with the chain’s revamped mobile app, customers can order their sandwiches online or on their phones, pay virtually or in the store, then retrieve their sandwiches at the drive-thru pick-up window without leaving their cars.
Not every Capriotti’s will be updated with a pick-up window. All stores will, however, be updated with full POS integration and cubby system for managing new delivery/pickup systems.
The sandwich shop, started in Wilmington, Delaware, and renowned especially for its fresh turkey sandwiches, has redesigned its prototype to complement a virtually enhanced dining experience. New locations will feature not only the new pick-up window, but mobile ordering stations indoors that are paired with in-store pick-up cubbies for customers in a rush.
Capriotti’s innovation is part of a larger industry trend that is tilting heavily toward the tech-savvy. In a restaurant environment that’s been disrupted by cashless dining, third-party delivery services like GrubHub, and the increased prevalence of app-based ordering, it pays to be on the cutting edge
Panera Bread already offers mobile and kiosk ordering with a similar cubby system for picking up orders.
Chipotle partnered with Postmates in 2015 to introduce delivery to its customers, albeit for a fee. Dunkin’ Donuts just unveiled a new store that has a separate drive thru just for mobile orders. Third-party delivery is another perk that Capriotti’s is pursuing to make its customers’ experiences more convenient.
McDonald’s recently partnered with UberEats to deliver Big Macs to customers’ doorsteps, and even brands like Domino’s, for which online ordering is nothing new, continue to push mobile ordering and customer interaction further.
For a smaller brand like Capriotti’s, the instinct to go mobile might prove invaluable as the chain continues to expand. Leverage of a mobile app can improve the customer experience by collecting insights, rewarding repeat customers, and building loyalty.
By pairing that with a new, easier way to get in and out of the restaurant, Capriotti’s has positioned itself for success in this tech-driven industry, Bloom says.
“Our goal is to have our food ready for customers however, wherever and whenever they want,” Bloom says. “We are always striving to meet and exceed the demands and expectations of our consumers, which is the primary motivator for focusing on mobile ordering and tech. “