Implementing technology in the restaurant business is more than a passing trend: it’s a requirement. More customers are embracing the convenience of online and mobile ordering, so it’s essential to have a system in place to reach this growing market segment.
PITA Mediterranean Street Food’s chief marketing officer Mike Carino can attest to the positive results of harnessing new technologies. “If you’re not online, you’re dead in the water,” says Carino. “It’s a necessary tool for restaurants going forward.”
Like many restaurants in the fast-casual segment, they noticed a shift in customer habits in favor of online ordering and delivery brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, they have broadened their business model to reach more digital and mobile customers in addition to in-store customers. For them, a mobile app has been a crucial tool.
In July 2022, PITA launched its app on the Apple iOS and Android platforms, allowing customers to order from the PITA location near them, earn loyalty points on every purchase and receive exclusive promotions and limited-time offers. The app was built through a partnership with Lunchbox and integrates seamlessly with the desktop online ordering platform.
Because orders come through the app on PITA’s internal online ordering system rather than a third-party platform, they have lower operating costs and can pass those savings on to customers. “Customers love having a delivery option without an inflated price, and they’re building up rewards with every dollar spent,” says Carino.
Since implementing the app, PITA has seen an increase in delivery orders and an increase in customer spending per order. Ordering in the app makes it easy to upsell, reminding customers that they can add items like a drink or a side to their ticket to earn additional loyalty points or cash in on a special promotion.
Previously, PITA relied on a text message-based platform, so the app opens new doors for to market to customers through push notifications and data gathered from their previous ordering history.
Adding an app to their franchisees’ tech stack has been beneficial to the owner-operators of PITA’s more than 35 locations nationwide. “The owners love it because of what we used to have. It wasn’t a very seamless process. With the app, it’s a more consolidated process for operations,” adds Carino.
While the app is still in its early days, Carino anticipates that the program will increase customer frequency and loyalty and looks forward to seeing its progress.