Flexible Technology is a Must for Restaurants in 2021

    In a rapidly changing industry, quick-service brands need technology that adapts with them.
    Sponsored Content | July 14, 2021
    Flexible Technology is a Must for Restaurants in 2021
    Elo

    Of all the lessons restaurants learned amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the most important can be summed up in two words: Be flexible. Whether restaurants faced indoor dining restrictions; the rise of kiosks, delivery, and carryout; or labor shortages, adaptability has been a crucial survival tactic. Yet as brands have shifted operational strategies, they’ve realized the need for technology that is equally as adaptable.

    “Flexibility plays a key role in ensuring the success of our restaurant customers, both technically and operationally” says Rick Smith, director of business development at Elo. “We saw in 2020 that the brands that adapt the fastest have the greatest chance of survival, such as when restaurants suddenly couldn’t serve customers indoors and needed to shift to mobile and outdoor ordering and fulfillment.”

    Yet in adapting quickly, restaurants found that not all technology is capable of keeping up. For example, Smith says that while many in the industry viewed self-service applications as an extension of existing Point of Sale (POS) technology, restaurants today need the opposite: POS that is an extension of mobile and self-service ordering applications and architecture.

    Just ask Scott Scherer, chief information officer at Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems. The popular New Jersey-based sandwich chain, which now operates close to 2,000 locations worldwide first adopted Elo about 15 years ago when the brand wanted to upgrade its mouse and keyboard setup for touchscreens.

    Hear Scherer describe his Android transformation in the "How Jersey Mike’s Tackled Evolving Consumer Needs During Covid" on-demand webinar.

    “Elo was the best and first touchscreen available, which really changed the industry and our business,” Scherer says. “Since then, we’ve tried new hardware, but we ended up coming back to Elo, because we need a unified platform that would work with our cloud-based Android consumer app and pair with our existing hardware.”

    Though Jersey Mike’s had to develop both iOS and Android apps for customers, when it came to internal software, Scherer says the chain decided to stick with Android largely because the brand wanted to get rid of bulky credit card processing terminals for aesthetic purposes while also increasing the size of guest-facing screens to deliver marketing and loyalty messages.

    “We wanted to have more control than we could get with a PIN pad and smaller screen, so we were looking for a system that would allow us to do marketing, loyalty, gift cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and credit card processing all from a single unit,” Scherer says. “We found that Ingenico could plug directly into the Elo Android tablet and the Android-based system, and since we already have Android tablets for customer-facing terminals, we wanted to go with the same hardware platform throughout our stores. Because Ingenico and Elo have a great relationship, we were able to get two technologies that work well together and had support for any issues that surfaced.”

    While Scherer says Jersey Mike’s already had a robust mobile platform for customers and third-party delivery integrations prior to the pandemic, he also notes that the system made it easy to transition rapidly from what had previously been mostly in-store orders to what become mostly digital orders.

    Elo’s flexibility stems from the company's expertise on the Android platform, as well as its unified architecture. This gives restaurants the ability to roll out whatever new hardware or software they need without disrupting their technology ecosystem.

    “A unified architecture allows all the systems to run on the same technology and driver sets, which allows for a more efficient and quicker resolution of trouble tickets, as well as flexibility to adjust along with their operations,” Smith says. “For example, we had customers at the beginning of the pandemic that suddenly didn’t need front counter POS solutions, but they had an increased need for self-service solutions. Since they used the Elo I-Series for both applications they were able to quickly swap applications on those terminals through EloView and continue serving customers.”

    Now, as the industry faces new challenges, such as varying stages of reopening and a nationwide labor shortage, Smith says Elo’s flexibility can help brands rapidly change models to suit their needs and gain efficiencies while still providing a high level of customer service.

    “We have seen many changes coming out of the pandemic,” Smith says. “We will continue to see technology maturing, especially in terms of AI interfaces. Consumers feel the added flexibility these solutions provide is much more convenient, which tells us these are trends that will stick around for quite some time.”

    To learn more about how a flexible Android technology can help streamline your restaurant’s operations, visit the Elo website.