The pandemic forever changed consumers’ dining habits. At its height, price (and even taste) were no longer the primary consideration when it came to eating out. Now customers are craving a digital-forward experience that’s intuitive and simple. Safety and convenience have rapidly become the measures of value.
The past three years have also seen new developments—such as order-ahead, mobile apps, and curbside pickup—become ubiquitous, and digital ordering has matured from an awareness perspective. But this new environment comes with its own set of complex challenges. Because of the labor shortage and the explosion in off-premises dining, operators must now do more with less—including managing in-store staff, wrangling dozens (or even hundreds) of third-party delivery drivers each day, and long lines of guests who want to-go food.
“There’s now a real need to speed up queues at counter-service restaurants,” says Jeremy Brazeal, executive creative director at Reality Interactive.
Many restaurant brands are meeting the moment by streamlining operations as well as the guest experience with new digital tools. QR codes, for instance, are easily used anywhere guests need to build their order, as well as to provide traditional menu access. The recently launched AXSIS® Product Ordering Web-App allows customers to scan a product QR code with their phone, access a product page, read an item’s description, and place an order. It can also be used to scan a location-specific QR code (such as a specific table in a restaurant) to access a digital menu and place food orders. This allows guests to avoid lines and queues, and restaurants to keep operations efficient even with a short staff.
For example, at an ice cream counter, typically staff helps one customer at a time during busy shifts. With the AXSIS Product Ordering Web-App, customers can simply scan individual flavors to build their order with the number of scoops, type of cone, toppings, and so on. Since the app is web-based, customers don’t need to spend time on an app download or any additional steps. Once an order is placed, guests receive updates to their device, so they know where orders are in the preparation process, and when they are ready for pickup.
On the restaurant side, associates can accept, flag, or fill orders and engage customers for order corrections—and the technology helps educate not only customers, but employees too. Front-of-house staff can now understand all the details about a product at a glance, allowing them to better engage with customers who need guidance or have questions.
QR codes can also be based on a table location. For instance, when scanned, a QR code at a specific table launches the entire menu. Guests can place their order from the table before a server ever greets them.
“All of this allows customers to order the way they want to—from their phones—while increasing productivity and sales with fewer employees and less overhead on the business side,” Brazeal says.
The AXSIS Product Ordering Web-App is designed to meet the needs of the mid–large sized counter-service restaurant market as well as newer startups that have multiple franchise locations. Typically, these businesses don’t have deep IT networks yet and are looking for ways to leverage enterprise technology at a palatable cost.
“We develop tools that integrate into their existing backend systems,” says Bryson Hyte, co-founder and CTO at Reality Interactive. “We can tweak them, customize them, and get them up and running very quickly.”
At the end of the day, it all comes back to making life better for human beings by returning something money can’t buy: time.
“We are really in the time-saving business,” Brazeal says. “Everything we do is to speed up the path to purchase and give people their time back—whether that's customers, employees, or business owners.”
To learn more, visit realityi.com/axpm.