Thoughtful online ordering platform adjustments can help quick-service concepts drive sales.

Like many quick-service restaurant brands, online ordering wasn’t a priority for Maple Street Biscuit until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, the brand operates more than 41 locations across the Southeast. However, co-founders Scott Moore and Gus Evans prefer to call the locations “community stores,” because in addition to operating as a restaurant, each store also opens its dining rooms for local business, club, and Bible study during the first hour they are open each day.

Because of this in-person, community-centric model, Moore says online operations took a back seat. While Maple Street Biscuit Company had partnered with Revel for many years to power its online ordering platform, the team rarely made changes to menu items or prices.

“Before the pandemic, online ordering was only a small percentage of business,” Moore says. “Now, online ordering is a major part of the business.”

Though this change was driven by pandemic lockdowns, Moore says he believes this growth in ordering will continue long after the pandemic, because consumer behavior has fundamentally changed.

Mark Harris, a former cafe manager and current director of product management at Revel, has seen a similar trend. 

“While online ordering was previously an important part of restaurants’ revenue streams, now it’s become a mandate,” he says. “A big pivot has occurred, and consumers have become habituated to ordering online. If there was any perceived barrier to online ordering before, it’s gone now, and online sales are growing exponentially.”

In order to keep up with this growing demand, Moore and Evans realized Maple Street needed to embrace a dynamic approach to online ordering. As a result, they turned to their partners at Revel to help them update their system to handle the steady stream of off-premises orders. Not only did Revel help them create a clean interface that allows guests to easily customize their orders, but Moore says Revel also helped the brand transform the online ordering system into a tailored communication tool to help stores maintain focus on serving their communities.

“Revel’s platform is flexible and lets us do some unusual things,” Moore says. “Early on, we wanted to offer a pantry to our guests with hard-to-find items like toilet paper because we had access to it. We needed to communicate to our guests that we had items they might never think to order from us. Communication about the pantry through the online ordering platform was so successful that for one week toilet paper was our top-selling item.”

Additionally, Moore says the quick-service brand wanted the platform to support it’s charitable “Hero Biscuit Box” initiative, which allows guests to purchase meals that will be donated to frontline healthcare workers. While communicating what these charitable offerings were might have been a challenge through more traditional online ordering platforms, Revel helped Maple Street set up a clean, easy-to-use tab design that clearly explains all the brand’s offerings, including the Hero Boxes. So far, it’s been effective. To date, more than 90,000 meals have been donated to healthcare workers through the system.

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And so far, these strategies have worked, generating a consistent 200-percent increase in online order traffic, which Moore notes was even higher at the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns. While sales growth in this business climate is a boon,  managing this increase in off-premises orders would be difficult were it not for the help Moore says his team has gotten from Revel’s order management software, which gives brands flexibility in how they receive orders. 

“We want to help restaurants create a native branded experience that creates loyalty through the look and feel of the platform or reward systems that are very easy for customers to use,” Harris says. “But we also want to complement this white label solution with seamless delivery management, which is a logistical service facilitated through our software that helps operators manage orders from both owned platforms and third-party aggregators.”

Most importantly, Moore says, the level of support Maple Street has received from the Revel team has not only helped the brand with near daily changes to their online ordering platform, but they are also easily reachable for support anytime the Maple Street team has questions. Even after working with the Revel team for several years, Moore says he’s received the same consistent level of service throughout their business relationship.

“Once, I flew out to a conference in Phoenix to discuss with the CEO an issue I was having, expecting him to tell me he’d find someone who could help,” Moore says. “Two weeks later, Greg Dukat, the CEO of Revel, flew to Jacksonville to meet with my leadership team to hear all the things we were looking for and to figure out how Revel could support us. From then on, the Revel team really won me over. And now that the industry is struggling, that’s the kind of partnership you need more than ever.”

To learn more about how Revel can help you manage your online ordering platform, visit the company’s website.

By Peggy Carouthers

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