Will Grubhub's new platform solve fast casual's speed problem?


Will Grubhub's new platform solve fast casual's speed problem?


In an effort to solidify its status as a leader in the $250 billion U.S. takeout market, Grubhub has launched Ultimate technology, a hardware and software solution that integrates all restaurant ordering channels into one system.

“Diners have come to expect ordering ahead for pickup to breeze through busy rush hour crowds and grab their morning coffee or lunch, but currently they can only enjoy this convenience at large QSRs,” Grubhub Founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a company press release. “Ultimate now gives restaurants of any size this ability to please diners with an easy, digital pickup experience.”

Replacing error-prone handwritten scribbles and shouts, the platform connects the front- and back-of-the house with diners, giving them a clear view of their order status, according to Maloney, who said the company went a step further by building integrated kiosks and a digital queue — in person and online — so diners can see the exact status of their order at any time.

“Most people do not want to order in person or by calling if they have an alternative, and by integrating pickup with delivery orders our restaurant partners have a complete picture to more efficiently manage their operations,” he said.

Already in over 100 locations, the Ultimate pilot rollout had focused on New York City and Chicago where restaurants have seen pickup demand impact their bottom line.

“Since installing Ultimate, I’ve seen sales increase by 10% and employee costs decrease by 15%. I have staff preparing food instead of taking orders and my customers love the kiosks and transparency. This is a millennials’ dream come true,” Joe Germonatta of Art Bird & Whiskey Bar at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, said in the release.

How it works

Four components make up the Ultimate technology:

  1. Lightweight point of sale with direct integration to the Grubhub web and mobile app.
  2. Heads-up customer displays to show real-time order estimates across all channels.
  3. In-store self-ordering kiosks to complement the Grubhub app.
  4. Kitchen display system .

“Ultimate is exactly what I was looking for but didn’t know it,” David Morton, co-owner of Chicago-based DMK restaurant group, said in the release. “We have designed our new restaurants around this technology because it allows us to provide better service to our customers with less effort and cost. This is a game changer in quick-serve and fast casual restaurants.”

How it began
With more than five years of research and development, Ultimate began as an in-app queue where college students could order ahead while sitting in class and have a real-time view of exactly how many orders were ahead of them. They could continue to monitor their order status and would be notified when their order was ready. This transparency allowed students to manage their schedules and avoid skipping meals or eating at other restaurants because of unexpected long lines at their favorites and still get to their next class on time, said Zia Ahmed, senior director of dining services at The Ohio State University.

“Students enjoy the convenience of self-ordering opportunities, and we’ve seen demand for our food service operations increase since installation across our campus,” he said in the release. “It increased the efficiency of our operation while providing a service that is highly desired by our students,”

In addition to ordering ahead via Grubhub, in-store ordering kiosks allow restaurants to migrate employees away from the cash register and back to food prep lines and fulfillment areas, expediting and ensuring accuracy of orders and increasing throughput. Real-time ETAs appear once an order is placed, allowing customers and delivery drivers to time their arrival, avoiding unnecessary and frustrating waiting, according to the release. Driving further efficiency, the queue seen by customers is identical to that seen by all employees throughout the restaurant, sharing automatic updates at each stage of the order process.

A solution for stadiums and a food halls?
The technology also unlocks the potential for stadiums and food halls to join the next generation of restaurants, opening up a new experience for today’s digitally-savvy diner, according to the release. Instead of standing in never-ending lines, sports fans and concert-goers can order ahead directly from their seat via Grubhub, watching their place from the in-app queue for the exact moment the order is ready.

Food halls are able to provide diners a real-time view into wait times for a variety of restaurants, giving the diner control of balancing the choice between restaurant selection and time to food pickup.

Grubhub works with with more than 140,000 restaurant partners in over 2,700 U.S. cities and London.

Topics: Mobile Payments, Restaurants

Companies: Grubhub

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