Marlon Koch, CTO and Karl Heinz Koch, CEO
Guest experience is the backbone of any establishment in the food and beverage industry, whether it is a restaurant, a roadside cafe, or an online kitchen. Currently, with changing lifestyles, customer expectations, and food habits, the modern dynamics of guest experience have changed significantly.
Consider the long queue at a fast-food restaurant’s cash register that is moving at a snail’s pace. Given how today’s customers have grown accustomed to the ‘clicked and delivered’ culture, it is very likely that a millennial who just walked in will frown at the sight of the long queue and leave to get lunch elsewhere. In this case, apart from costing the restaurant a potential customer, both its online ratings and the customer’s personal experience take a hit. The fact is, waiting customers are merely the result of an often overlooked issue—inefficiency within the restaurant, something that can significantly slow down their table turnover.
It is true that quick table turnover directly translates into more sales for any restaurant. Although, at the same time, it is a delicate issue as a restaurant would never want to ruin a customer’s experience by rushing them out. Maximising table turnover requires tact, efficient teams, and more importantly in a digital world—technology, which can be the ultimate tool that does all the heavy lifting.
Technology will enable restaurateurs to move customers faster with more efficient ordering systems, faster checkouts, and apps that allow customers to order and pay in advance.
Integrated ecosystems for personalized experiences
However, adopting the right technology-based solutions can also get significantly tricky with the changing consumer preferences and rising costs, alongside the constant need for innovation in this competitive marketplace. Moreover, for restaurants, deploying a myriad of isolated technological solutions and later trying to connect those to improve workflows merely makes everything more expensive, all the while falling short of what’s required for future technology integrations and upgrades.
Against this backdrop, modern restaurateurs need an ‘integrated digital ecosystem,’ which can offer a solid basis to avoid vulnerabilities from API integrated solutions, personalise the data in one system, and facilitate future technology integration—creating a highly personalised, dynamic, and engaging guest experience.
Equipping the current food and beverage industry with the potential of these integrated digital ecosystems is MENU Technologies, a leading restaurant technology company.
Karl Heinz Koch (KHK), CEO of MENU, says, “We realised that on our mission to enhance the guest experience and enable personalised guest communication, we would need to offer a fully-integrated self-order, pay, and guest engagement ecosystem that is both modular and highly versatile.” This prompted MENU to develop a guest management system that encompasses all order types to cover the entire guest journey and can adapt to different service concepts and processes. With its technology, MENU enables faster table turnovers by administering multiple channels like self-order and pay kiosks, mobile and web-apps, including payment processing from one system to efficiently manage queues during peak hours – all through a consistent interface.
The company’s mobile platform even helps customers turn their smartphones into digital menus, from where they can order and pay at any time, even ahead of their restaurant visit without having to go through service waiting time. Today, MENU has become a reliable partner for several Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) and Fast Casual Restaurant (FCR) chains internationally. “We have effectively removed the complications from the service aspects of QSRs and FCRs. These chains, today, have a seamless omnichannel system, which enables their guests to order, re-order, and pay with any end-user device, including their smartphones,” adds KHK.
An Omnichannel Experience
We offer a fully-integrated self-order, pay, and guest engagement ecosystem that is both modular and highly versatile
According to Marlon Koch, the co-founder of MENU and KHK’ son, he set out with the idea to build a fully integrated ecosystem where guests have not only a consistent user interface but also a single profile across all channels, without any interruptions. The user experience and the unified profile, together with the built-in loyalty program enable the personalisation of order data across all of those channels, even on the POS system. Guests only need to register once, and their profiles along with their order history are made available on their preferred channels. Moreover, the integrated ecosystem’s loyalty program is also channel-independent, which provides clients with exceptional flexibility in ordering and paying. All these functionalities are enhanced by the onslaught of revolutionary new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), face and voice recognition, and dynamic menu boards. Through this integration, a kiosk, a mobile, or even a web app will be able to enable suggestive ordering, which not only expedites the ordering process but also provides more satisfactory experiences while at the same time increasing check size and optimising the supply chain for restaurants.
Designed by a team of highly experienced engineers, the MENU ecosystem was initially meant to cater specifically to full-service restaurants. However, in the last two years, the company has focused on QSRs and FCRs as its clientele. “We have grown tremendously in the last couple of years alongside the surging demand for self-ordering systems in the food and beverage space,” mentions KHK. It is a virtue for any modern IT company to continuously work on optimising their platform and advance the development curve to include additional functionalities. The team at MENU is no different.
They stay true to this virtue by diligently working on improving its code to create a reliable, proven, and scalable platform.
Delivering Exceptional Results
Working with MENU, a multitude of restaurants around the globe have observed an overwhelming value addition from MENU’s self-order and pay solutions. MENU’s customers have registered a 30 percent increase in the average ticket size compared to the order taken at the POS. Moreover, up to 70 percent of guests preferred to order digitally in QSR/FCR restaurants, whereas self-order and payment solutions with integrated loyalty increased repeat visits by 30 percent. Restaurants that deploy MENU’s solutions experience substantial efficiency gains since personnel previously assigned to take orders and process payments can now be redeployed in other areas to increase the restaurant’s throughput.
"MENU enables faster table turnovers by administering multiple channels like self-order and pay kiosks, mobile and web-app, including payment processing from one system to efficiently manage queues during peak hours – all through a consistent interface"
As a record of MENU’s eminence in the food and beverage industry, KHK cites the company’s successful engagement with dean&david—one of the Europe’s largest and fastest-growing healthy and fresh food restaurant chains. The company approached MENU to implement an omnichannel system to efficiently manage their food ordering processes. “With MENU, this fast-growing healthy food hub now serves more guests, faster,” reveals KHK.
Value in Innovation
According to Marlon Koch, today, for any restaurant chain owner, trying to connect independent digital solutions is not the way forward. This process will only get tedious with time, drain significant resources, and expose restaurants to serious vulnerability and failure in creating memorable and engaging guest experiences. MENU steps up to help these restaurant chains by modernising them, eliminating the redundant processes, and improving their revenues and guest satisfaction.
Inspired by progressive QSRs such as McDonald’s, which also runs on an integrated ecosystem approach, MENU offers a strong foundation for such innovative developments to evolve and embrace exciting new technologies in the competitive food and beverage environment.
Moving forward, MENU aims to grow as a leading technology provider in the industry and envisions positioning itself at the forefront of innovation. “The very idea of MENU stemmed from Marlon, who is the Tech Lead of the MENU team. He witnessed the inefficiencies in the current restaurant processes from a consumer’s point-of-view, and decided to go head-on against this issue by leveraging the latest technologies,” adds KHK. Today, driven by this same ambition to simplify and expedite services in the food and beverage space, MENU’s team strives to render more efficiency to its clients’ businesses and revitalise their customer experience strategies to match the expectations of digital-age consumers