Richard Rotbard, CEO
The popularity of online food ordering is on a meteoric rise. From giants like Grubhub and UberEats to small startups—direct-to-customer delivery options are sweeping the nation. It is hardly surprising that online food delivery is set to supersize to over a hefty $300 billion by 2025 especially owing to the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, while we all love the idea of browsing through tons of restaurants to compare the prices and place the order, many of us are stuck in the maze of static menus. From there, we are directed to third-party ordering systems through a time-consuming process. This often leads to restaurateurs losing their customers and, ultimately, their revenue.
Eliminating the hassle for both customers and restaurateurs in online food ordering is the Simplified Online Ordering Platform or SOOP. The company offers an online ordering system that enables customers to order by menu or via a simple text message. Its AI-driven text-to-order capability simplifies the food ordering process for end-customers. SOOP further helps restaurants embed interactive menus on their own website, thereby increasing their customer retention and revenue. “Our biggest differentiator is that we are going beyond just allowing clients to order by the menu to enabling them to order by text as well. We are one of a kind in the way we facilitate text ordering by providing one number to all customers and leveraging AI to determine the orders and the method of delivery,” states Richard Rotbard, the CEO of SOOP.
SOOP has a built-in texting feature that allows end-consumers to easily register and use the number ‘99814’ to place orders with a participating restaurant without an app or a web search. Orders can be placed via text message using natural language. SOOP’s AI capabilities analyze the message and help discern the ordering patterns, choices, and needs of the consumers, making the online ordering process more seamless. In addition, the texting capability has proven to yield higher average tickets as compared to menu orders. These text orders are then sent directly to the restaurants of their choice.
The company also has an app that allows consumers to search for restaurants locally, order from their menus directly, view order history and manage their accounts. Although SOOP has an app, it is not required for a customer to use the app to place online orders. “One of our taglines is ‘skip the apps’. We allow consumers to not only skip the line by ordering ahead but also to skip the apps by completing orders via texts or a menu embedded directly into a restaurant’s website,” adds Rotbard.
Restaurateurs can also access its interface using any mobile device to view and promptly respond to queued orders. As a result, they can ensure customers’ orders are acknowledged and responded to on time. Not stopping there, SOOP helps clients who have invested in their own websites to maximize customer retention by embedding an interactive menu for them to place orders on. The embedded menu is customizable so that it maintains the same look and feel of the restaurant’s website, which maintains their brand appeal to retain more customers. Furthermore, unlike other ordering systems, SOOP offers several levels of “nested” add-ons for certain items that help guide end-consumers through the ordering process for more accurate orders. This means the add-ons of menu items can have add-ons themselves.
Our biggest differentiator is that we are going beyond just allowing clients to order by the menu to enable them to order by text as well
Coupled with its robust capabilities, SOOP offers features like curbside pickup and even a visual pizza builder for easy pizza ordering. This allows a customer to choose the toppings and their corresponding sides of the pizza more easily than any other online ordering system. These features deliver an easy and fun experience for clients while ordering their food. SOOP handles the entire delivery scheduling process via their partnership with a delivery management system and allows customers to easily track the deliveries. This delivery management system allows the restaurant to manage their own delivery drivers or outsource to Postmates/Uber or DoorDash without paying the high commissions associated with their services. SOOP also offers dashboard reporting capabilities that allow operators to view important order statistics and track customer tickets, which results in better business outcomes.
Despite being a relatively new player, SOOP has already established a strong foothold in the online food ordering space. From its initial days, the company has emphasized developing and improving its solution rather than just marketing it. SOOP has previously launched a few beta versions of its interface, which has shown remarkable success with restaurants using it. Even with the pandemic affecting the business, SOOP has acquired some very promising leads that have grown multifold. Apart from this, the company has also conducted several polls which show how well consumers have responded to its product.
Looking ahead, SOOP will be creating more of a statistics-based infrastructure rather than a review-based one to eliminate the biases that exist in the industry. The company will also include more reservations and convenience features wrapped around text message commands. “Our current focus is on improving the capabilities of our solution. With our exemplary online ordering tool, AI engine, and method of placing order, we are looking to expand to other application areas, including groceries and hospital. We ultimately want to become more of a concierge for the consumers,” concludes Rotbard.