For some time, restaurants have been able to offer their guests the ability to order chow over mobile devices. But a new software company is applying the concept to the on-site experience.
“With our solution, guests can place and pay for orders from their own devices not only for take-out & delivery, but also while dining-in, ordering hotel room service, at a ball game, from a food truck, at a casino, or even on the golf-course,” says Nicolas Chaillan founder and CEO of anyGuest.com.
The NYC-based start-up offers “a Web-based mobile platform, enabling guests to use any device to order food and drinks from wherever they’re sitting, standing or leaning,” But ordering is just the first course.
Chaillan notes that today’s restaurants use 5 to 6 vendors for all their digital needs – online ordering, loyalty programs, surveys/comment cards, email/SMS marketing, reservation & waitlist management etc.
“We’ve consolidated the number of platforms an operator has to implement and manage – addressing all the same challenges and expanding the initial solution to cover the gamut of digital commerce for food service and hospitality. We offer all of these features for a flat monthly rate starting at just $50.”
One of the more unusual – and appealing – services of anyGuest.com is that it offers on-site guests the same convenient ordering experience, ubiquitous in today’s take-out & delivery space, by using their own devices to place and pay for orders. And there’s a big perk for operators, too. “As opposed to ‘tablet on the table’ solutions, we require no heavy up-front investment in hardware,” says Chaillan.
Another big draw of having guests use personal devices as opposed to fixed hardware, Chaillan feels, is that it allows operators to get their hands on valuable individual data about their customers and engage them before, during and after an on-site visit. “We focus on customer retention, as opposed to third party online ordering networks that are great for acquiring customers, but at a hefty premium and by promoting their own brand instead of that of the establishment.”
The back-end management system — where all data and content is available to managers – lets operators to “drill down and identify their best customers; lifetime spend, favorite orders, order frequency etc., then use that info for personalized direct marketing such as an automated SMS on your birthday offering you a coupon for your favorite dish.” says Chaillan.
The platform integrates nicely into existing websites and mobile apps for easy access. Guests can scan a QR code or enter their table number, view rich menus in multiple languages, and save credit card info for one-touch ordering, all from their own device. Orders get sent directly to the POS system as if the server inputted them manually.
Chaillan stresses that the platform is not a labor-saving tool. “We’re not looking to replace the human element, rather, enhance the guest experience by offering more convenience to guests while freeing up staff,” he says. “When the customer asks for the check, that’s three trips to the POS terminal, taking away from personal attention. If you streamline the process, it not only makes for a satisfied customer but also allows staff to focus their time where it matters most- making people happy. And isn’t that what it’s all about?”