Off Premise Platform for Profitability

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Introduction

An off premise platform is one of the three main platforms essential for modern restaurants, alongside Back of House Platform and POS. It’s how operators manage everything outside their four walls. This includes big-ticket items like takeout and delivery and every touchpoint consumers have with your digital storefront.
Operators should pay as much attention to their digital storefront as they do to their physical storefront. This platform covers the entire digital diner journey from discovery to interaction and ordering. It’s where restaurants create demand, capture it, and convert it into repeat customers and profits.
For this to be successful, the platform must integrate tightly with your POS. These three platforms talking to each other is key to measuring your business effectively. Consolidating these features into one platform enables operators to monitor operations across locations and simplifies management.
Chowly is an off premise platform for SMB restaurants, helping them create, capture, and convert demand for profitability. We focus on creating foot traffic through Google ads, Meta ads, organic social posts, and listings management. Then, we help restaurants capture that demand through a high-performing first-party ordering experience, turning digital traffic into real orders.
Finally, we convert those orders into profitability with best-in-class integrations. This is where point-of-sale integration is crucial, allowing for smooth operations. Features like dynamic pricing ensure that restaurants are profiting from orders, not just processing them.
physical and digital storefronts

Emerging Trends in Restaurant Technology

The digital revolution has transformed restaurants, accelerated by COVID-19, making digital and off premise experiences essential for success. Chowly focuses on SMB restaurants, simplifying technology implementation to help them navigate this transition smoothly.
While companies like Olo create configurable solutions for enterprises with IT teams, Chowly offers seamless integration that just “works.” Our “done for you” mindset ensures SMBs can get up and running quickly, harnessing technology’s power without complexity. This approach allows them to concentrate on what matters most: making great food and providing excellent customer experiences.
Recent conversations highlight how restaurants are rethinking their tech stack. Over the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve seen significant consolidation, with restaurants often managing 30 to 50 different technology companies to run their operations. Chowly stands out by providing a streamlined solution, reducing this complexity.

Future of Restaurant Tech

Restaurants are increasingly seeking bundled solutions to reduce the number of tech vendors they manage. This shift has led to tech companies acquiring others to offer a holistic experience with a single invoice and unified support.
Chowly is part of this trend, enhancing our off premise platform by acquiring Koala and Targetable. This tech convergence is happening across three main categories: off premise platforms, point of sale (POS), and back office.
POS: The POS is the heartbeat of the restaurant, holding menu data, order data, and customer data. It includes kitchen display systems (KDS), kiosks, and all internal operations, crucial for managing rising labor costs.
Off Premise Platform: This covers everything outside the four walls, including digital storefronts, listings management, email marketing, paid ads, organic social media, first-party online ordering, and third-party ordering. It encompasses every digital interaction with your brand.
Back Office: This involves recipe management, inventory, accounting reconciliation, and reporting tools. Think comprehensive solutions like Microsoft 365 for essential back-office functions.
Future of restaurant tech
Top 3 questions to ask when selecting tech
By focusing on these three categories, restaurants can streamline their tech stack, improve efficiency, and better manage their operations. This consolidation is beneficial for restaurants, providing a comprehensive view of performance and simplifying management.
Over the next five years, expect a proliferation of off premise platforms, POS systems, and back-office software. This convergence will shape how operators manage their restaurants, with Chowly playing a pivotal role in facilitating this integration and empowering operators with data and insights to scale operations successfully.

Framework for Off Premise Success:
Create, Capture, Convert

The framework for successful off premise operations in restaurants revolves around three critical Cs: Create, Capture, and Convert. This approach not only drives traffic but transforms it into profitable and repeat business.
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Create

Creating demand goes beyond the physical presence of a restaurant. As digital presence becomes as critical as the physical, ensuring that digital storefronts are as deliberate and appealing as the physical ones is essential. It involves being where the consumers are, whether it’s on search engines like Google, review platforms like Yelp or TripAdvisor, or social media channels. This digital exposure acts as multiple doorways funneling potential customers to the restaurant.
Effective demand creation requires engaging content that connects consumers with the restaurant from afar. This includes everything visible about your restaurant—from the food and events to the staff and special promotions. Each element is content that enhances your digital footprint and draws consumers. Engaging actively with consumers across various digital platforms, including responding to reviews and posting regular updates, is crucial. The goal is to make your restaurant discoverable and appealing in the digital landscape where a simple search or social media scroll can turn into foot traffic. This doesn’t have to be hard or super time consuming either.
Restaurant Marketing Essentials Checklist

Capture

Capturing demand involves converting interest into action. It’s about making the process from discovery to transaction as seamless as possible. For instance, if a potential customer decides to order tacos after seeing an appetizing image online, how many clicks does it take for them to finalize their order? The website and online ordering system should be optimized for ease, reducing the steps to purchase. Key aspects include up-to-date menus, accurate business hours, high-quality images, mobile-friendly interfaces, and quick load times. Integration with digital wallets and allowing guest checkouts can also enhance the ease of placing an order.

Convert

The “Convert” step in the off premise restaurant framework aims to transform one-time transactions into repeat business, crucial for sustained profitability. By integrating digital orders into the restaurant’s POS system, the order flow from customer to kitchen is streamlined. Encouraging customers to order directly through first-party channels on subsequent visits can reduce third-party fees, which typically range from 20-30%, enhancing profitability while fostering customer loyalty.
Conversion strategies extend beyond mere sales; they aim to cultivate a cycle of repeat business. This includes targeting previous customers with special offers and dynamically optimizing menu pricing based on factors such as the order platform or peak times, ensuring both competitiveness and profitability.
Profitability Summit taco platter
Effective conversion practices not only encourage repeat visits but also transform customers into advocates for the restaurant. Addressing the profitability of conversions, it’s essential to assess whether third-party prices are competitive and dynamic, and whether delivery fees are strategically set for first-party orders. Restaurants should prompt customers to order directly next time, steering them towards more profitable ordering channels.
Conversion is pivotal because a substantial portion of restaurant revenue often comes from repeat customers—typically, 50% of revenue comes from the top 10% of customers. Retention strategies should focus on engagement rather than sheer popularity, recognizing that even less popular menu items can foster high customer loyalty.
Ultimately, an effective off premise platform should not only facilitate the creation and capture of demand but also adeptly convert this into ongoing profitability and customer loyalty. If your current system doesn’t effectively support these goals, platforms like Chowly are designed to optimize these processes for SMB restaurants, ensuring they can thrive in a competitive digital marketplace.

Hospitality Moment

Every successful restaurant brand we’ve talked to has a few key elements: great food, excellent operations, and strong financials. But there’s one more critical factor they possess—a hospitality moment. This unique aspect drives people to your brand and sets you apart from the competition. It’s your differentiator, the reason someone chooses your restaurant over another.
This hospitality moment can be anything—a signature dish, a unique theme, the atmosphere, a well-thought-out cocktail list, or a simple phrase like saying “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome,” as we’ve all experienced at Chick-fil-A. For instance, a nearby hot dog place in Denver has a loyalty program that texts a funny dad joke once a week. That simple gesture connects customers to the restaurant. Other examples include Jimmy John’s with its insanely fast service, Torchy’s Tacos with a full bar alongside a QSR, and The Wiener’s Circle with its unique personality.
Every growing brand needs a hospitality moment. It’s an addition to the essentials of great food, excellent customer experience, and strong financial controls. This is the unique touch that helps attract and retain customers, driving your business forward.

Return on Time

Return on Time is the heartbeat of SMBs in the restaurant industry. While enterprise groups may prioritize ROI, for SMBs, time is the most valuable resource. SMB restaurateurs are pulled in many directions, and their limited time needs to be spent wisely to ensure success.
Offloading certain responsibilities to tech companies that can automate tasks allows operators to focus on high-impact projects. Keeping menus, online listings, and social media profiles updated is essential but can be 95% automated with the right technology. These simple actions not only save time but also significantly impact customer perception, engagement, and profitability.
Profitability Summit Return on Time
Investing time wisely in digital presence upkeep allows SMBs to enhance visibility, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve long-term success in the competitive restaurant landscape. In the restaurant industry, it’s not just about a return on investment; it’s about a return on time. Operators face numerous challenges, from managing multiple technology solutions to dealing with staffing issues and equipment maintenance.
Ensuring tasks like updating Google hours, maintaining accurate menus, and posting regularly on social media are automated, allows operators to provide a better customer experience and focus on delivering great food. Technology provides the greatest efficiency and uplift by allowing restaurants to streamline these tasks, giving operators more time to focus on what truly matters.

Conclusion

Chowly is a dynamic off premise platform that empowers restaurants to create, capture, and convert customer demand effectively. We start by generating demand with robust digital marketing strategies, including platforms like Meta and Google, and comprehensive listings management. We then capture this demand with a tailored, high-performance online ordering system that ensures every customer interaction is an opportunity for conversion. Finally, we turn this captured demand into profitable sales, seamlessly integrating with your existing POS system to enhance efficiency and profitability.

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