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Data: Restaurant Tech’s Biggest Opportunity

As online ordering becomes more the norm, the next step in on the path to digitization is all about data. More specifically, it is about making sense of the mountains of customer data brought about by the uptick in digital ordering. Think customer order history, dietary preferences, as well as external data like weather, nearby events, and other factors that could impact restaurant traffic.

A company that wants to help restaurants make sense of all this is Brightloom. 

Until relatively recently, Brightloom went by the name Eatsa, and for a time was a restaurant itself, pushing whole hyper-digitized, automated-dining concept long before major QSRs started adopting cubbies and kiosks. The Eatsa restaurant itself didn’t last terribly long. In fact, the company started shuttering these locations in 2017 and by the end of that year was licensing its automated-restaurant technology out to others instead of trying to own the whole stack.

Fast-forward to 2020, thick in the middle of the pandemic, and the company had changed course again. It rebranded as Brightloom and pivoted sharply away from automated ordering tech to what CEO Adam Brotman refers to as a “data driven personalization service.” Instead of providing cubbies and online order systems for the restaurant front of house, Eatsa now provides a “customer growth” platform through which restaurants can access and analyze their data. 

Brotman told me this past spring that the reason for the shift was that digital ordering “was becoming some[thing] of a commodity.” Even before the pandemic shut dining rooms down and forced more restaurants to rely on off-premises channels like pickup and delivery, businesses were incorporating more ways for customers to order digitally. All those order channels — apps, websites, even SMS — produce data that, with the right tools, can be extremely valuable to restaurants in terms of being able to offer customers relevant experiences and upsells.

Boston Consulting Group notes that one-third of restaurants’ digital customers ordered online for the first time during the pandemic. That number is expected to go up, and restaurants will have to meet that demand. “Going digital” nowadays means being able to message and connect with restaurant customers directly, knowing what they buy from how, how often they’re buying it, and through which channels. 

“Even just having a great looking website or mobile app is not easy. Organizing your data and doing data driven, personalized marketing, on your email and push notifications, that is even harder,” Brotman said. 

Brightloom addresses those types of areas for restaurants, and the company has recently seen its popularity among restaurants grow. The company claimed in a press release this month that restaurants using the Brightloom platform “experienced lifts in revenue per guest of 5.7% or more across 23 million guests.” The company has also added larger-name chains, such as Ruby Tuesday and El Pollo Loco, to its roster of customers. Finally, Brightloom also recently launched Brightloom Pro, which includes more customization capabilities for individual restaurant brands. 

Food tech investor Brita Rosenheim recently noted that it’s “dizzying” for restaurant operators to make decisions around how to use their data. Because of that, there is a tremendous opportunity for restaurant tech companies that can partner with these restaurants  to help them “utilize customer data to better uphold their brand, funnel customers into more profitable channels, and make better decisions about merchandising, pricing, and promotions.”

If you want to learn more about this brave new data-centric restaurant world, join The Spoon and guests on August 17 for a virtual Restaurant Tech Summit. Brightloom and Adam Brotman will join the likes of Olo, Delivery Hero, Wow Bao, and many other restaurants and restaurant tech companies. Grab a ticket here, and come ready to ask some questions. 

Source: thespoontech.com

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