How technology is differentiator for pizza brands

Today’s pizzerias need flexible platforms able to handle and adapt to the many ways hungry masses prefer to place their orders.

When you consider the classic nature of pizza, from a delicious dough base to the flavorful sauce and customizable toppings, tech innovation likely isn’t your next thought. But it’s true: the pizza industry has often led the charge in breaking new technological ground dating back to the first pizza delivery in 1889.

Flash forward a few centuries, and the classic dish is as popular as ever. That means the market is also ever-ready for technology that facilitates getting fresh, hot pies from kitchens to dining tables (or your couch!). In this blog post, we’ll explore how technology continues to be a differentiator for pizza brands.

Managing plus organizing order channels

Delivery is merely one alternative to the dine-in option for restaurant orders. Now there’s also online ordering, drive thru, curbside pickup, text ordering, AI ordering and even videogame integration for fast food favorites. All of those inbound channels can be a nightmare to manage effectively without the right backend solution in place.

Today’s pizzerias need flexible platforms able to handle and adapt to the many ways hungry masses prefer to place their orders. And in addition to making it easy for the guest, orders need to be accurate, fast and reflective of available inventory.

Integrated digital kitchen management systems are true game changers in a restaurant’s ability to handle a variety of ordering channels. Not only do they give your staff the flexibility to track key performance indicators in real time — like how long a drive thru order has been waiting in the queue — and the ability to customize displayed information down to station-specific tasks, they also provide essential information for your back office.

Does your brand see an uptick in office catering orders on Wednesdays? Do you have a line cook going a bit too heavy on the mozzarella for regular pies? Is there a choke point in your kitchen that could be eliminated with simple reorganization? These insights are at an operator’s fingertips with the right digital solution and can save brands major dollars in time and food waste when implemented well.

Maximizing efficiency

Finding and keeping great staff isn’t a new challenge for pizza brands. In fact, according to the Center for American Progress, turnover rates have hovered around 30% in the hospitality industry for years.

Rather than fixating on a longtime pain point, operators can look to an increasingly expanding set of solutions to offset the labor challenge. For example, advances in digital delivery solutions have led to significant process efficiencies, making life easier for drivers and operators and saving time and money along the way.

“Functionality is lightyears ahead of what we had been using,” Reed Daniels, CEO of Red’s Savoy Pizza, said. “Our drivers were wasting so much time putting their guests’ addresses into their phones. Now, we have turn-by-turn directions with one click. We’re using technology to make our team’s job easier, which will hopefully translate to a better guest experience.”

Other digital solutions, such as online ordering and kiosks, can significantly lessen an operator’s need for front-of-house team members. And today, each customer’s mobile device can effectively function as a “pocket kiosk,” allowing them to digitally place an order with your restaurant without requiring any fancy hardware or waitstaff intervention.

Not only can digital solutions offset your labor needs and costs, chances are, your guests expect them. “About 40% of our transactions are digital, which accounts for roughly 51% of our revenue,” Daniels adds. Digital sales are poised to continue gaining traction and popularity with guests of all dining styles and are a worthy consideration for any pizza brand.

Improving customer reach plus profitability

When it comes to expanding customer reach, a truly open platform for your tech stack that easily enables integrations is key. Third-party solutions like delivery marketplace listings are quick to implement and, importantly, quick to provide returns on your investment.

There’s a great case for pizza brands that prefer to own the entire customer journey for online ordering and delivery orders, not to mention full profits for those orders. However, increasingly brands are considering hybrid solutions, where they continue to prioritize native solutions, but supplement those with offerings like marketplace listings.

The food delivery industry is expected to grow to $320 billion by 2029. Two major players in the food delivery app marketplace account for 83% of the U.S. market share alone, offering pizza brands new exposure in a crowded space with high consumer demand.

“Third-party delivery platforms have their own loyal subscriber bases, and we believe there is significant incrementality with each partner, meaning we’ll miss out on revenue if we don’t play on all of these platforms,” Brad Eaton, president of franchise operations at Sauce on the Side, said.

If marketplace listings are still on the table for your brand as untapped offerings, now is a great time to consider adding them to your marketing strategy.

Reinforcing resilience to market changes

We can’t predict the future, but we can control the controllable. Given the sometimes volatile, largely unpredictable nature of the broader economy, it’s not a bad philosophy for businesses to adopt. In order to control the controllable, pizza brands need to embrace flexibility.

“By moving from our legacy POS to a cloud solution we dramatically lowered our total cost of ownership while at the same time gaining flexibility for the future,” Jon Moss, senior vice president and chief brand officer at Pizza Ranch, said in a press release.

Brands that utilize a flexible digital platform can easily adapt as the marketplace does. Is your pizzeria poised to weather marketplace storms with the right tech stack? If you’re not sure, now is a great time to do something about it.

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