Optimizing third-party integrations: How restaurants can save money

By Mo Chaar

Varying stages of lockdowns across the country have restaurants nationwide optimizing online ordering and delivery in an effort to maintain service despite ongoing dining bans. While the restaurant industry has relied heavily on these services during the pandemic, after a year of primarily takeout and delivery, restaurants are feeling the weight of the hefty commissions third-party delivery apps take.

However, while third-party delivery apps have typically received a bad rap, in many cases they’ve been a lifeline for struggling restaurants — especially when integrated within an in-house tech suite — who otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach their customers at all.

The key to absorbing some of the additional cost lies in the integration of third-party delivery apps into the in-house tech suite within the restaurant in order to optimize the existing technology, maintain cash flow, and retain control over customer service and loyalty while utilizing third-party delivery apps.

Integration is key

With many facets of technology driving restaurant operations — from POS systems to online ordering, third-party applications, waitlist management systems, reporting and more — it’s becoming increasingly essential to ensure these systems have the ability to talk to each other in order to streamline operations, increase efficiency and, ultimately, cut down on costs.

The pandemic has fast-tracked the need for integrated technology with the rise in popularity of online ordering and delivery services. This increased usage puts immense pressure on the efficiency of services. Integrated systems can cut out the need to manually input orders that are made online, eliminate the need for multiple tablet systems, and even cut out an additional middleman service. All of these costs impact your bottom line.

Integration in action

With locations across Canada, franchised locations expanding quickly, and the need to implement online ordering, Meltwich Food Co. needed a solution that would allow for rapid growth as well as a solution that would streamline operations. The challenges brought on by dining bans in Ontario meant that online ordering and delivery services, as well as and the need to save money at every opportunity possible, were essential to the survival of its Ontario stores. Further restrictions in other parts of Canada have also decreased the number of patrons they are able to serve each day, relying on online orders to make up the difference.

By implementing a POS which integrates its chosen online ordering solution, Meltwich was able to speed up its operations by saving on the time it took to manually punch in orders from third-party systems that weren’t previously integrated into their system. This integrated technology ensured that orders were free from human error, reducing food waste and increasing labour efficiency. Using both POS systems that easily integrate with additional systems coupled with platforms that integrate third-party delivery services, its operations were able to perform together without the need for manual input. This allowed Meltwich’s employees to focus on aspects such as customer service and food quality as the technology worked smoothly together in the background.

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As operations sped up, Meltwich was able to save money by reducing labour costs and increasing efficiency, maintaining cash flow to open up additional franchised locations. Franchisees were able to open third and fourth stores as they saw Meltwich’s tech-forward approach reduce barriers to rapid scalability. As the systems and the brand grew, the operational fees decreased dramatically, continuing to allow them to save money even while expanding their presence.

Meltwich has now become completely digital, taking advantage of other aspects of integrated technology such as the ability to customize and edit menus remotely and access in-depth reporting to look at other areas of opportunity for cost-saving and efficiency.

Third-party integration: A lifeline for restaurants

While third-party delivery services have often been criticized for high service charges, these platforms have been essential for restaurants to reach a wider customer base and cater to the new normal as dining bans and restrictions continue across Canada for the foreseeable future. Utilizing in-house technology and integrated systems, restaurants have the ability to leverage this technology to alleviate some of the financial burden of third-party delivery apps, and pursue expanded growth opportunities even in the midst of the pandemic.

With the rise in popularity of services that require modern technology, such as contactless payment, online ordering and third-party delivery, it can seem overwhelming to implement so many various systems and platforms to accommodate what customers expect as the norm now. Integrated systems are the key to operational success, allowing employees to spend more time ensuring smooth transactions, error-free orders and quality of food and service to ensure guests have an exceptional experience — ensuring guest satisfaction and repeat business.

Mo Chaar is the Chief Commercial Officer of Givex, where he oversees commercial strategy and development worldwide as well as managing sales teams within North America. His experience in gift card, loyalty, and POS has played a pivotal role in the success of some of Givex’s largest partners.