How a Chicago restaurant’s mobile app doubles as contactless payment and delivery

Published August 10, 2020

With a nearly five-star rating in both the Play Store and the App Store, Chicago’s Roots Pizza offers a mobile restaurant app experience that customers seem to love. Technology was always a priority for Scott Weiner, multi-site operator and co-owner of the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, who focused on using digital channels to connect with customers where they want to be.

Part of Scott’s initial philosophy behind opening Roots Pizza was to invest in long-term infrastructure that would support his early premonition that consumer preferences would continue shifting towards a more technologically driven, mobile-oriented dining experience.

Out of his more than 20 different restaurant concepts throughout Chicago, one concept that remained open for business amidst the pandemic is Roots Pizza, a self-made, multi-unit, neighborhood staple. But with everything going on, how were they able to maintain business continuity when other restaurants were being forced to shutter their restaurants or consider alternative operating models?

It all came down to their technology: Roots Pizza was structurally built to successfully cater to online ordering, ATO (assemble-to-order) and delivery. Here’s how: 

 

Create a robust delivery service program

They established internal delivery service as part of their original value proposition, integrated with the NCR Aloha Configuration Center to give them the necessary infrastructure for online ordering, loyalty programs and customer data, and — most recently — created a mobile app that has proved especially advantageous.

With the infrastructure already having been in place for years, it was no challenge to shift their focus entirely onto their take-out and delivery concepts. Business, in turn, continued to progress to nearly double its usual volume in to-go orders per week, which has been easily manageable. 

 

Launch a loyalty program to keep diners engaged

Beyond relying on their established methods of online ordering and delivery to maintain business continuity, they also homed in on their expansive loyalty program, its roughly 20,000 active annual members and their mobile app to promote their business and attract new customers. While still seeing an increase in the amount of loyalty members supporting their business, they also are seeing the tremendous upside that their mobile app has in attracting new customers to their program. 

 

Extending the restaurant experience beyond through the app

Root’s has seen a lot of success with their mobile app, powered through the NCR Engage app platform, and see it to be an important part of the way their business will continue to function moving forward. Roots leverages the app to seamlessly sign up users for their loyalty program as well as building push messaging into a communications channel to reach customers with promotions or other notices.

 

Looking into the future of contactless payments

Next, with contactless payment emerging as one of the near-future’s problems to be solved, customers will be able to use the app to pay for their meals providing a more convenient payment option. Similarly, in the spirit of establishing best practices when they open back up for sit-down business, he sees the app as an opportunity to replace physical menus to further provide a more comfortable and sanitary environment for his customers upon their return.

To explore online ordering and contactless payment options for your restaurant, check out NCR Aloha’s online ordering and contactless options.

Have you noticed any recent trends with loyalty/rewards programs (specifically for restaurants)?

Restaurants are serving people who are more digitally enabled than ever before. So customers expect digital food ordering choices and on-demand options, compelling incentives and services that cater to their lifestyle.

As a result, we are seeing restaurants trying to reclaim their own unique customer base, engaging them on a personal level and appealing to that core demographic of customers who represent their highest value audience.

Loyalty is a great way to do this because it gives the restaurant the ability to identify those customers and communicate with them directly, in a way that makes them feel appreciated and special. They can re-establish a direct connection through communication channels and learn what will keep them coming back—instead of going to a competitor.

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