Guest post by David Bloom, founder & CEO of Ordr.in. The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Food+Tech Connect.
In the old days hungry diners like me had relatively few places to learn about restaurants and low expectations for the experience when we sat down. Not that we thought the food would be blah or the service indifferent, but that, more or less, you sit down and follow the script as given. Want sauce on the side? You are one of those kinds of people. Most of us stayed in line.
Today tons of information- from Yelp reviews to health department scores focus our attention on small differences between restaurants.
There is a yawning gap between a diner’s information and a restaurant’s. This is where the dining experience needs to be hacked.
I choose my restaurant based on many factors- location, cuisine, price. Am I eating alone on the road or close to home with my kids? Looking for someplace familiar or new? As a rule of thumb I will eat in a specific restaurant about every six weeks. All those other meals? Your experience didn’t align with my interests.
The restaurant on the other hand, is standing in line next to all the others, hoping to get picked like a 4th grader in gym class. A restaurant menu changes seasonally, if that. Customers change by the hour.
The ultimate hack is unlocking data to create a service experience that is about me, the customer, not what the chef and manager dreamed up before opening for business. The more you know about what I want in the moment I want it, the more orders you’ll get from me. A huge opportunity for your bottom line.
I’m not suggesting overhauling your menu for each customer every day. I am thinking about all the ways you interact with a customer- the email newsletter, social media, how well you understand my order history to remind me of what I love about you. Maybe the food too. Find me where I am online and let me order- don’t force me to come to you.
This kind of hack would make me happy and dine with you more often. All those extra orders will flow to your bottom line. We should all get behind this. And start hacking.
Hacking Dining is online conversation exploring how we might use technology and design to hack a better future for dining. Join the conversation between June 2-30, and share your ideas in the comments, on Twitter using #hackdining, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr.
David Bloom is founder & CEO of Ordr.in, a Google Ventures-backed open platform for restaurant ecommerce. Offering a series of transactional APIs connected to the country’s fastest growing restaurant ecommerce network, Ordr.in is changing the way customers and restaurants engage and transact online. David and Ordr.in were featured in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Brilliant 100, the Silicon Alley 100 and numerous restaurant and technology publications. David is a frequent speaker on ecommerce, APIs and restaurant technology.
Before Ordr.in David ran restaurant industry development for American Express and operations for an online food ordering company. In a past life David worked at the U.S. Treasury and at the Council on Foreign Relations where he was also a Term Member. He has been published in the Christian Science Monitor and provided commentary to National Public Radio.
David lives in Brooklyn with his understanding wife and two kids.