Lynnwood, Washington-based fast casual chain Blazing Onion is continuing with its mission to implement new layers of technology throughout its restaurants. The chain has deployed eTouchMenu at its restaurant in Gig Harbor, Washington, and plans to launch the digital menu platform across all seven locations.
eTouchMenu expands on a restaurant's paper menu by taking it one step further through a digital application.The technology is compatible on Android, Windows and Apple devices, and in the case of Blazing Onion, eTouchMenu has increased menu customization options, improved check averages and dessert sales, and enhanced the overall guest connection.
"We've been looking to use digital menus for a while now and we had a difficult time finding someone to partner with. We're a yes company in the fact that we let people customize their orders as much as possible. We didn't want our iPads to say no when our policy was to say yes, and we wanted a digital menu company that would say yes to our needs as well," says David Jones, co-founder of Blazing Onion. "eTouchMenu really fits in with our brand culture. I think it's one of the coolest things out there."
The fast casual segment has proven to be an early adopter of digital menus as tech savvy consumers have created the right environment for their implementation and use.
"The industry is shifting to digital menus, and for good reason. The enhanced guest experience and ROI are compelling," adds Scott Morrow, CEO of eTouchMenu. " We are a true partner to the restaurant organizations that we serve and work hard to ensure their needs are being met. While there are other ‘menu technologies’ out there, ours is the most comprehensive, flexible and dynamic. This is because other platforms have focused solely on gamification while we have focused on the entire dining experience."
Guests can use eTouchMenu in a self-guided way, giving them more control over their dining experience. Or, restaurant staff can walk each guest through the ordering process, using the platform as a portable POS. Additionally, the self checkout feature means guests can pay directly through a secure payment processing platform when they are ready to leave.
So far, the biggest benefits for Blazing Onion have been the continued support of the company's full commitment to provide team service, increased check averages and dessert sales.
"We have offered team service from the beginning and the digital menus allow our customers to continue the conversation at the table without having to worry if a server will catch their eye. The iPads simply enforce our already established service model and the goal behind the iPads for us was to let people sit to order without taking away the team service model," Jones says. "Our check averages have gone up and also our dessert orders have increased quite a bit. For example, sales of our peanut butter pies have gone up threefold. I think a lot of that has to do with the pictures and the way eTouchMenu engineers the upsell."
Overall, eTouchMenu delivers an immersive brand experience that restaurant operators and guests can tailor to meet their needs.
"As with anything new, there are misconceptions. One with digital menus is that they are here to replace servers with technology. In our view, the technology is here to help restaurant operators and employees provide an enhanced service experience," says Mark Netsch, chief experience officer with eTouchMenu. "Yes, digital menus provide a real ROI through improved table turns and increased guest check averages, but our main focus is the guest experience."
Through the use of brand messaging, images, self-ordering and payment transactions, eTouchMenu is reshaping the way restaurant operators guide their customers through the ordering process.
"By using our version of a digital menu, restaurant operators have the chance to design the guest journey throughout their menu and provide an opportunity to give guests the best of both worlds," Morrow says. "We're blending the art of service with the science of technology."
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