Social Ordering Dining Collective
Social Ordering Dining Collective

How Independent Full-Service Operators Are Competing With Larger Brands

The pandemic hit small businesses hard, but certain tools are helping them bounce back.

It’s no secret: The pandemic has been harsher on many independent full-service restaurants when compared to larger restaurant chains. The NPD Group reported that in 2020 alone, over 28,000 independent restaurants in the U.S. permanently shuttered. And yet, 2022 is an exciting moment for the full-service industry, with demand for dine-in eating bouncing back in a big way.

Take, for example, The Jones Assembly, a large independent restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City. Owned by Social Order Dining Collective, the restaurant has become a cog in the downtown renaissance of Oklahoma City. Brian Bogert, co-founder of Social Order Dining Collective, reports that The Jones Assembly is thriving thanks in part to its loyal local following, as well as a vendor partner Bogert has worked with since he began opening restaurants 20 years ago.

“I think American Express has generally done an incredible job bringing awareness to why it’s important to support small businesses,” Bogert says. “Spending money in your local community is so important, especially in times like these.”

Small Business Saturday, founded by American Express and other partners in 2010 as an alternative to Black Friday, has shone a spotlight on small businesses across the U.S. Now celebrated throughout the year, Shop Small focuses much of its marketing on promoting local restaurants.

American Express achieves some of that promotion via Resy OS, a reservations software platform it acquired in 2019 that enables them to shine a light on restaurant partners while giving cardholders new perks. The Jones Assembly has found that Resy OS is a great tool for streamlining operations while enhancing the customer experience.

First and foremost, Bogert reports, Resy OS helps reduce no shows with automated SMS confirmation and reminder messages. The Notify Feature allows guests to add themselves to a future waitlist so they will receive an instant notification when a reservation is canceled and a table becomes available. The Resy OS online reservation system also saves team members time on the phone, allowing them to focus on facilitating an exceptional guest experience. Finally, Resy helps after the meal by sending patrons a brief survey and gathering valuable feedback.

“If there were any issues during service,” Bogert says, “we see it right away and are able to contact them and iron it out before they go and leave a negative Yelp review a week or two later.”

Small Business Saturday and Resy OS aren’t the only ways that accepting American Express has helped Bogert grow his restaurant businesses. He also mentions many catering clients he’s been connected with via his partnership with American Express—according to Nilson data, American Express card members spend three times more on average than non-American Express card members.

“Accepting American Express has opened doors to catering with tons of businesses, like hospitals, large banks, local and national businesses,” Bogert says. “I would say the majority of our catering clients use American Express, and I really don’t know where we would be if we didn’t accept American Express.”

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