by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Announces Olo Partnership

SevenRooms Announces Olo Partnership

by David Klemt

Cheeseburgers and French fries in takeout containers on pass

SevenRooms continues to grow and develop innovative partnerships.

The platform’s newest partnership benefits the hospitality industry, operators, and consumers.

In joining forces with Olo, SevenRooms further helps restaurants, bars, and hotels position themselves to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

The Bleeding Edge

Olo, which literally stands for “Online Ordering,” predates the iPhone.

In fact, the company launched before smartphones were more than niche devices.

Upon its inception, Olo’s service consisted mainly of sending mobile coffee orders to restaurant printers via text message.

Like SevenRooms, Olo seeks to stay ahead of the consumer behavior curve:

  • 2005: Olo launches, anticipating coffee drinkers will eagerly embrace mobile ordering.
  • 2008: The company predicts fast-casual restaurants will become faster than fast food.
  • 2012: Olo envisions the redesigning of kitchen restaurants to include pickup windows.
  • 2015: The platform sees the future for foodservice is delivery.

Now, Olo is dedicated to making sure online ordering customers benefit from the industry’s digital transformation.

The Partnership

SevenRooms ensures clients who also use Olo can capture their off-premise customers’ information. That data then creates profiles for those customers automatically.

This partnership leverages SevenRooms CRM and marketing automation integration. Operators will be able to send post-order surveys to off-premise, online ordering customers automatically.

So, operators can learn what is and isn’t working off-premise; elevate the experience of off-premise customers to increase online order frequency; convert those customers to in-person guests; encourage repeat visits; and increase profitability.

Moving forward, SevenRooms and Olo users will get to know their off-premise customers better.

“To meet the ever-evolving needs of our hospitality clients, we’ve continued to seek out strategic partners who help us provide an even more comprehensive solution to operators,” says SevenRooms CEO and founder Joel Montaniel. “Our integration with Olo delivers on our promise of offering a 360-degree platform focused on helping operators build deeper, direct relationships across on- and off-premise experiences. This partnership facilitates better operational efficiency and online data capture, ultimately helping operators optimize the profitability of their delivery and takeout business while strengthening customer relationships. We are excited to welcome Olo to our partner network, and look forward to our continued collaboration to drive better, more streamlined solutions for the industry.”

Learn more about SevenRooms here. Click here to learn more about Olo.

Image: call me hangry 🇫🇷 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Two States Rescinding To-Go Cocktails

Two States Rescinding To-Go Cocktails

by David Klemt

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, time-lapse at night

Two states are putting an end to a lifeline that many restaurants and bars still rely upon as the industry attempts recovery.

Unfortunately, New York and Pennsylvania are rescinding to-go cocktail laws. Sadly, we can only hope this doesn’t lead to a state legislature domino effect.

The decision stands in stark contrast to states that chose to legalize to-go cocktails this year.

Pandemic Lifeline

Call it cynicism if you like, but it seems that our industry is constantly left to fend for itself.

For example, look at how long it took for the the American Rescue Plan to be voted into law. The bill, which included the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, didn’t pass the House until March of 2021.

Also, the awarding of Paycheck Protection Program stimulus loans was a farce and disaster.

Then, remember that the RRF application portal didn’t launch until the end of April. Of course, the fund has been depleted already and the portal closes July 14.

Obviously, restaurants and bars adapted and leaned into delivery, takeout, and pickup in an attempt to survive. In addition, several states made to-go cocktails legal temporarily.

Ultimately, some states made those “loose” laws permanent. Iowa was the first state to do so.

Now, operators in New York and Pennsylvania are having that lifeline yanked out of their hands.

Disappointing Development

Less than a month ago I reported on how several states (and Canadian provinces) are choosing to handle to-go cocktails.

So far, eleven states made them legal permanently: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Other states chose to keep their to-go cocktail rules loosened until 2022 or 2023: Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Virginia, and Washington.

Still others—New York and Pennsylvania among them—introduced bills this year that sought to make to-go cocktails legal permanently: Arizona, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Oregon.

So, rather than keep their rules loose and continue to help their operators generate much-needed revenue as they try to recover from the economic devastation of the pandemic, New York and Pennsylvania voted to take to-go cocktails away from them.

Rather than help the industry, too many politicians and officials have used them during the pandemic as scapegoats, punching bags, and public relations stunts.

It’s clear that operators in New York and Pennsylvania (and many other states, to be fair) need to send a unified message when elected officials need venues for campaigning and fundraising.

Image: Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

E-Commerce Alters Drinking Occasion

E-Commerce Alters Drinking Occasion

by David Klemt

According to estimates, beverage alcohol e-commerce grew by 40 percent in 2020.

Per data from the IWSR, ten “core countries” are driving that growth: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States. China, the reigning campion of beverage alcohol e-commerce, is expected to be toppled by the US by the end of this year.

Of particular note: growth in the above markets more than doubled from 2019, when online alcohol retail grew by 11 percent.

What this Means for Brick-and-Mortar Operations

We all know what drove the growth in online alcohol sales.

In their quest to find comfort in the midst of the global 2020 pandemic, they became comfortable with purchasing alcohol online as a long-term behavior. Alcohol brands were forced to pivot to online sales channels due to restaurants, bars, lounges, nightclubs and other brick-and-mortar F&B operations facing constantly shifting restrictions and closures. (See also: Los Angeles County restaurant restrictions.)

To compete, operators must continue to do what they’ve had to even before a pandemic absolutely ravaged the hospitality industry and millions of people’s livelihoods: adapt.

For at least several more months, drinking at home will be its own occasion, for obvious reasons. The IWSR expects brands to invest more into online alcohol retail. If that proves to be the case, operators can expect–as a worst-case scenario–fewer dollars spent on their brick-and-mortar operations.

Getting creative with alcohol delivery, takeout and pickup is crucial to give operators the best chance to be included in the at-home drinking occasion.

The Trends to Watch

In terms of delivery trends, you can click here for food trends so you can consider complimentary beverages. Click here for 2021 drink trends, which certainly include alcohol-free beer.

Athletic Brewing Co. alcohol-free craft beers.

Athletic Brewing Co. alcohol-free craft beers. Image: Athletic Brewing Co.

Speaking of delivery, the growth in alcohol e-commerce makes owning the guest journey by offering direct delivery even more important.

The IWSR has identified their own set of trends tied to the growth of alcohol e-commerce:

  1. As touched on above, at-home drinking becoming its own occasion outright.
  2. Premiumization will change. Some consumers will experiment less and focus on their favorite brands, and others will turn to brick-and-mortar channels for premium experiences.
  3. Politics will play a noticeable role on beverage alcohol, not just in the US but across the globe. Tariffs could change and strict e-commerce regulations could loosen.
  4. RTDs will remain strong or get stronger. Per the IWSR, “innovation in alcohol bases, exploration of new and increasingly local flavors, and premium product offerings” will ensure RTDs remain a crucial beverage category in 2021.
  5. Low- and zero-alcohol drink options will continue their evolution. Once stigmatized, these drinks exploded in popularity in 2020. For 2021, the IWSR expects them to become aspirational.

Last year changed the industry. Comfort, convenience, and a heightened awareness of health and wellness are altering how people consume and engage with brands, restaurants and bars. Operators, already facing challenges from all sides, must take the time to develop strategies to compete for e-commerce dollars.

Image: mentatdgt from Pexels