Food on demand is growing rapidly; in fact, the industry saw more than $1 billion dollars in total investment funding in 2015, four times the amount of funding the industry received in 2012.
By Rick Chavie
Food companies ranging from grocery stores to brand manufacturers, from restaurants to food service, are all looking to capitalize on this influx of capital and respond to the consumer’s new “want it now” demands. The challenge for all participants in this environment of market disruption lies in deploying a rich online experience that is consistent with the intimate, highly personal nature of consumers’ relationship to food.
There are a wide variety of food on demand options today, especially in urban centers, bringing food to you from grocery stores, restaurants, and even having meals delivered by subscription. But all too often there are flaws in the experience, ranging from inconsistent quality of fresh and prepared food, unwanted substitutions, and issues with reliable fulfilment. But the experience starts with having compelling visual and descriptive information, which is a struggle for many participants in this market. However, restaurants and operators typically haven’t invested in sophisticated product information management (PIM) systems and digital and mobile commerce platforms to enable a curated and personalized experience for food customers. Too often, consumers still have to deal with inconsistent product information, limited menu options, and incomplete nutritional information.
For restaurants and food service operators looking to get a foothold in the growing food on demand market, effective technology options have finally emerged to support this business. EnterWorks and Digital Foodie have joined forces to create the first e-commerce offering focused on all aspects of the technology needed to ramp up a food on demand offering, including the personalization and efficiency of fulfilment and delivery. Restaurants can now take the initiative to capitalize on their customers’ interest while improving revenues in this growing space.
Together, Digital Foodie and EnterWorks provide a robust end-to-end solution that addresses not only the customer experience and order fulfillment, but also digital product information and collaboration with consumer packaged goods manufacturers, wholesale distributors and grocers who supply restaurants with products and digital content. The platform’s sophisticated PIM system allows restaurants to keep their menu and nutritional options up-to-date and ensure consistent, cohesive product content across channels and vendors. The platform’s rich, personalized commerce and mobile capabilities enable food operators to create the content and commerce experience customers are demanding.
Ultimately, the food on demand movement is about providing customers with the food they want, the experience they expect, and the consistency they need to keep them coming back for more. Investing in a data solution that meets those goals could be the difference between a restaurant becoming a shuttered storefront or the top result on search engines.
Rick Chavie is CEO of EnterWorks Holding Company and the Digital Foodie division.