Today in restaurant and grocery tech news, franchisees get experimental with their digital efforts as restaurant recovery stalls industry-wide. Plus, Nicole West, vice president of digital strategy and product at Chipotle, speaks with PYMNTS about how digital ordering is changing the way consumers pay.
The pandemic is lingering, but bit by bit, people are venturing out. The digital shift is firmly in place, too – but that doesn’t mean consumers will be stuck indoors staring at screens forever. With vaccinations in place, they are itching to get out, go back to their favorite real-world activities, and congregate with friends and loved ones. But some caution remains.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Nicole West, vice president of digital strategy and product at Chipotle, said the California-based fast-casual chain has seen an increase in the use of debit over cash as digital ordering continues to gain popularity with consumers. West noted that Chipotle surpassed $2 billion in digital sales this year.
Across corporate communications, since the start of the pandemic, restaurants’ C-suite executives have been emphasizing a narrative of collaborations with their franchisees through this difficult period. However, a handful of very public complaints from restaurants’ franchisees have been calling this account into question. Still, it seems that when it comes to the digital shift, restaurants and their franchisees are on the same page.
After a devastating 2020, the restaurant industry enjoyed a period of optimism in the early months of the vaccine rollout, when it briefly appeared that “back to normal” was an achievable goal. In fact, by May, spending was actually up from pre-pandemic levels, and Yelp reported that restaurant customers seated through its platform reached an all-time high in the same month. Now, though operators remain optimistic, there is cause to worry.
D2C subscription services grew more popular during the lockdown, but these gains cannot be taken for granted as consumers return to their lives away from home. David Asikin, CTO and co-founder of the D2C snack box company TokyoTreat, spoke with PYMNTS about leveraging novelty to drive long-term value for subscribers.