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Red Robin Adds Digital Wallets, Virtual Brand

Red Robin Adds Digital Wallets, Virtual Brand
Written by Publishing Team

Red Robin is leveraging digital technologies to improve its payment acceptance capabilities, removing friction from the purchasing experience.

Paul Murphy, CEO of the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based casual dining chain, which has more than 520 restaurants across the United States and Canada, told analysts on a call Thursday (March 10) discussing the chain’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results that the company is new payment options as part of a broader push to step up its digital offerings.

“We view our digital assets as always ripe for improvement and intend to make ongoing enhancements subsequent to these launches,” he said. “These will include geofencing, which will inform restaurants when the guest is near for pickup, as well as implementing additional payment options to enhance convenience, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.”

According to data from PYMNTS’ Restaurant Friction Index, created in collaboration with Paytronix, which drew from a survey of more than 500 restaurant managers, six in 10 restaurants offer the ability to pay with digital wallets. Additionally, the study’s survey of a census-balanced panel of over 2,100 United States adults found that 23% of consumers say they would be more inclined to shop with restaurants that accept digital wallet payments.

Related news: New Data Show Digital Loyalty Programs Are Key Differentiator For Top-Performing Restaurants

Additionally, Murphy shared that the company’s three virtual brands brought in $8.4 million in incremental sales, and Red Robin is launching an additional licensed virtual brand in the near future. However, despite the scale of these efforts, Murphy nonetheless espoused caution about the future of the virtual brand model.

“It’s still very early in the life cycle of virtual brands … So far, so good, but we’d like to see, where does that part of third-party home delivery … go? I don’t think anyone’s quite sure as to the long-term future of that.

Portillo’s Boosts Direct Orders with Digital Pickup Drive-Thru Lane

Also, in earnings news, Portillo’s executives shared on a call with analysts Thursday discussing the restaurant’s fourth quarter and full-year 2021 results that the brand is leveraging its drive-thru lanes to drive adoption of its direct ordering channels.

Specifically, the hot dog chain, which has 70 locations across nine states, is offering a third drive-thru lane at two locations for consumers who place their orders through the restaurant’s website or app.

“This dedicated third lane draws consumers to our direct ordering channels, our website and our app by offering a rapid pickup option for guests who use those channels,” Portillo’s president and CEO Michael Osanloo said.

The Restaurant Friction Index notes that 35% of consumers say they would be more inclined to shop with restaurants that offer the ability to pick up orders at the drive-thru. Additionally, the study found that more than two-thirds of restaurants either already offer the option or plan to invest in offering drive-thru pickup in the future.

NYC Ends Proof of Vax Mandate for Indoor Dining

On Monday (March 7), New York City lifted its requirement that restaurants and other indoor establishments check for proof of vaccination. Many restaurants celebrated the change, which some health experts worry was premature, while others maintained their vaccination requirements.

“Spring is in the air, and it could not be a better time for us right now,” Rocco Sacramone, owner and chef at Astoria restaurant Trattoria L’incontro, told The New York Times. “We’re back!”

Conversely, on a darker note, one restaurant in Greenwich Village that maintained its mandate, a British-style seafood restaurant called Dame, was invaded by a group of dozens of anti-vaccine protestors on Tuesday (March 8), Eater reported.

“We support the right to protest peacefully outside,” co-owner Patricia Howard told the outlet. “But not in our tiny, 450-square-foot restaurant while guests are trying to enjoy the reservation they’ve waited weeks for.”

Texas Roadhouse Adds Pay-at-Table Capabilities

Texas Roadhouse is using digital technologies to reduce its labor needs, enabling customers to pay for their orders from their tables.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based restaurant chain, which has 660 restaurants in 49 US states and 10 other countries, announced Thursday a partnership with ordering and payment solution provider Ziosk to provide pay-at-table capabilities through tablet tablets.

“Creating a memorable and consistent guest experience is what we strive for at Texas Roadhouse and our partnership with Ziosk has added technology to further that goal,” Texas Roadhouse CEO, Jerry Morgan said in a statement. “We believe that Roadhouse Pay enhances our Legendary Service through a more efficient payment process for our guests.”

The company is calling this payment method “Roadhouse Pay.” The move comes as table-service restaurants look to balance the need to minimize labor in the face of industry-wide staffing challenges with customers’ expectations of service and hospitality.

“As the restaurant industry continues to see an increase in on-premise dining, a resurgence of innovative technology will be critical,” Raymond Howard, co-founder of Ziosk, said in a statement, “both in providing a better experience for the guest and to improve operational efficiency.”



About: Forty-two percent of US consumers are more likely to open accounts with FIs that make it easy to auto-share their banking details during sign-up. The PYMNTS study Account Opening And Loan Servicing In The Digital Environmentsurveyed 2,300 consumers to examine how FIs can leverage open banking to engage customers and create a better account opening experience.

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