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The plight of online ordering during COVID

When COVID-19 hit, every restaurant found themselves relying on online revenue. For many, that meant signing up for or doubling down on third party delivery apps and leaning into their ads and promotions. For others who had an existing online or app ordering option, the crisis meant struggling to stand out despite lower demand and an increasingly massive sea of options on third party platforms.

The consequences of these situations are dire. Third party orders come with razor-thin margins. Marginally profitable visits that don’t incentivize customers to return are not helpful in the short or long term.

But not all restaurants are accepting this fate. Some who are making strategic investments in digital ordering and customer engagement during or prior to the pandemic have a more promising outlook. These restaurants have seen their customer database skyrocket and their digital revenue soar. Through its partnership with Thanx, one such restaurant is Oath Pizza.

Direct Digital Sales Growth (YoY)

Direct digital sales growth (YoY) chart showing the restaurant industry average of 72% compared to Oath’s Q2 as 250%

 

How Oath Pizza built a thriving digital platform before the pandemic

In 2019, Oath Pizza integrated Thanx with their existing web ordering platform. With the Thanx best-in-class native ordering experience, Oath benefited in the following ways:

  • Customers were automatically enrolled in loyalty upon first purchase.
  • Every customer was added to the Oath CRM and as a result of Thanx credit card linkage, all purchases, both in-store and online were tracked thereafter.
  • Guests could earn and redeem rewards which meant they had a compelling incentive to order from Oath directly rather than on low margin third-party platforms where data isn’t shared.
  • Multi-channel targeted outreach encouraged online guests to come back and make additional purchases based on data from their past interactions.

The improvements to the user experience and the ability to target their best customers with relevant messages and incentives to make additional purchases made a meaningful impact on Oath’s top and bottom line. After integrating with Thanx, Oath’s digital revenue increased 90% vs. the previous year.

Digital Revenue Pre- and Post- Thanx Native Ordering

Bar graph showing digital revenue pre- and post- Thanx native ordering, highlighting 1.9x growth

 

The elimination of guest checkout, as well as the automatic enrollment of online guests into loyalty at checkout accelerated the growth of Oath’s customer database.

Enrolled Members Pre- and Post- Thanx Native Ordering

Bar graph showing enrolled members in Oath’s loyalty program, pre- and post- implementing native ordering with Thanx, highlighting a 2.8x increase

The strategy and tools that prepared Oath Pizza to tackle the COVID climate

When the pandemic closed dining rooms in March, Oath Pizza was prepared. In their toolkit, they had:

  • A deep knowledge of their existing customers through their now robust CRM database
  • An easy-to-use direct ordering channel that their existing customers were already familiar with
  • An integrated rewards program that gave customers a compelling reason to order directly, rather than through third parties

As with all restaurants, Oath saw their in-store sales plummet. But because they had invested in digital channels (both web and mobile) their customers could instantly and easily continue making digital purchases at Oath.

Their powerful CRM database and marketing platform enabled Oath to leverage their existing customer relationships, rather than hoping customers would notice them on third party platforms amid hundreds of other restaurants.

As a result, their direct ordering revenue nearly doubled over pre-COVID levels.

Digital Revenue Pre- Post- and COVID Thanx Native Ordering

Bar graph showing digital revenue pre-Thanx, post-Thanx and post-COVID, highlighting 3.5x growth at the end

What’s more, Oath’s CRM had grown 368% since launching web ordering, giving them the ability to connect with a wide range of customers in personalized ways. The impact is a highly engaged customer base more likely to make follow-on purchases and contribute incremental revenue at a time when Oath needs it most.

Enrolled Members Pre- Post- and COVID Thanx Native Ordering

Bar graph showing enrolled members in Oath’s loyalty program, pre-Thanx, post-Thanx and post-COVID, highlighting a 4.4x increase at the end

Customers ordering directly from Oath’s website and app, rather than through third-party apps, has saved the company considerable costs on commission fees. Revenue from third party channels has remained flat during the crisis, likely due to the massive influx of new restaurants on those platforms and the resulting stiff competition. Oath’s direct ordering channel saw comparably significant growth helping to fill the void left by in-store sales.

Oath Revenue, Direct vs. Third Party, pre- and post COVID

Line graph comparing Oath’s revenue from direct ordering via Thanx + Olo, and from 3rd party, pre- and post-COVID

By partnering with Thanx, Oath enabled their customers to continue ordering during COVID without skipping a beat. They were able to direct repeat customers away from third parties and toward their own higher-margin channel, retaining over a hundred thousand critical margin dollars. Now, they’re poised to take on the next generation of dining, armed with a digital toolkit that helps them meet customers exactly where they are and delight them no matter where that is.

Want to learn more?

Thanx CRM Integrated Digital Ordering is available now for all restaurants with Olo digital ordering in place. To learn more about how you can achieve these results – now, when you need them most – schedule a demo today.

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