- Arby's parent Inspire Brands announced Wednesday that it is now a strategic partner in POS integration platform ItsaCheckmate with an investment in the company's Series B financing round, according to a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- ItsaCheckmate is integrated in more than 1,100 company and franchise Arby's restaurants, and the restaurant group is also developing the asset at Buffalo Wild Wings and plans to pilot the technology at Sonic in Q4 2020. Inspire said in the release that the POS platform has reduced complexity for employees, improved ordering accuracy, decreased rates of unaccepted orders and has expanded guest access to restaurants.
- Inspire's investment reflects the proliferation of digital restaurant channels during pandemic dining room closures and social distancing restrictions. Prior to COVID-19, a July 2019 Toast survey found that 22% of restaurants use three technology vendors and 26% use four or more, but respondents expressed in an all-in-one system. It'saCheckmate integrates multiple online ordering platform into one POS system, which will help Inspire streamline operations across its system, the majority of which still manually adds food orders from multiple channels to its POS platform.
Managing orders coming in through multiple online channels on different tablets is stressful for employees and can increase a restaurant's margin for error and long wait times, making a POS system that funnels all of this input into one place worthy of investment. This is especially true in today's pandemic environment, where growing consumer familiarity with digital channels is raising diner expectations for accuracy and speed of service.
ItsaCheckmate also automatically syncs menus from its POS system to online ordering platforms through direct channels and third-parties, taking another back-end task off staff members' plates. Most menus across Inspire's network are still manually managed across multiple platforms, the restaurant company said in its release.
The investment could also hint that restaurant spending on digital technology is stabilizing, good news for POS providers. As restaurants began to slash their spending or shutter entirely during dining room closures this spring, POS and technology provider Toast had to let go about 50% of its staff through layoffs and furloughs. The labor reduction came as a shock, as the company had grown revenue 109% in 2019 and recently secured additional funding.
Third-party delivery providers are also offering improved POS solutions in a bid to reach more restaurant partners and deepen loyalty with existing restaurant networks. Grubhub, for example, rolled out a technology suite called Ultimate in January that provides a POS system that integrates directly with the aggregator's website and app, and displays real-time order predictions for diners across all channels, as well as a kitchen display system. Ultimate is also focused on takeout, and Grubhub now offers free custom window signs that include a QR code for contactless pickup with zero marketing fees.
As diners encounter more streamlined and accurate ordering experiences thanks to technology provided by traditional POS platforms or third-party aggregators, pressure will be on restaurants that have not yet invested in modern POS technology to adapt.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, the financing round for ItsaCheckmate was misidentified. Inspire Brands participated in a Series B funding round.