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What is the current state of digital marketing and loyalty programs in the restaurant industry?
Co-founder at Lunchbox
If you asked me pre-pandemic, I’d say there were a handful. We had to go through 72 rejections during our seed round because investors understood that the third party—all those channels that restaurants should continue to have—weren't as conducive to their bottom line or understood their guest data. This is a hole that needs to be filled with a native ordering player and not to find a silver lining in the pandemic. But pre-pandemic, no one was thinking about it. Because the pandemic got people to think about their bottom lines and who your guest is, and because people stopped coming in—and that was the hard truth of that—restaurants became a ghost town for quite some time. They were looking to bring people back in and when they wanted to do so, they asked, "How do we reach them? Who are they?"
They started pulling lists from their point of sales (POS) systems and online ordering providers, and then, they constantly saw that this was missing. It was a hole, and the pandemic, again, did not define a silver lining in it but it did throw a spotlight on the hole. Now, the restaurants went, "All right, we want to learn more about this."
Throughout the last two to three years, I would say it was the accelerated university course for restaurants to really understand the digital landscape and be able to pick a partner that could resonate with them.