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What did you think of Restaurant Innovation & Takeaway Expo?

What did you think of Restaurant Innovation & Takeaway Expo?

Each year, after Takeaway Expo - or Restaurant Innovation & Takeaway Expo as it is currently known - we write up our thoughts about the show and about the presentations we’ve attended.

What did you think of Restaurant Innovation & Takeaway Expo?

This year, truth be told, we were so busy meeting our clients, prospects and partners, that there was time for little else. However, Nick Hucker, our CEO was able to squeeze in, not one, but two seminars for visitors to the event. Nick’s presentation, held the Softabacus sponsored theatre, went down a storm. So much so that, rather than comment on seminars given by others, this year, we want to share content from his. 

Challenges and opportunities in current food delivery systems:

The Digitisation of food delivery

Technology is moving rapidly

  • Mobile ordering
  • Digital loyalty
  • EPOS
  • Delivery
  • Customer tracking
  • Kitchen and allergen management

If there was one, overriding and passionate message delivered by Nick, it was this:

Your customer is yours, your data is yours, do not let anyone try to strip you of your right to that data. 


In 2019, delivery isn’t just about taking food to a person’s front door. There are many, many companies who specialise in different areas of the delivery cycle, and operators should utilise their expertise. Yes, you can work with a company like Deliveroo, which claims to do the whole everything for you (but doesn’t), however, doing weakens your control over the end service. Rather than working with a Jack-of-all-trades, look to companies which hold expertise in their market, delivery logistics for example, and which show willing to form integrations with each other. The sum of their parts will form a greater whole.

There is no one company offering everything, and if there was, you shouldn’t want to work with it. 


  • Enable you to pick the best of breed technology
  • Often harder to manage than they should be
  • As more companies work together, it will get easier

Another reason to work with a network of partners in order to facilitate delivery is that, if you don’t, you can end up with data silos that mean you aren’t able to provide the best options for your customer. Bear in mind that the consumer is now spoilt for choice with apps and technology available to give them what they want, when they want it. If you are presenting a half-baked execution, it’s not going to be good enough. If you’re trying to serve the best food, why wouldn’t you want to serve the best technology and customer service?

Overcome the challenges

  • Identifying the best in breed
  • Finding a partner you can trust, and that is hard
  • Integration issues occur at a non-technical level too

To overcome common challenges in sourcing technology partners, we recommend you take contacts from suppliers you already work with and trust; talk to friendly industry peers and request demonstrations. Who are others in your community working with? 

What you don’t want is to start working with a company that a) doesn’t give you your data and b) promises the earth and then goes bust a month down the line, leaving you out of time, and pocket.

Managing Integrations

  • Be involved in developing the operations process
  • Flexible APIs make things easier
  • People easily forget that an app has to be integrated into their existing operations

If you want to work with multiple technology partners, it is vital to choose those that can offer a flexible, open API and a willingness to work with others. The difference between selecting a company with and without an open API is massive and can really impact your total project spend.

Technology aside, it is vital that you consider how front-of-house and business operations should be adapted to suit any new services. Think about Starbucks, it didn’t consider how popular its order ahead app would be at first, but when queues for the click and collect line grew longer than those for walk-ins, they realised they had made a big mistake. A few years down the line, with operations reconfigured, the app brings in more than 20% of Starbucks’ turnover in the USA. 

Success Factors

  • Staff need to know what’s going on and how it’s going on
  • Don’t let staff see the system as an obstacle 
  • Need buy-in from the top as well as a committed business strategy
  • Marketing – ongoing
  • In-store and digital experience 

To be a success, operations will likely need adaptation (as already stated), but it’s not the only element to consider. Whenever you launch a new service, integrated or not, you need to consider their effect from every possible perspective: the operations team, site manager, front-of-house staff. Having the understanding and buy-in of employees, at every level, is vital.


  • Build a bespoke service that meets your, and your customers’ needs
  • Collect more data. Data is key
  • Enhance the customer experience

Once the challenges are overcome, is the end result worth it? If you’ve worked with the right vendors and everyone is sitting on the same page, absolutely. Establishing a new service shouldn’t take long with efficient project management and the outcomes will include stronger customer engagement, increased brand loyalty, the opportunity to reach new audiences and high revenue and profits. 

If you want to talk to Nick about his presentation, or get further information on the companies we can integrate with to support your business, contact us now


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