As part of the MCA Hostech 2021 event Finn Scott-Delany hosted a conversation between Vita Mojo CEO Nick Popovici, Kate Boyle and Reg Meyer of Nando’s. The conversation explored the Nando's and Vita Mojo partnership, the challenge of creating Nando's bespoke Order & Pay solution, and how the two teams collaborated successfully to roll it out in just six weeks.
Here are the conversation highlights:
Nando’s digital ordering challenge
Like all restaurants in the UK, when the pandemic crisis hit, Nando’s experienced major and unexpected challenges to their business. One such challenge was government guidelines which specified that restaurants could not reopen for dine-in without an Order & Pay solution, as it was deemed unsafe for customers to be walking around the venue to order. Due to the last minute government announcements, Nando’s faced extremely tight timescales in which to turn around an Order & Pay solution. They put the project out to tender, specifying they needed a partner who could deliver in just six weeks.
“To get something up and running as quickly as we could was paramount... one of the things that we we put out there as a requirement for a partner was we needed to get the whole thing done in six weeks.”
Kate Boyle, Nando's Head of Platforms
Integrating with Nando’s digital ecosystem
Unlike many hospitality brands, Nando’s was already well into their digital transformation before the pandemic. The brand already had digital solutions for Click & Collect and Delivery, as well as their own loyalty system.
Introducing a third-party Order & Pay solution into the Nando’s ecosystem wasn’t going to easy. It meant ensuring that both the old and new systems worked together seamlessly. The secret to making this combination of Buy and Build technology work is effective integration.
Nando’s needed a partner with open APIs that could easily integrate with its existing systems. They also wanted a team that could work effectively with their own tech and product teams and deliver what should have been a 6 month project in a matter of weeks. Vita Mojo’s platform was designed with open APIs to easily integrate with external systems and our collaborative, agile and fast-paced approach to problem solving and development made Vita Mojo a great fit for Nando’s.
“Very quickly... we enabled it so that customers could earn and redeem loyalty using the Vita Mojo solution. And again, that's a combination of using APIs and our teams working together to make it happen.”
Kate Boyle, Head of Platforms at Nando’s
Optimising Nando’s digital menu
Nando’s menu is relatively complex, including bundles, meal deals, multiple tiers of menu items and a large number of customisations - it wouldn’t be Nando’s if you couldn’t customise your spice level. Reimagining Nando’s menu as an intuitive Order & Pay flow was another significant challenge for the Vita Mojo team.
Thankfully, the Vita Mojo digital ordering platform already contained a lot of the functionality required to support the customisations and bundles needed in Nando’s menu. However, some bespoke development was also required to recreate the full range of Nando’s offering on Order & Pay. Through the collaboration of the Nando’s and Vita Mojo teams, along with regular feedback from Nandocas (Nando’s restaurant staff), they successfully to create a seamless digital ordering experience without losing options for the customer. In fact, the project’s end result was the most flexible ordering flow seen on any of Nando’s digital ordering channels.
“Traditionally, when you order online, you couldn't do certain things. Now you can. You still order all your meals as you normally would, you still have the same choice, but (with Vita Mojo Order & Pay) it is easier and simpler to do.”
Reg Meyer, Head of Technology Solutions at Nando’s
Nando’s multi-channel strategy
Nando’s business strategy was deeply impacted by the pandemic. Like many hospitality brands, Nando’s no longer sees itself as a dine-in business with additional channels bolted on, but a foodservice brand that has to offer equally exceptional customer experiences across every channel: Delivery, Click & Collect, Dine-in and more.
A primary focus of Nando’s digital strategy is achieving a single, fully integrated customer experience across all ordering channels. How does Nando’s, or any other hospitality brand, achieve this goal of becoming truly multi-channel? Introducing feedback mechanisms is key to provide visibility of cross-channel performance. Consistency is also vital, ensuring your brand feels the same to your customers no matter where they are engaging with it.
It can be easy to only focus on the more visible elements of digital ordering, but in order to realise the full potential of digital, having the right back-of-house systems is just as important. When working with numerous technology partners, even when integrated, a lot of admin can be required for operators to keep their systems up to date. This admin increases the risk of mistakes, and uses up team members’ precious time. Nando’s continues to work on building a fully unified ecosystem for their restaurants, where everything is managed in just one place.
“You should only see one Nando's ever. Not a Nando's delivery service or Nando's takeaway service. We’re very much focused on a single view pointing to the customers, so they always feel like they're doing it the same way.”
Reg Meyer, Head of Technology Solutions at Nando’s
The future of digital ordering
Digital ordering is a trend which continues to grow in hospitality, as leading brands like Nando’s seek to realise the full potential of technology. The modern, digitally literate customer demands convenience and consistency across numerous digital channels, and hospitality businesses are rapidly evolving to meet their needs. Digital ordering can also bring a whole range of unexpected benefits to hospitality businesses, enabling them to become more intelligent, efficient, data-led and profitable.
“The most agile organisations, the ones that have embraced technology and omnichannel ordering, tend to thrive and outperform those with a more conservative, stuck-in-the-old-normal sort of mentality.”
Nick Popovici, Vita Mojo CEO
This is a strange and difficult time for much of the foodservice sector - the first half of 2021 will mostly consist of lockdown in the UK. However, this period is also an opportunity. Now is the time for operators to do the work to ensure their businesses can deliver the same quality of customer experience across all of their digital ordering channels. This is the time to build the integrated technology ecosystem you need to operate a thriving foodservice business in a post-pandemic world.
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