TL; DR: Lunchbox’s user-friendly, cloud-hosted platform empowers restaurants to regain control of the online ordering process, which has become increasingly fragmented by multiple third-party sales channels. For a monthly fee, customers receive access to the latest in restaurant tech, including tools for order processing, loyalty programs, marketing campaigns, and delivery management. Ultimately, through enterprise-grade digital ordering solutions and built-in growth hacking tools, Lunchbox helps restaurants redefine the guest experience.
Increasing consumer demand for food delivery powered by third-party marketplaces may seem like a boon for a restaurant industry struggling to survive a pandemic.
But while partnering with widely-used companies like Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Postmates does wonders to facilitate off-premises dining, it also means restaurants must fork over the guest experience — and a hefty helping of profits — to someone else.
They also lose control of customer data, which is now a commodity often dubbed modern-era oil or gold. This lopsided business arrangement leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many restaurateurs, who are looking to 86 revenue-gobbling marketplaces in favor of white-label ordering platforms.
“It’s about being able to get your product out there on your own terms through a native application,” said Nick Bucciero, Chief of Staff at the online ordering and marketing engine, Lunchbox. “Having that control allows restaurants to maximize their online revenue.”
Restaurateurs can access the convenient, cloud-hosted digital ordering system via a monthly subscription. The user-friendly platform includes solutions for order processing, digital menus, mobile orders, delivery management, and growth hacking. It also features tools for customer loyalty programs, marketing, and analytics.
These tools can be used across web and mobile applications, in-store kiosk systems, and Lunchbox’s cloud kitchen ordering (designed for professional, delivery-only food facilities).
This collection of enterprise-grade resources adds up to a unique, omnichannel experience compatible with a restaurant’s branding and scalable amid ongoing growth.
Streamlining the Digital Ordering Experience
The founding team members at Lunchbox understand the struggles of their customers first-hand. The company’s founder, Nabeel Alamgir, previously served as chief marketing officer at Bareburger, a casual restaurant chain based in New York City known for its grass-fed beef and veggie burgers. Nick worked under Nabeel at Bareburger as marketing director.
Nick said that in 2018 — even before the pandemic — Bareburger saw a decrease in in-house dining as customers shifted to online ordering.
“We had 24 New York City restaurants at the time, and about 10 to 12 of them were already segueing from 70% dine-in to about 55%,” he said. “We had a lot of issues with our app provider at the time with the fees that third-party marketplaces were charging. Nabeel took those pain points and used them as inspiration when founding Lunchbox.”
Lunchbox worked alongside Bareburger to create a streamlined, omnichannel ordering system hosted in the cloud. This allowed customers to access various web, app, and catering channels using the same login and password.
The solution helped Bareburger meet its ultimate goal: to divert online sales away from third-party sites and toward the in-house platform. By 2019, the burger joint increased the total percentage of digital sales on its own system to 32% — a 16% jump from the previous year.
And that’s just the beginning: Now, Bareburger can leverage customer data gathered through the Lunchbox platform and combine it with the system’s advanced marketing tool to fuel future growth.
“I think it helped that Lunchbox got its start in the restaurant world and then gravitated toward tech instead of vice versa,” Nick said. “You have to experience the struggles of the restaurant industry to really understand how to solve them.”
Today, Nabeel uses Lunchbox to help marketers at other restaurants, including Fuku, Sticky’s, and Mexicue, sidestep the challenges resolved at Bareburger.
Cloud-Hosted Order Processing and Loyalty Solutions
For Lunchbox, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) method of delivery was an obvious choice. Unlike traditional software, which is installed on-premises, SaaS solutions are hosted on a cloud server, making them easily accessible through a simple web browser. This hands-off tech approach empowers restaurateurs to sidestep investments in IT expertise by shifting technical responsibilities to the Lunchbox team.
The platform also puts personalization at the forefront so that brands can present themselves in a unified manner across all online channels. “Not everything that worked for us at Bareburger is going to work for another restaurant,” Nick said. “That’s why Lunchbox is all about tailoring and fine-tuning.”
Customization also comes in the form of loyalty programs that may be altered according to each brand’s or customer’s needs. In October, Lunchbox announced that it is partnering with Beam Impact to facilitate nonprofit donations from guest orders.
Restaurants that use the Lunchbox online ordering engine can simply opt-in to Beam integration through the platform and choose the nonprofits they would like to support. Customers can then choose to have 1% of their purchase donated to the nonprofit of their choice.
“What Beam is doing is admirable and much needed during the current climate,” Nabeel stated in a recent press release. “Consumers are more concerned with making a positive impact, and having Beam integrated into Lunchbox helps restaurants empower their guests positively and increases their loyalty.”
Lunchbox’s wide range of strategic partnerships and integrations help the company expand its capabilities in terms of improving the guest experience, increasing sales, and assuming ownership of their digital initiatives — all without worrying about technical details.
In addition to Beam, Lunchbox recently joined forces with Ordermark to enhance online ordering management. Earlier this year, the company also partnered with Eniac on Help Main Street!, an initiative that empowers consumers to order online, buy gift cards, or donate directly to support restaurants during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Boost Marketing Efforts & Increase Consumer Appetite for Catering
Packed inside each Lunchbox experience is the Growth Hacking Toolkit, a fresh marketing resource designed to increase in-house sales and customer loyalty.
The solution covers everything restaurants need to execute automated and personalized drip campaigns, communicate with guests through push notifications, drive sales online via print media, and upsell based on past ordering habits.
This type of targeted marketing is exemplified in Lunchbox’s catering services, which are geared toward the office workplace. As offices reopen across the nation, so is the catering market. With Lunchbox, restaurants can easily add catering offerings to their apps and notify customers of their existence via push messaging.
“Especially in New York City, where there are a lot of offices, people tend to order in bulk to get more bang for their buck,” Nick said. “Lunchbox created our catering page while I was still at Bareburger. They were able to get me a list of guests that spend over $70 every time they order. We targeted them with catering deals versus one-time coupons for things like an order of free french fries.”
These customers are also more likely to benefit from the whole catering experience — forks, knives, napkins, condiments, and all — rather than deal with individual orders.
Up Next on the Menu: An Increased Focus on Content
As for what the future holds, Lunchbox is hiring content creators as 2020 draws to a close.
Lunchbox was founded by engineers and marketers in the restaurant industry,” Nick said. “As a new company, everyone’s been operating in that Swiss Army Knife capacity, but that’s starting to get rounded out.”
Nick said he’s excited to speak to other marketers in the same predicament he found himself in at Bareburger.
“They’re in the same role I was in a few years ago, so I can help them lay the foundation from a marketing perspective for a first-party online ordering solution that lets them really dig into those profits that would otherwise be lost to third-party vendors. It’s going to be beneficial for everyone.”