While characters in “The Matrix” franchise might move seamlessly back and forth between the physical world and a digital one, restaurants have not yet mastered that ability.
That’s where Krystle Mobayeni, cofounder and CEO of BentoBox, sees opportunity in 2022 and beyond.
Previously, off-premises service, primarily conducted through digital channels, has been treated as a separate experience from on-premises service, with different technologies for each, she said. Now the time is ripe for the two realms to converge.
As off-premises sales have nearly doubled from 30-40% of restaurant revenue before the pandemic to 60-70% today, it’s more important than ever for restaurants to be able to “connect the dots” between the two experiences and deliver a consistent experience across ordering channels, Mobayeni said.
BentoBox’s portfolio of solutions, used by around 14,000 restaurant locations, ranges from online ordering platforms, website design and digital marketing and analytics to event planning tools and several other related services.
Now that BentoBox has been acquired by financial services provider Fiserv, which also owns the Clover POS brand, the reach of the company will expand significantly, Mobayeni said.
“I think we can help restaurants solve the fragmentation that exists in technology and really goes back to my big idea and vision for 2022,” she said. “Historically, we focused on solving the digital experience for restaurants, but I'm really looking forward to broadening that to deliver a blended … experience across channels that really helps drive deeper engagement for restaurants and diners.”
Mobayeni said she sees significant opportunities in the year ahead for technologies that help restaurants analyze and synthesize first-party data, which is information that restaurants gather directly from their customers. Technology solutions that automate those processes will be key to freeing up operators to focus on creating great food and dining experiences for their customers, she said.
“Restaurant owners didn't start restaurants to become technologists,” she said. “Organizing data and acting on data is not the reason that they got into their business.”
In the back of the house, meanwhile, Mobayeni said she expects operators to focus on technologies that help them solve staffing challenges by automating some tedious tasks.
Mobayeni said she’s always been inspired by the high level of service that restaurants provide for their customers, and she strives to offer that degree of personal attention to the restaurant operators who are her customers at BentoBox.
Now that BentoBox has gained expanded access to restaurant operators through its acquisition by Fiserv, she said the company will seek to carry that level of service to the next level.
“We're going from 14,000 restaurant locations to being part of an organization that can reach over 300,000 restaurant locations,” said Mobayeni. “Being in a position to be able to reach that many restaurants and provide them with technology to help them overcome the challenges they face today is going to be a big part of how BentoBox evolves and scales in this coming year.”