NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Restaurants are trying to get control over their destiny.
SevenRooms, co-founded in 2008 by Joel Montaniel, created backend software for restaurants and hospitality companies to streamline ordering and reservations. Now, they are more of a data-driven technology company helping restaurateurs gain repeat customers in a precarious time for eating out.
"The most significant change that restaurant operators need is to have their own platform where consumers can order delivery directly from them," Montaniel told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.
He emphasized that control over takeout and delivery - the most common pandemic pivot in the food industry - will increase profit margins by saving commission many owe to third-party delivery apps such as Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash and Uber Eats.
The second key for restaurants to recover, Montaniel believes, is capturing customer data internally, which SevenRooms' software does, to upsell those who have placed orders. The technology company recently introduced digital menus to establishments that tracks order history.
"If you had opted into their marketing database, the SevenRooms system will automatically email you again, and say, 'Hey Neil, here's a complimentary tzatziki when you order delivery or pickup directly from us,'” he hypothesized using Carousso as a customer in his example. "So, it's a great way to leverage what you're actually doing inside the restaurant and use it as a benefit for you to order pickup and delivery or come back into the restaurant when you feel comfortable doing so."
Montaniel told WCBS 880 that 64 percent of SevenRooms users prefer ordering directly from an establishment rather than third-party apps. He said many are eager to support their local eateries since the industry was largely shutdown due COVID-19 and remains open with strict safety restrictions.
That loyal customer base is essential to restaurants' recovery. The SevenRooms co-founder and CEO labeled Domino's Pizza the "gold standard" because they own their own application for contactless ordering, pickup and delivery.
SevenRooms counts Wimbledon, Live Nation Entertainment and Topgolf among its hospitality clients.
"They're thinking about the world the same way, which is how do we create the best, most optimal, and now recently, safest guest experience and I think technology can play a role in that to make everyone feel safe," Montaniel said of how they are looking to reinvent themselves as local venues reopen to fans for the first time in about a year.
See how SevenRooms is helping this hard hit sector survive on the video above.