Restaurants & technology are no longer separate conversations. According to Peter Wiley, an ultra-modern restauranteur, today’s operators must push technology into every area of their business in order to thrive. He should know, he’s an innovator, technology connoisseur and the Co-Founder of two successful restaurant chains, Rapid Fired Pizza and Hot Head Burritos.
In this episode of the Restaurants Reinvented podcast, you’ll hear from the restaurant tech Dream Team – Peter and Sean Brennan of Qu. Peter describes how he’s constantly challenging his teams to stay ahead of the curve with new and innovative ways of working.
We dish on all things pizza, burritos, sauces + technology deployment, the importance of meeting your customers’ expectations, and creating an enjoyable guest experience through tech.
Name: Peter Wiley
What he does: He’s the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing of Rapid Fired Pizza & Hot Head Burritos.
Key Quote: “If you can eliminate the friction, whether it’s in-store, online or third-party or delivery, do it! Our employees don’t like friction, our customers don’t like friction; our franchisees don’t like friction.”
️ Where to find Peter: LinkedIn
Building a connected restaurant from the beginning, Peter discusses the benefits of building it from the cloud down, not the POS up.
Hear how he benefits from triple layers of redundancy, resulting in improved uptime and stability for his restaurants.
As new technologies emerge on the market, restaurants need to keep up
Technology is transforming the restaurant industry, and COVID has only accelerated its deployment. Restaurant owners and directors need to acknowledge that customers want tech, so it’s vital to meet their expectations. “Tt’s no longer just a piece or something you have to deal with. It is an integral part of running a restaurant nowadays, from the marketing all the way to the ops.”
Strong partnerships in technology deployment are vital.
When implementing new technological solutions, your relationship with your vendor is equally important. Rapid Fired Pizza and Hot Head Burritos have been Qu’s long-time partners, and we’re happy to say our partnership has been quite fruitful for both sides.
According to Peter, the key is to communicate and learn from each other. Communication helps us grow. “That opportunity just makes for a better product. It doesn’t have to be an accustomed dev for us. In fact, we really don’t want that because as soon as you start doing custom things for us, you’re going to break it for somebody else, or you end up with all these splintered versions, and we don’t want that. We want a core foundation that has options. And I think you guys have done a great job doing that.”
If owning a restaurant franchise was easy, everybody would do it.
As a co-founder and director of marketing for two prominent restaurant brands, Peter’s job is to keep tabs on every aspect of the business. He recognizes the challenges that come with this role. From hiring staff to switching lanes during the pandemic, there are plenty of ups and downs, which is why the restaurant business is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Peter concludes it’s a difficult job to operate a restaurant franchise, but it’s always an adventure at the end of the day.
Keeping the finger on the pulse on every aspect of the business
Peter is the embodiment of a modern-day marketer and operator. So what exactly is in his job description? According to him, it all has to work together on both the marketing and operational side. Luckily, technology and tools such as Qu have allowed us to be able to tie everything together and track progress efficiently.
“I keep my fingers or pulse on each part of the business to try to make sure it executes, and it succeeds and makes it successful, not only in a marketing level but successful and easy to execute for the crews, easy to execute for the franchisees. We try to do the best we can to make it as smooth as possible when we roll something out, and that requires having a grasp and understanding of all aspects.”
How to meet your guests where there are with smart technologies
It’s safe to say that COVID has left its mark on all industries, particularly the restaurant industry. Since people couldn’t go to restaurants anymore, restaurants needed to come to people. Enter technology.
Peter explains how the pandemic created an urgent scenario for them to implement curbside delivery. “COVID obviously just threw a curve on everybody. What do you do? How do you do it? What do you advertise? Do you advertise? And we took the approach of advertising. Meet people where they’re at, whether it was curbside, whether it was embracing delivery through third-party, just doing everything we could to help support all the franchisees and our corporate stores.”
Third-party software reduces friction and enables a seamless user experience
Nobody likes friction. According to Peter, not even their employees like it, let alone their customers. However, third-party pricing has eliminated friction to a certain degree and allowed them to have a smoother ordering process.
“Third-party has done that to a certain degree. It makes it easy to reorder. You can get your favorites. It shows up at your door. And they don’t seem to care if they pay twenty-five percent more, not only for maybe what the restaurant charges, but the fees. […] So I don’t think that’s going away. I think it would just continue to grow from a restaurant operator. I hope we can get the margins down more and more as we continue to grow and develop that business relationship with our parties or partners.”