Convenience continues to prevail as a priority for consumers, who are also not conceding on quality and taste. This shift is pushing limited-service concepts to reconsider their approach, with some scaling back menus and others using technology as the basis for revamping store designs to make it in this new restaurant world where only the adaptable will thrive.
It’s not quite an attitude of adapt or die at Capriotti’s, but David Bloom, chief development officer for the Las Vegas-based sandwich chain, said he and the company’s executive team recognize that to continue as a strong brand in the future they need to make changes now.
“On a global level, brands that are open to convenience and willing to make those adjustments are the brands that are going to grow,” said Bloom. “There’s a significant paradigm shift going on that you can’t ignore.”
Capriotti’s is doing the opposite of ignore. The recent opening of franchisee Michael Solomon’s fifth Las Vegas location also served to debut a new prototype the company created in response to the growing demand for mobile orders. It’s the first Capriotti’s with a pick-up window where customers can drive up to grab orders they’ve made online and through the updated CAPAddicts Rewards app.
“We had lots of requests from consumers who want to access our brand more easily,” said Bloom of the catalyst behind what has been a yearlong effort that’s also resulted in a newly integrated point-of-sale system, additional in-app order and pay capabilities, and seamless online ordering on the Olo platform. “We have a really robust feedback system and we get thousands of survey responses each month, not only on what we’re providing today but what they’d like to see from us in the future.
“We spent a lot of time—and frankly, a lot of money—on making sure we have the data to support what we’re doing.”
Bloom noted Capriotti’s franchisee advisory council had also been pushing for the brand to make technological enhancements aimed at improving and modernizing the customer experience.
The new Las Vegas restaurant is also outfitted with cubbies for easy pickup—customers specify an exact time to pick up their online order—and a mobile ordering station. Stores across the 100-plus-unit chain are being updated with full POS integration, while new freestanding shops will be built with pick-up windows.
Bloom said Capriotti’s is fortunate to have leaders who recognize that even though these initiatives are costly and don’t pay off right away, “we want to be out ahead of this.”
“The ultimate goal is to maximize off-premise sales,” he continued. “We’re here to enable the consumer to access and engage with us whenever, wherever and however they want. If you’re not making that easy, they’re going to go someplace else. If people can’t access you online, they’re going someplace else.”
Delivery, of course, is also part of the convenience conversation, and Bloom said Capriotti’s has both national and regional delivery partners.