On-Line Ordering from Squirrel Delivers Increased Average Check for Buca di Beppo

  • SQUiRREL Systems
  • 11.19.07
When Dan Cullen, senior director of information technology at Buca di Beppo took on the challenge of implementing online ordering at the 91 restaurant company, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

They started their pilot of SquirrelOne and orderTalk in October 2007 with just five restaurants in the Minneapolis area, home of Buca di Beppo’s corporate office. 
“We wanted to start small and felt that with no promotion, the order volume for the pilot would be fairly low,” said Dan.  “We are amazed to see that the orders are coming at a much higher frequency than expected and with a 40 percent higher ticket than a phone-in order.  While this is a small sample, we are very encouraged by the results so far.”
The IT group at Buca reviewed several products before deciding upon Dallas-based orderTalk.  Some of the features of the product that caught their attention were: 
  • Intelligent up-selling: The system will review the customer’s order at checkout, determine if there are any categories from which the customer didn’t order, and then suggest menu items from the most profitable unused category as an up-sell.
  • Group ordering: This facilitates coordination of a large order for the group convener by e-mailing everyone in the group with choices and consolidating the final order and payment.
  • Controls orders by time period: Keeping in mind that take-out orders from the Internet are coming into an already busy restaurant, orderTalk allows Buca to define how many orders per fifteen minute increment will be accepted.
Buca di Beppo is a long-time Squirrel customer with implementations of SquirrelOne at all 91 locations. 
Squirrel Systems’ professional services group worked with Buca’s senior Web developer, Hanie Hartman and orderTalk to develop the integration required for the two products to work together.  SquirrelOne already has a gateway API that allows any third-party company requiring this kind of integration to interface directly with SquirrelOne.  Squirrel’s professional services group, with strong backing from Squirrel research and development and Squirrel support, facilitates integration of this kind. 
“Our job is to help our customers achieve the integration they require to manage and grow their business as seamlessly as possible,” said Chris Pedersen, manager - professional services.  “We’re extremely pleased with the success of this project and look forward to Buca achieving their objective of a full rollout beginning in early 2008.”

With the soft launch of online ordering nearing its end, Buca is planning to release an e-blast to 30,000 of their e-Club members immediately.  The success of the pilot project has created demand from other Buca operators.  “This pilot surprised us,” said Cullen.  “It’s almost too successful if that’s possible.  There is a huge push now to accelerate the rollout of our online ordering solution.” 

Going forward, Buca plans to expand this program to include not only their lunch and dinner menus but also their catering menu.  At the moment, they are only offering take-out, but delivery will be a future option. 

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