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Moe’s hopes to increase catering sales with new online ordering platform

Moe’s Southwest Grill, the fast-casual franchise known for its fresh, handmade, customizable Southwestern food, will roll-out new online catering offerings this June throughout all digital platforms designed to improve sales across its more than 500 locations.

The initiative is based off results of its first media campaign last year, which saw a 30 percent increase in digital traffic. Moe’s new off-premise catering experience, powered by MonkeyMedia Software, will seek to expand the organization and efficiency of franchise partners’ catering business and increase catering sales by providing consumers with online and mobile access to Moe’s catering offerings.

“With an increased digital spend of 603 percent and a good portion of click-throughs coming from mobile, we realized the importance of enhancing the user experience across all devices,” said Paul Macaluso, chief marketing officer at Moe’s, Atlanta.

Dialing in online
To a large extent, consumers have come to expect and take advantage of the ability to place restaurant orders online.

While diners do not give the process much thought, restaurateurs do, and are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to simplify the lives of their customers, while advancing their efforts to optimize relationships both on and offline.

The new online ordering system is a step up from the previous arrangement, which required interested parties to call-in or stop by to make arrangements. And while Moe’s has offered online and mobile ordering for small pick-ups, its catering segment had not caught up until now.

Oftentimes, when someone dials or walks in to place a catering order, they may be put on hold or told to wait if there is a rush of in-store diners. The ability to seamlessly access the same information and ordering structure online eliminates the hindrance of waiting.

The new platform will process guest orders and payments quickly and securely, the best part being that even when the idea strikes while on-the-go, fans can still place an order from wherever they are from desktop to handheld devices.

Ease of access
Moe’s begun testing the new MoneyCatering and MonkeyOnline Ordering systems two years ago, in both franchise and corporate-owned settings in U.S. cities such as Atlanta, Indianapolis, Miami, Nashville, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., among others.

The decision to expand the online system resulted from success criteria in areas including sales growth, sales growth, functionality, ordering benchmarks and test partner feedback.

This is the second major initiative by the made-to-order restaurant since last month, when it launched a new Web and mobile site in response to the results from its first media campaign in 2013, which increased traffic 30 percent.

The revamped digital platform provides an enhanced user-experience, and is built with responsive design to make accessing the site from mobile devices a seamless experience.

The new Web site and mobile site features a new look and feel with lifestyle photography representative of the family-friendly environment guests are accustomed to and food photography reflective of its menu items and fresh ingredients.

Moe’s continues to be a strong advocate in mobile and digital as a relatively young brand, which has actualized the value of conversation between it and consumers.

There is the email database, Check-In club, social media following, and online database for ordering online or via an app.

“When someone comes to, they can find what they need quickly, whether it’s locating a Moe’s, ordering online, checking out our menu or now researching catering options,” Mr. Macaluso said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York