TouchBistro Inc., a software developer for iPad POS systems in restaurants, on Wednesday announced the acquisition of loyalty marketing application provider TableUp. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition was driven by restaurant requests for ways to market and offer customer incentives to return as restaurants begin reopening for dining. This is as opposed to offering just carryout or delivery orders amid the loosening of restrictions placed on restaurants by state and local governments during the Covid-19 pandemic, says Alex Barrotti, chief executive of Toronto-based TouchBistro.
TableUp will give TouchBistro an in-house loyalty application over which it can control future development, Barrotti says. In addition, TouchBistro will own the TableUp data, he adds. In any other scenario, it would have to share customer data with a third-party provider that can then resell the data or share it with other clients. Boston-based TableUp is used by more than 600 restaurants in the United States. TouchBistro has more than 13,000 live restaurant customers in the U.S. and more than 25,000 customers worldwide.
Previously, TouchBistro had partnered with third-party loyalty-application providers. Barrotti says the acquisition does not rule out partnering with third-party application providers for other initiatives in the future.
TouchBistro will integrate the TableUp application into its point-of-sale and restaurant-management platform. The company, which began working on the integration during the acquisition talks, will have it completed in time for release in two weeks, Barrotti says. The application will be rolled out in phases, with an introductory offering available in the North American market in the coming weeks, the company says.
Promotions can vary from offers for a discount on a diner’s next meal or free appetizers to two-for-one deals and points that can be earned for discounts on future meals. “There is really no limit to the type of offers; this is not a one-size-fits-all loyalty program,” Barrotti says. “Restaurants can use this application to reconnect with frequent customers and draw them back in and to attract new customers.”
To receive offers, consumers will be required to opt-in to a participating restaurant’s loyalty program.
TableUp’s technology gathers customer behavior and spending levels across in-restaurant dining and online-ordering systems for pickup or delivery. Restaurants can use the data to gain insights into customer behavior to determine what offers will appeal to diners and to create customer profiles to which individual offers can be tailored.
In April, TouchBistro launched an online-ordering application for takeout and delivery orders. The application was developed and launched in three weeks. During its first few weeks of use, restaurants received $500,000 in orders, the company says. Since the launch, 2,000 restaurants have signed up for the application, which is free to all TouchBistro customers for one year.
In addition, TouchBistro launched an application that enables restaurants to create their own branded gift cards using customized designs and easy-to-use templates. The application is integrated with its POS system as a way to help restaurants stimulate cash flow.