Jeremy Julian

227. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 227 – Harnessing Restaurant Technology: A Deep Dive with It’s a Checkmate

April 8, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the restaurant industry, technology has taken center stage as both a catalyst for growth and an essential tool for managing complexity. In a recent episode of the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast, host Jeremy Julian sat down with Vishal Agarwal, founder and CEO of It’s a Checkmate, to discuss the revolution in digital ordering and how restaurants are adapting to meet their customers wherever they are—be it online, through an app, or beyond.

Embracing Digital Transformation

The conversation kicked off with a look into the journey of It’s a Checkmate, an innovative solution designed to streamline the chaos of digital ordering. Vishal Agarwal shared insights into the company’s mission: enabling restaurant operators to extend their menu presence across a multitude of digital channels without jeopardizing operational efficiency. From major brands like Wendy’s and Buffalo Wild Wings to local mom-and-pop shops, It’s a Checkmate has been instrumental in integrating digital ordering systems directly into point of sale (POS) systems, simplifying restaurant operations across the board.

“The digital channels as a whole are exploding,” Agarwal observed, noting the proliferation of ordering platforms beyond the traditional first and third party experiences—kiosks, CarPlay, and even social platforms like Facebook Messenger are emerging as vital channels. The challenge, however, lies in managing this digital explosion without overwhelming the very fabric of restaurant operations.

The Complexity of Digital Ordering

Jeremy Julian delved deeper, requesting Agarwal to unpack the complexity behind managing multiple digital ordering channels. What surfaced was a nuanced conversation on the operational challenges and opportunities presented by digital diversification. Agarwal illustrated the daunting task faced by kitchens when orders flood in from myriad sources, often in inconsistent formats. It’s a Checkmate’s solution? “Make your kitchen operations efficient,” Agarwal stated, emphasizing the importance of transforming all orders into a uniform format recognizable by the kitchen staff, regardless of their digital origin.

Setting Expectations and Enhancing Operations

Both Agarwal and Julian highlighted an often-overlooked aspect of digital ordering: setting realistic expectations with customers about delivery times and managing kitchen capacity effectively. Agarwal shared insights into It’s a Checkmate’s efforts in capacity management, discussing how they are working with clients to deliver accurate wait times based on real-time kitchen capacity, thereby enhancing the customer experience.

A long-standing issue that was discussed is the dreaded “tablet hell”—the scenario where a restaurant’s counter is cluttered with various tablets for different delivery services. This not only causes operational headaches but can also impact the dining experience, as noted by Julian who recounted a personal experience where incessant tablet notifications disrupted his meal. Agarwal reassured that It’s a Checkmate is committed to providing solutions that integrate seamlessly with restaurants’ existing systems, avoiding such pitfalls.

Innovations on the Horizon: Voice Ordering and Beyond

The conversation then ventured into the future, touching upon the potential of voice ordering and other emerging technologies in transforming customer interactions. Both Julian and Agarwal expressed optimism about the role of voice AI in ordering systems, acknowledging the need for continued innovation to integrate these solutions smoothly into restaurant operations.

Conclusion: A Partnership Toward Efficiency

As the podcast wrapped up, it was clear that the collaboration between technology providers like It’s a Checkmate and restaurant operators is pivotal in navigating the complex landscape of digital dining. The insights shared by Vishal Agarwal serve as a testament to the ongoing journey toward operational efficiency and customer satisfaction in the restaurant industry.

For restaurant owners grappling with the challenges of digital ordering, It’s a Checkmate offers a beacon of hope—a promise of streamlined operations, satisfied customers, and ultimately, a thriving business in the digital age.

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