SEATTLE, WA / ACCESSWIRE / June 20, 2019 / Some industries seem naturally poised for innovation at near-constant intervals. Others, not so much. But with revolutionary apps like Rooam, it is becoming increasingly clear that disruption is possible in areas as seemingly ordinary as the restaurant industry.
Rooam, in particular, seeks to bring change by creating a smartphone app that allows restaurant or bar patrons to manage their check through their phone. While such apps have been attempted in the past, Rooam's unique approach to point of sale (POS) integration offers greater benefits to both restaurants and their patrons is poised to have more of a lasting impact.
Rather than requiring that guests have a separate payment app for each restaurant group or POS, Rooam integrates with pre-existing POS systems to create a central app for a more user-friendly experience.
Despite tech's penchant for innovation, change isn't always welcome. Despite industry sales hovering around $800 billion per year, restaurants have a tendency to be quick to start, but also quick to fail. One study found that 'up to 90 percent of independent [restaurants] close during the first year, and the remaining restaurants will have an average five-year life span.'
Many restaurant owners understand the high risk - and this makes them wary of trying new ideas.
'The restaurant industry is very risk-averse,' explains Junaid Shams, co-founder and CEO of Rooam. 'With such thin profit margins, they tend to be slow to adopt new technology. I would find massive restaurant groups using software that is 15 years old, and their managers had no clear idea of how modernizing their tech systems would help them improve their guest experiences.'
Needless to say, getting an initial group of bars and restaurants on-board with a modern app like Rooam took a bit of time - and a clear demonstration of how the app would benefit the restaurants. As Shams noted, there is a veritable graveyard of apps that have attempted similar mobile payment systems in the past.
What has helped make Rooam different is that it helps alleviate restaurant owners' concerns by integrating with preexisting POS systems.
'Partnering with other point of sale systems has made a huge difference in getting restaurants to adopt Rooam,' Shams says. 'The key is making implementation as easy and seamless for the restaurants as possible. You don't need another piece of hardware like other ordering and delivery apps. Partnering with other point of sale systems makes it so restaurants don't have to necessarily change their system or do anything differently to accept Rooam. This creates a hub that both restaurants and guests can rely on, no matter what their POS system is.'
Streamlining the Experience
A few noteworthy features of the app include chargeback and walk-out protection, directly addressing restauranteurs' concerns that a customer could run up a large tab on their phone and then walk out without actually paying.
This system actually grew from an idea to make the dining experience more convenient for both the patrons and owners of the restaurant. Rooam users must have a valid credit or debit card linked to their account. They open a tab when they arrive at the establishment and start ordering from their server or bartender.
Once the diner is ready to leave, they simply tap the 'Close Tab' icon on their live screen, and the payment is processed automatically. However, the app also accounts for patrons whose phone dies during their meal or who forget to close their tab. The app automatically closes out all tabs at the end of the night, ensuring that payments are properly processed. Staff can also manually close a check if needed.
'We want to ensure that both restaurant owners and their patrons have peace of mind,' Shams explains. 'Ultimately, the goal is to create a win-win for everyone involved. Patrons can see their bill in real-time and pay it once they are ready to leave. Restaurants don't have to worry about patrons who 'dine and dash,' while also having the ability to streamline their service so they can help more customers and generate more revenue each night.'
It's estimated that the average party of two spends an hour and 45 minutes at a restaurant. Speeding up the billing process helps restaurants serve more patrons and gives customers more time for other activities.
Marketing to a New Generation
Another goal of Rooam is to facilitate restaurants' abilities to meet the needs of tech-oriented millennials. The app automatically shows users the closest bars or restaurants that accept Rooam, creating an incentive to try new locations. This essentially creates a one stop shop for mobile users by allowing them to access many restaurants through a single app, rather than downloading separate payment apps for each dining establishment.
'On average, the fastest-growing restaurants spend over 50 percent of their revenue on marketing,' Shams explains. 'But many smaller restaurants simply don't have the margins to make that kind of investment. Being listed as part of Rooam's system creates a low-cost marketing opportunity to reach customers in the local area that also creates an easier mobile payment system for restaurant patrons.'
Studies have found that for Americans in their 20s and 30s, 'food away from home represents a larger share of total spending.' Millennials and Gen Z enjoy going out to eat, even if they don't always spend as much as older generations. By making restaurants more accessible and discoverable to these groups, the potential for profit grows significantly.
Though Rooam is currently primarily focused on the Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago areas, the app's initial success and key partnerships with point of sale companies ensures that it is posed for even greater growth in the future.
By creating a system that benefits restaurants and patrons alike, the app could very well soon become a staple of the restaurant industry. 'Tech integration is the way of the future,' Shams says. 'There's no reason why bars and restaurants should be left behind.'
SOURCE: Press Works
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