Yelp Introduces Guest Manager, A Front-of-House Operations Tool for Restaurants
Yelp today introduced a new, comprehensive solution for restaurants to manage their front-of-house operations. With online searches for takeout remaining above pre-pandemic levels, the new Yelp Guest Manager is being billed as a comprehensive solution that brings together many of the digital tools restaurants have been using to manage digital ordering, reservations, takeout, guest loyalty, and table management.
Yelp’s new offering differentiates itself with key integrations with some of the most widely used platforms in the restaurant industry, including Olo for digital ordering and Punchh for customer engagement. Yelp Guest Manager also includes new features to help streamline front-of-house operations for both dine-in and to-go ordering.
“Over the last 18 months, the restaurant industry has been through a significant technology adoption cycle, with many new vendors offering point solutions that support front-of-house operations. Restaurants are starting to see some of the hidden costs associated with too many vendors, including lack of integration, device proliferation, and complex processes,” explains Anthony Cross, Yelp’s VP of Product. “Technology consolidation is a natural response to these challenges, and we expect this to continue as a trend in the coming years.”
A Guest Manager for a Changed Restaurant Industry
The restaurant industry in 2021 is markedly different than before the pandemic. Although many restaurants have reopened for indoor dining, at least in some capacity, the industry is still facing unprecedented labor shortages. Customer demands shifted during the pandemic as well. According to Yelp, searches for takeout remained 77% higher in August 2021 than in August 2019. To manage the influx of online orders, restaurants are relying more on digital solutions.
They’re also adapting to new operational models. According to Yelp’s internal data, the number of businesses that have adopted the takeout, delivery, and curbside attributes on Yelp has increased by nearly 15%, 50%, and 550%, respectively, since June 2020.
A 69% increase in the adoption of front-of-house technology between August 2020 and August 2021 spurred the development of Yelp’s newest solution. Yelp Guest Manager helps restaurants manage their front-of-house needs and eases the front-of-house workload, so managers can focus their attention on pressing matters like building guest loyalty and finding solutions to ongoing labor shortages.
How Guest Manager Works
To better manage takeout, delivery, and curbside orders online, Yelp has developed key integrations with Olo and Punchh. With its integration with Punchh, Yelp Guest Manager will enable restaurants to provide personalized customer loyalty programs by providing rich diner data to hosts, including birthdays and seating preferences.
“Loyal customers have always been an important part of a restaurant’s success — it is important for restaurants to be able to reward and engage with those customers based on their preferences. As an industry-leading loyalty and engagement platform, Punchh enables brands to deliver customer loyalty programs that help drive repeat diners,” Cross says. “For restaurants using Punchh, the new integration will combine Punchh’s marketing services with Yelp Guest Manager, making it even easier to provide personalized hospitality to guests.”
An Olo integration will automate the process of inputting new orders made on a restaurant’s website or app into the Yelp Guest Manager app, so restaurants can manage all front-of-house guests from one iPad.
Restaurants that are Yelp Ads customers will also be able to place a pixel on their Olo ordering portal, which will give them the ability to measure and attribute ad-driven and Yelp-assisted view-through and click-through conversions on their Olo ordering portal.
Cross expects technology to continue playing an increasingly important role in restaurant operations over the coming years. This increase in technology use is allowing restaurants to fulfill more takeout, curbside, and delivery orders, but the shift toward an omnichannel model will have to continue in order for restaurants to maintain their current pace of growth.
“As restaurants move to an omnichannel model, they need vendors that are going to help them manage every aspect of their front-of-house, which is what we are offering with Yelp Guest Manger,” Cross says. “Whether it is using Yelp Kiosk to manage walk-ins and reduce crowding in a restaurant’s waiting area or using Yelp to manage takeout orders, technology can help ease the burden restaurants face when adopting a new operating model.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.