These days, restaurants have an increasingly large of amount of technology that could work toward their benefit. Between mobile payments and mobile ordering systems, there are seemingly endless new options for businesses to add. But there’s one problem—these tools come neither intuitively nor cheaply. And that’s something that Mike Wior, the founder and CEO of Omnivore, set out to fix.
Years ago, Wior was tasked with working alongside Chris Sullivan, the founder of the Outback Steakhouse and Bloomin’ Brands, to integrate a service called MenuPad into the company’s existing systems. He quickly discovered that point-of-sale integration was going to be a major problem. That's because he had to hire three different contractors who lived in different parts of the United States to write multiple integrations from MICROS, Aloha, and POSitouch—the result was that all three were written in completely different languages and none of them were working in tandem.
“It was clear that the restaurant industry was behind the rest of the world as far as technology. In the past, any time a restaurant wanted to test a new integrated technology, they had to go through this whole integration process. They had to test and use their resources to make sure that whatever it is they’re bringing in interfaces their point-of-sale system—was it going to be compatible and was it going to cause problems with other things that were already running there?” Wior said. “There had to be a better way to seamlessly integrate a variety of capabilities in a restaurant’s point-of-sales systems. But, smooth POS integration was still blocked by a disconnection of disparate systems.”
To solve this setback and move the restaurant industry forward, Wior set his sights on building a better and more efficient way to connect restaurant POS systems with consumer applications. Wior brought years of experience in security and infrastructure at Wells Fargo to the table, and in this new endeavor, his focus was to develop a robust cloud-based API that would serve as the new standard in universal communications for the restaurant industry. And with that, Omnivore was launched in 2014—a platform that requires only a single integration. From there, it helps restaurants discover and test apps on the Omnivore Marketplace for payment, reservations, delivery, loyalty, analytics and point-of-purchase intelligence.
“It removes all of the headaches that used to be involved in playing around with new technology,” Wior added. “Introducing a single company like Omnivore that could ensure a restaurant was integrated and connected was a really big deal. Omnivore helped to break barriers and open up the marketplace in a way that hadn’t really been done before.”
Now, Omnivore is becoming the go-to API for POS systems, not only at the restaurant level, but across all hospitality sectors. Dozens of global companies are already finding rapid success on Omnivore’s platform, including many of the leading restaurant technology companies in sectors like discovery, reservations, delivery, CRM loyalty, ordering, payment, analytics and more. In the years to come, Wior also believes the platform has the power to help take the entire industry to a never-before-seen level of data-driven convenience.
“Restaurants want to know how they’re performing. Beverage companies want to know how much they’re selling in different markets. For a while, that kind of information was a black hole for them. By connecting with their point-of-sales systems, Omnivore can feed manufacturers and restaurants big data in a way they never had before. We could send them information in a very consistent real-time way that gives insight into what consumers want and when they want it,” Wior said. “It’s an entirely new level of marketing. It means personalized engagement that’s never been available before. This is the future of e-commerce.”
Today, after only two short years in business, Omnivore’s platform is currently used by just over 2,000 locations nationwide. Wior hopes to see the business expand to 15,000 to 20,000 locations by 2017—proving that the risks he took to disrupt the restaurant technology industry have paid off in a big way.
“You have to be willing to take a risk. That could mean that at the end of all of these years, you might have to start over. You have to determine what you define as success and know that in that spectrum, you’ve created value—so even if you have hard times, you can say that you have built a set of skills that are rare and valuable,” Wior said. “I’ve been fortunate to witness how our API is shifting the entire restaurant technology landscape. And I can’t wait to be a part of the exciting future that our technology helps unlock.”