Penn Station has a recently updated online ordering app—which means day-to-day operations are more efficient and streamlined.
The Cincinnati-based franchise, which specializes in East Coast-style submarine sandwiches, is staying at the forefront of technological advances with this latest update; The app is already helping operators increase their stores’ efficiency in several ways.
Since debuting online ordering last year, in-store lines across Penn Station units have been shortened. That’s a win-win for customers trying to get back to the office quickly as well as for employees working during meal rushes.
This also means that cashiers don't have to field complaints about wait times or rush through taking orders. This eliminates the risk of mishearing a verbal order or hitting a wrong button on the POS system. With the new app, online orders are guaranteed to be received exactly as the customer places them. This will result in fewer issues in-store, saving employees, managers and owners time so they can focus on making delicious meals to order.
“We already know that online ordering is where the fast-casual restaurant industry is headed, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of making the digital ordering process as easy and enjoyable as possible,” said Penn Station president Craig Dunaway. “The franchisees who have been with us for a long time can’t believe how much the new app has changed their businesses. We take a lot of pride in the support we give to our owners, so we’re excited to be able to do that for them.”
Online ordering also frees up staff from waiting by the phone to take call-in orders. This will increase efficiency in day-to-day operations of individual units, cut down on both distractions and multi-tasking and lead to more everyday job satisfaction in the labor force.
“Previously, customers called the restaurant and placed their orders over the phone”, explained Dunaway. “This led to miscommunication between the guest and the team members. Now the order is placed, paid for and picked up, and while the customer interaction overall has decreased, the efficiencies generated for the operator and the guest make it better for both sides.
With consumers increasingly becoming accustomed to the option of avoiding interaction and the telephone altogether, a better online ordering platform was a natural progression for the ever-evolving Penn Station. The brand first launched an online ordering option last year after noticing that nearly 60 percent of all orders were consumed off-premises. Of course, all selections are made fresh to order regardless of how they’re placed.
“When we noticed that over half of our guests were taking their sandwiches, hand-cut fries and fresh-squeezed lemonades out of the store to enjoy them somewhere else, we knew we needed to save them the extra step of waiting in line,” said Dunaway. “From an individual owner’s standpoint, they just need to see the order come in, make it, and hand it to the customer. It cuts out several steps that aren’t necessary for a sub-lover on the go, and it’s our operators who are benefiting the most.”
In addition to convenience, the redesigned app offers many exciting new options for customers as well. Guests can see previous tickets for easier reordering of the items they haven’t been able to stop thinking about. Penn Station’s loyalty program has been reconfigured to reward “lemons” for every dollar spent, allowing guests to save up for future orders or earn more lemons by referring friends to the app. Additionally, the platform now includes a fun photo booth with Penn Station-branded filters, a direct messaging center and promotion alert so fans never miss out on limited-time offers.
Penn Station currently has over 300 locations around the country. The overall investment ranges from $293,102 to $593,027 per restaurant, not including lease expenses and fees. More information can be found here.