Pivoting During the Pandemic: Dash Now’s Sprint to Adapt

Confucius is quoted as once saying, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

In March 2020, the restaurant industry didn’t just fall; it was hit by a knockout punch that left it flat on the ground. But, like any good story, the industry managed to adapt to an entirely new way of business seemingly overnight and get back up, delighting customers in new and convenient ways. Today, many restaurants are open thanks to quick thinking and a little support from innovative partners across the Brink POS integration partner ecosystem.

As the first in our ‘Pivoting During the Pandemic’ series, Dash Now, a contactless payment and curbside management provider, tells us how they rose to the challenge COVID created. We recently caught up with Brett Karlin, Vice President of Dash Now, whose team developed technology that allows guests to connect with the restaurants they love, all from the palm of their hand.

How did COVID-19 impact your customers?

Beyond closures and restrictions, Dash Now customers realized a shift in their business model from primarily dine-in to exclusively carry-out. This created new staff responsibilities, operational changes, and, in many cases, complete redesigns of their dining rooms and parking areas.

What pandemic initiatives did you implement that your customers have adopted and are here for the long haul?

In November 2019, without any knowledge of what the next 5-18 months might bring, our CEO and Founder, Joe Layne, established Dash Now’s mission. He said he wanted our company to be “a group of disruptive visionaries trying to make an impact on the world, starting with the very underserved restaurant industry. We are honest, hardworking, never-give-up, figure-it-out-or-die-trying kind of people who will not stop until the world knows who we are.”

By March 2020, with every Dash Now customer in either complete or partial closure, a step toward that guiding principle was realized as Dash Now’s Text-to-Pay. Since releasing the service in March, we’ve helped our clients streamline curbside service, take more to-go orders, increase sales, and reduce contact between staff and guests. Dash Now’s Text-to-Pay feature reduces call-in order times, establishes a familiar, safe, remote method of collecting payments, and provides staff with real-time alerts when guests arrive. This is all done without a POS replacement, hardware, or customer application.

What will be the lasting impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry? 

We all recognize that the convenience of the to-go dining experience is here to stay, but so are the innovations to food preparation, contactless delivery, and technology that support such experiences. Restaurants able to capitalize on this paradigm shift are more profitable and sustainable than ever before.

The push toward more contactless ordering options has worked well for Dash Now. How are customers responding to the technology?

While Dash Now does not directly support contactless ordering, we support contactless menus. For our target customers, the relationships developed through traditional ordering remain critical to customer loyalty. Our focus has been to improve operational efficiency without reducing the opportunity for personal interactions and customer service.

We’ve seen the rise of drive-thru over the past 12 months, but off-premises ordering is also growing. How will the off-premises trend be impacted by a return to “normal” restaurant conditions?

Off-premise will remain a staple in the restaurant industry and is now ingrained in the “normal” restaurant condition. The prevailing restaurant perspective is that the dining room is more costly. Focusing on to-go and curbside orders has resulted in unprecedented profitability and growth opportunity. While returning to dine-in will naturally increase, many of our partners may continue to limit dine-in as they now have an effective way to deliver great food and service without tables and chairs.

What is Dash Now doing to continue pushing innovation in 2021 and beyond?

Recognizing that people are more willing than ever to use their phones as a convenient and secure method of payment, Dash Now is continuing to help restaurants grow their business while broadening our impact into other industries, such as retail, service, and transportation through TextPay. We have service providers with dozens of technicians, invoicing customers in the field for lawn care, plumbing, or electrical. We have florists and bakeries collecting payment upfront and medical providers issuing invoices directly from QuickBooks and capturing payment the same day.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Dash Now is committed to increasing the profitability of our restaurant customers and supporting critical partners like PAR to offer value-added services. We look forward to the challenges ahead!