Well this is pretty interesting – digital signage CMS companies chasing the food services businesses have long known they had many competitors, big and small, but they probably never envisioned Coca-Cola being among them.
The beverage giant has announced a partnership on a digital marketplace, to launch this fall, “that connects its foodservice customers to pre-vetted, industry-best restaurant technologies with competitive pricing. The marketplace of solutions for front of house, back of house and outside of house is powered by Omnivore, a universal point-of-sale connectivity platform, that offers seamless integration into restaurants’ point-of-sale (POS) systems.”
The marketplace is a collaboration between Coca-Cola and a restaurant tech company called Omnivore, which Coca-Cola’s invested in last year.
The front of house stuff is why you should be interested, as it includes table-side ordering and payment, guest engagement, kiosks and digital menus. Those last three are the capabilities CMS companies and solutions providers have been selling into QSRs.
The pitch with this is that “it is challenging and costly for restaurant operators to research, test, integrate and deploy the right technologies to capitalize on this growth opportunity. Coca-Cola’s digital marketplace addresses these concerns. Experts at Coca-Cola and Omnivore have partnered to vet today’s leading foodservice technologies, taking the guesswork out of finding the best-in-class digital solutions for restaurant operators. Coca-Cola’s strategic partnership with Omnivore allows for easy and affordable integration between any of the technologies in the marketplace and a restaurants’ POS system. This seamless connection capability reduces the time, money and resources restaurants currently expend on technology integration.”
“For 133 years, Coca-Cola has been focused on adding value beyond the beverage for our customers,” says Billy Koehler, Director of Digital & Payment Platforms for National Foodservice & On-Premise Marketing at Coca-Cola North America. “Decades ago, we provided customers with value-adds like Coca-Cola-branded cash registers and static Coca-Cola signage. In the 21st century, combining our expertise in foodservice and digital to offer tangible technology solutions provides the most value for our restaurant partners who always welcome an edge to increase their revenue. The marketplace is just one example of the digital solutions we’ll be rolling out for customers in the months to come.”
The PR says access to the marketplace and technology integration through Omnivore is free for Coca-Cola customers. Cost to a restaurant for technologies in the marketplace will vary by technology, but more competitive rates will be available for Coca-Cola customers.
Coca-Cola has been focused on providing digital solutions for their customers the last few years. After forging a partnership in 2018, this spring Coca-Cola and Omnivore launched the Menu Management Solution (MMS) app, a single source of truth software that allows restaurants to own their digital menu content and control their brand across any digital platform.
“Our year-long collaboration with Coca-Cola and select restaurant operators has helped us validate and develop additional digital solutions that contribute to profitable growth for restaurants,” says Shane Wheatland, Chief Marketing Officer at Omnivore. “These solutions align well to consumer needs as well as common barriers experienced by restaurant operators as they digitize and build a competitive advantage for their brand. We look forward to the launch of Coca-Cola’s marketplace, and continuing to foster agile and affordable access to meaningful third-party solutions.”
Coca-Cola has a footprint in, I’d assume, millions of food services operations across the U.S., so you could imagine how some operators might welcome a marketplace and options that make adding capabilities easier. I doubt that has any impact on the largest operators, who would work directly with their chosen tech suppliers (like McDonald’s does with STRATACACHE and Coates Group), but there’s a very long tail of small local and regional operators.
A quick look at the solution eco-system already being touted reveals a pile of completely unfamiliar names that are outside the signage eco-system. The only familiar name is Zivelo, which does interactive kiosks for things like self-service ordering.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.