STRATACACHE, NCR In Strategic Partnership For Services, Software In Hospitality Sector

March 1, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Payment systems giant NCR has reached a partnership with STRATACACHE that sees it marketing the CMS software company’s capabilities but also providing on-site field services in North American and globally.

It’s a big deal on both sides, as STRATACACHE is the incumbent software provider in some giant chains like McDonalds, while NCR’s point of sale technology is in some 100,000 venues globally, from enterprise down to SMB.

NCR has, through the years, dabbled directly in digital signage software to broaden its core offer. It bought a digital signage software company called Webpavement way back in 2007, and later a kiosk software company called Netkey. In 2011, it bought Radiant Systems and with it software called Vitalcast that has been the lead digital signage offer for NCR. It is reasonable to suggest none of these led to NCR becoming a big hitter on the digital signage side of the hospitality business.

There is a significant technology gap between being able to enable simple digital menu boards and price changes, and the AI/machine learning-driven digital signage now being used by companies like STRATACACHE to intelligently serve messaging and offers all the way down, in near or real time, to individual consumers. There are now additional elements like order confirmation displays, order pickup status screens and back-of-house production displays.

You can spend millions to get there with a contemporary platform, or find a partner.

In the case of NCR, it is going down the path of other giant tech companies like IBM, which went from making physical computing systems to providing global knowledge-based IT and consulting services. NCR has some 3,000 badged, staffed field service techs. Most companies doing field support in the digital signage sector have a small percentage of that count, and rely heavily on contractors.

“Digital signage is a powerful tool that goes beyond simply communicating a menu. It can create operational efficiency, personalize the guest experience and drive revenue,” says Dirk Izzo, president and general manager, NCR Hospitality. “By partnering with STRATACACHE, NCR is accelerating digital signage innovation and delivering solutions that create a competitive advantage to our customers, giving them more tools to run the restaurant.”

The NCR-STRATACACHE partnership brings together comprehensive software solutions that link to the NCR Commerce Platform, powerful analytics and 24x7x365 field service that allow restaurants to deliver agile dynamic campaigns and customized experiences to engage consumers.

“Our partnership helps the restaurant industry leverage knowledge of the customer from prior visits, mobile or loyalty to empower personalization and concierge-level service across digital menu boards, kiosks and mobile application engagements,” says Chris Riegel, STRATACACHE founder and CEO. “As restaurant operators face ongoing labor and supply chain challenges, technology, automation and smart digital menus are essential to reducing service times, improving sales results and minimizing challenging labor conditions. This alliance ties incredibly innovative technology to the operational and service capabilities required to ensure customer success, with faster service times, more efficient labor and increased margins.”

NCR is a full end-to-end provider from order creation to payment settlement that brings together software, services and hardware — trusted by more than 100,000 restaurant sites, including independent operators, domestic chains and international brands across the globe. NCR Aloha provides everything enterprise and SMB restaurants need to run their business, boost efficiency and increase growth.

STRATACACHE provides a full scope of consumer engagement technology and services to the world’s largest restaurant, retail, brand and service companies. STRATACACHE’s digital solutions use smart digital displays, advanced sensors and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to customize the guest experience, enhancing profitability, customer satisfaction and speed of service. With more than three million digital displays operating in 28 countries, STRATACACHE is the global leader in advanced retail marketing technology.

Partnerships are a big deal to the people who pull them together, but quite often don’t lead to all that much, because of different business cultures, different needs and the limited ability to understand and sell what the other partners do and offer.

This is different, I think.

First, Riegel doesn’t have the time or tolerance for partnerships that are more optics than genuine opportunity. He also doesn’t need a way into the QSR and fast casual space, because he’s already there in a substantial way. His estimate is 60% market share in the US and Canada, already.

Working with NCR means access to more restaurant operations that maybe use something else for signage, but NCR for payment or other systems. These days, a lot of operators like the streamlined notion of one supplier for many things, so if they can get payment systems from NCR and ALSO get state-of-the-art, data-driven software for their menu and pre-sell displays from a direct partner, maybe on one invoice, that’s likely to make them happy.

The partnership is already, Riegel tells me, leading to new business opportunities with existing NCR customers, while STRATACACHE customers – including some whale accounts – are cutting over to NCR field services.

STRATACACHE, distinct from other software companies chasing the QSR space, also has outdoor display manufacturing and computer vision based analytics capabilities. Riegel tends to want to own the whole solution stack – hence his going into display manufacturing – but watering and feeding 3,000 service techs is not something that’s easily taken on.

For NCR, the company gets to stick to what it is good at, open up new opportunities in the services business, and have a software partner that is nowhere near its business size, but about as big as they get in the digital signage world, and both trusted and in use by some of the biggest players.

  1. craig Allen keefner says:

    Service is huge factor. NCR supports anybody and everybody for example in a Walmart store (or did). Grocery checkout is saturated but worth noting NCR is very involved in the recent “just walk out” UK iterations. Another complication for their historical business is the inevitable decline of ATMs and the rise of Bitcoin.

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