As COVID-19 threatens traditional family get-togethers and gift-giving traditions this season, digital technology has an answer. Virtual gift giving enables you to deliver digital gift experiences to loved ones that are thoughtful, personalized, meaningful, ready to enjoy — and safer all around. Unlike with traditional gift cards, recipients will appreciate your gift immediately: the fun begins when they open it with a virtual 3-D experience.
Uptown Network, developer of the BYOM™ (Bring Your Own Menu) technology, today unveiled interactive “micro-gifting” for its BYOM digital menu platform for restaurants. With micro-gifting, restaurant guests and remote shoppers can now gift any food or beverage item or combination from a BYOM menu with a single click, delivered to the recipient as a visually engaging digital gift experience.
With BYOM Virtual Gifting, micro-gifting is as easy as sending a Tweet. Restaurant guests can package and gift an entree they’ve just eaten, perhaps linked to a selfie. Or surprise a sweets-loving aunt with a tempting-looking dessert and a paired glass of wine, ordered up from the comfort of your living-room couch or a beach in Tahiti.
Recipients can instantly redeem gifts as delivered, or apply them to the bill for different items of their choice ordered through any of the restaurant’s delivery channels. Or micro-gifts can be saved for better times, safely stored in email on recipients’ personal devices—not trapped in a forced-download, single-use app or buried in a bureau drawer somewhere.
Gifting that’s More Accessible, Distinctive and Profitable for Restaurants
Virtual gifting is a vast improvement over traditional physical gift cards and ecards, which are impersonal and limited in level of customization, delivery convenience, and emotional impact. Physical gift cards are unsafe and unwieldy for both recipients and for restaurants reinventing themselves for the post-COVID era. With BYOM, any size restaurant can now instantly add fully interactive digital gifting to their marketing programs without complicated infrastructure, big fees, or paperwork hassle.
“With the click of a single button, restaurants can turn their menus from an expense into a profit generator,” said Jack Serfass, founder and CEO of Uptown Network. “By mainstreaming gift-giving into BYOM, we’re enabling your guests to share their personal brand experiences, show their brand loyalty, and delight others with truly memorable and original gifts.”
BYOM Virtual Gifting creates capture-the-moment opportunities for restaurant guests and upsell opportunities for servers in the restaurant, introducing new customers to the brand and potentially resulting in larger average check sizes as they build a meal or their own experience around a gifted item. Anyone with a restaurant’s BYOM link—from regulars to “accidental tourist” foodies—can easily purchase gift experiences from anywhere in the world.*
BYOM customer Titan Hospitality Group of Crofton, Maryland, is deploying BYOM Virtual Gifting across its restaurant brands, including the Blackwall Barn & Lodge, urban-chic Blackwall Hitch and the Smashing Grapes Kitchen + Wine Bar.
“BYOM has been instrumental in designing the 360-degree customer experience for our pioneering, vibrant restaurant brands,” said James King, CEO of Titan Hospitality Group. “Virtual Gifting enriches the brands’ promise and accessibility, while offering new revenue possibilities for Titan.”
“Virtual gifting is an innovative way to capture and extend our brand experience,” said Jonathan Raz, Director of Food & Beverage at the Waldorf Astoria® Orlando. “It makes the entire menu giftable, so whether you are a loyal guest with a passion for our cuisine or someone experiencing one of our dishes for the first time, you’ll have the ability to share the experience with your friends and loved ones in a very visual way, with just a click. We are excited about the revenue potential virtual gifting will drive for our business. We’re pleased to have been involved as an early tester and shaper of this technology, which has great potential for the hospitality industry.”
BYOM Virtual Gifting is available today for BYOM Enterprise Edition customers and will be available in 2021 for BYOM Self-Service Edition customers.
Uptown Network has partnered with leading augmented reality agency Rock Paper Reality (RPR) as the exclusive AR agency for BYOM Virtual Gifting. RPR is known on a worldwide basis as experts in AR and consumer engagement. Combining this deep domain experience with the hospitality technology experience of Uptown Network creates a sum greater than its parts.
Through creative use of QR codes and other innovations, Uptown Network’s BYOM runs on guests’ personal devices without the need to download a separate app or wrestle with cumbersome PDFs. BYOM eliminates the cost, time and risk involved in using paper menus. It also prevents all those single-use paper menus from ending up in landfills, reduces menu-printing and associated shipping costs, and drives sales through its flexible, multiple-menu format and built-in analytics. To date, BYOM has saved restaurants and hotels more than 15 million pieces of paper and $3.75 million in printing costs, according to company estimates. More than 2 million people have used BYOM since its launch in May.
The BYOM experience is social and menus have been shared in all 50 states and 70 countries. Guest reviews on OpenTable, Yelp! and TripAdvisor have been favorable.
BYOM has been accessibility-certified by AccessiBe. Everyone at table, at home or in cyberspace has access to the same menu, enhancing the communal dining experience—including one-click sharing of menus with friends down the street or around the world.
About Rock Paper Reality
Rock Paper Reality has designated Uptown Network as their exclusive virtual gifting partner. Based in San Francisco and Copenhagen, RPR is an A-team of AR experts that help unlock the full potential of augmented reality. RPR develops award-winning AR experiences, products and applications. Learn more.
About Uptown Network
Uptown Network is an innovator in using iPads and iOS to help hospitality brands—such as Darden Restaurants, The Capital Grille, Waldorf Astoria, Seminole Hard Rock, Hershey Entertainment, Shula’s and Titan Hospitality—operate more efficiently, be more accessible to all, and deliver engaging guest experiences that help build brand loyalty and increase revenues. Its Bring Your Own Menu is fast becoming the digital-menu industry standard for hospitality brands as they reopen, as a replacement for single-use paper menus often mandated by regulators.
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