Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads is a new, Atlanta-based pizza concept with a unique approach to artisan pizza with an exceptional, digitally-enhanced customer experience. By leveraging a mobile app, RFID and beacon technology, Rize is turning a centuries-old industry upside down and establishing itself as a disruptor. Guests can download the app to pay for their meal and collect loyalty rewards points, while RFID tags and beacons facilitate locating the guest within the restaurant. The ultimate goal for the use of technology at Rize is to reduce time servers spend taking orders so they can focus on providing more meaningful interactions that enhance the customer’s experience and create deeper brand affinity.
Kounta POS system integration, credit card tokenization with Card Connect, Android Pay via Stripe, Gimbal beacon technology, LRS Table Tracker, Mixpanel – for analytics, iOS and Android platforms, custom backend implementation
in the media
- Leveraged primary user research to create a phased, digital experience roadmap
- Designed and built iOS and Android native apps for guests to make mobile payments and sign up for loyalty rewards
- Used BLE bluetooth technology and RFID tags to identify guests’ in-store location, streamline waitstaff’s workflow and create a more personalized customer experience
- Integrated analytics to analyze user behavior and inform future feature decisions
- Increase revenue
- Currently working on integrating mobile ordering functionality
- 16% of all sales run through the app
- Improved traditional tableside service model
- Enable enhanced guest experience with technology
- Positive guest response
- Global interest in the technology from other restaurants
Rize Revolutionizes the Restaurant Industry with Mobile
As the member of a U.S. Air Force family, John Smith, CEO and founder of Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads (Rize), grew up living in countries around the world. During his time spent in global food capitals including Italy and Spain, he garnered a true appreciation for food, especially for pizza and sangria. Later on, Smith’s professional life sent him on multiple journeys across the world where he found himself in search of two food favorites: a great breakfast place and an exceptional pizza joint. This passion for food combined with extensive experience developing restaurant concepts for large hospitality brands led him to create his own pizza concept, Rize.
Smith had a vision to launch an innovative industry disruptor by solving the pain points most common to restaurant patrons. Extensive market research revealed a customer’s biggest grievance was paying the bill. In a traditional table service model, guests must wait for a server to deliver their bill, collect and process payment and return to their table before leaving. This cumbersome process can often produce a slow service cycle, incorrect bills and a poor experience overall.
Smith’s team also found guests were frustrated when they couldn’t order food immediately upon entering the restaurant or choose where they want to sit. Smith’s goal was simple: “Use digital technology to solve guest pain points while empowering our team to provide what we call true hospitality.”
Rize partnered with stable|kernel to create this innovative, digital customer journey through the restaurant. While most restaurants create a process that you have to conform to, Rize would give the power back to the customer, ultimately enhancing the guest experience. Using a combination of a mobile app, RFID and bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon technology to help locate customers from the time they order to the time they pay, we designed a system that delighted patrons: allow them to pay when they are ready and have the freedom to sit anywhere in the restaurant. Staff members can match the right order with the right guest, and guests could use the mobile app to pay at the exact moment they were ready and collect loyalty rewards points. The technology is meant to enable the operation, but work seamlessly in the background, invisible to the patrons.
Traditionally, restaurants and retailers have used a single beacon to detect when a guest or shopper enters their location and at a few key points around the store. Our innovative approach employed multiple beacons to detect each guest’s exact location. We faced some challenges integrating with 3rd party beacon technologies, pagers and the POS system, but we worked around each of those challenges by developing a custom backend system that ensures seamless integration among all parts. stable|kernel software engineer Jason Atwood described the process: “The secret here was finding out the capabilities and limitations of each product, seeing if we could overcome them in the backend system and ultimately making sure the resulting solution solved the problem we wanted to solve in an elegant way.”
So how did we make it work? After conducting in-depth research, we found two different table location products that could deliver upon the solution. After testing both products, LRS Table Tracker was the clear winner. Then, we used multiple RFID tags underneath each table to provide the LRS Table Trackers a way to identify each table. Once the pager is placed on a table, it reads the table’s RFID tags and reports back to the system indicating the table’s location. Inside the mobile application, we built an algorithm that detects nearby beacons and associates a table with the appropriate beacon. Bluetooth signals are basically radio waves that are affected in different ways by different types of surfaces and materials, which posed a challenge we overcame. For instance, when an aluminum pizza pan was set down in the middle of the table, often the beacon’s signal would be blocked. We created a testing environment which helped us uncover and address these challenges prior to live, in-restaurant testing.
In the short time since Rize opened, 16% of all sales have passed through the app. This figure is comparable with industry leaders Starbucks and Panera Bread with Starbucks earning 17-18% of its transactions through an app and Panera earning 15-18% of their sales through its app. Rize CTO Peter deWeerdt reports, “The reception of the app by our guests is very positive particularly because we don’t force people to use it.” Despite the initial success rate, the team is hoping to boost the Android user adoption, currently lagging behind iOS, though our developers are actively working to enhance the Android experience.
When it came to choosing a development partner, deWeerdt explained the Rize team looked for a strategic agile development partner whose passion matched theirs. “I could literally see the excitement with the stable|kernel team about doing something that’s never been done before,” deWeerdt said. “By definition, they’re extremely flexible. As things evolve, they’re always receptive to change and tweaking. It was overall a great experience for me.”
The restaurant opened on November 7, 2016, and our team continues to work with Rize adding new features to the app experience such as in-app ordering, optimizing current features and refining the use of the beacon technology. Smith plans to open several locations in the next few months, expanding nationally in the next few years, and we are excited to see more growth and adoption of the technology. Much like Rize’s pizza, its app is crafted with care to provide a delightful customer experience.