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Using Technology to Reshape the Restaurant Experience

David Morton, Founder and Proprietor at DMK Restaurants

Using Technology to Reshape the Restaurant ExperienceDavid Morton, Founder and Proprietor at DMK Restaurants

Now more than ever, people are embracing technology as a means to connect and engage with one another. At DMK, we’re always interested in leveraging best-in-class tools to create guest-centric, personalized experiences. Our first New York City locations, Office Hours and The Landing, illustrate how digital strategies can elevate food, beverage, and hospitality for the modern restaurant.

Office Hours and The Landing are located in PENN 1, a midtown Manhattan skyscraper owned and operated by Vornado Realty Trust. This next generation property represents the future of the workplace, making it the perfect location to meld technology and hospitality.

Similar to most restaurants, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way guests approach the dining experience. The pandemic accelerated this, as evidenced by approximately 60% of consumers  nationwide ordering food for pickup or delivery at least once a week; and industry forecasts showing that takeout orders will account for 21% of all restaurant transactions by 2025.

DMK’s approach to digital engagement

Office Hours is a culinary-driven grab-and-go experience. At the onset, we understood the need for an efficient ordering process that’s simple, elegant, and intuitive. To accomplish this, we partnered with HqO, which specializes in technology that supports state-of-the-art workplace experiences. By optimizing our digital platform, HqO let us focus on our brand and the experiences we offer. Here’s how it worked for us.

To initially connect with tenants of the property, we hosted a series of events promoted through the property’s PENN-branded HqO app. Tenants were thrilled with features allowing them to order ahead from an exclusive tenant-priced menu, and schedule pickup to best fit their needs. We also developed a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm box – a first-of-its kind order ahead assortment of regionally grown organic produce that app users can pick up the following week. Next up: a fully integrated catering experience that will enable users to book catering via Office Hours.

Customer feedback for our innovative programming, including the ability to order online and receive exclusive perks through their building app, has been highly positive. The week we launched Office Hours, we enjoyed immediate traction and began building brand loyalty. During the first four weeks, nearly 100 customers placed orders with Office Hours through the app — with an  86% customer return rate. Since its launch, Office Hours has become the highest-selling vendor across HqO’s entire platform.

What’s next? 

After the successful launch of Office Hours, we opened a bespoke, full-service restaurant called The Landing.  This sophisticated, luxurious restaurant has 150-seats and two private dining rooms designed to host meetings and presentations, social gatherings, and special occasions. 

At The Landing, diners can use the HqO app to make early-access reservations, order ahead, and schedule pickups. The Landing also has a digitally facilitated dine-in option accessible through its adjacent “balcony” area, where guests can scan a QR code to seamlessly access the menu, order and pay, and then enjoy delivery to their location on the balcony.

Catering is a very profitable business for restaurants but can often be cumbersome for guests to plan and difficult for restaurants to manage.  To solve this, HqO is helping The Landing facilitate catering through the app’s white-glove interface.  

As we move forward, digital technology is allowing DMK to innovate and transform our approach to dining. But for us, it's not just about pivoting to keep pace with consumer expectations. It's about partnering with innovative thinkers who help our team reimagine what's possible and fuel our mission of hospitality, love, and respect.

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