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Meredith Sandland of Empower Delivery on the Steps to Digital Maturity Meredith Sandland, CEO of Empower Delivery, discusses growing your loyal customer base and keeping up with the digital restaurant evolution.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • The Restaurant Chain is Tied Together - Meredith Sandland has played an influential role in the restaurant industry over the years. As she continues to help others grow their business, she understands that every part of a restaurant works in concert with the other.
  • No Amount of Discounting Will Overcome Friction - Like any business, working in the hospitality space has its challenges. With one of the main challenges being transitioning patrons to become loyal customers, Meredith Sandland implores owners to create efficient and sustainable systems instead of simply supplying discounts and passive marketing strategies.
  • Delivering the Digital Restaurant Follow-Up - Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn are following up their wildly successful book, Delivering the Digital Restaurant, with a second iteration. Delivering the Digital Restaurant: The Path to Digital Maturity gets down to the nuts and bolts of what restaurateurs should be doing and when they should be doing it.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Meredith Sandland, CEO of Empower Delivery, is one of those special people with a knack for creating positive change.

The CEO and co-author of Delivering the Digital Restaurant: The Path to Digital Maturity is an innovative problem solver in the emerging digital restaurant revolution.

Empower Delivery is a digitally native holistic software that powers delivery-centric kitchens.

"What folks in the delivery world have been trying to do is kludge together software that is really good software, it just wasn't meant for specifically solving the off-premise delivery problem. And because Empower Delivery was designed to do that, it works very well for that purpose." Meredith Sandland explains to Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

Meredith Sandland very successful track record at companies that include Yum! Brands and Kitchen United. She collaborated with fellow digital restaurant expert Carl Orsbourn to write the book Delivering the Digital Restaurant in 2021. Their 2023 follow-up digs deeper into what it takes for a restaurateur to survive and thrive in the modern economy.

"The second book is a little bit more about what specifically as a restaurateur, should you be doing and in what order do you do it."

As the restaurant business becomes more reliant on technology, leaders like Meredith Sandland are the connectors between the present and the future.

"Labor costs are getting very high." she says. "And I don't mean to scare people and say, automation is going to take jobs inside of the restaurant industry. What I mean to say is it's going to make the jobs that remain… they're more productive, happier, focused on the things that only humans can do."

As a former guest on the Digital Hospitality podcast (also hosted by Shawn Walchef), Meredith Sandland understands that humans working productively together with artificial intelligence is the way of an efficient restaurant of the future.

There is some work that computers cannot do as well as a human being. The key is to figure out how to use AI for its intended purposes and continue to create a space where hospitality and customer care is the focus.

"The drivers are also happier because the drivers are making more money than they do on the third parties. I mean, win, win, win. Right?"

In the emerging delivery-centric restaurant economy The Path to Digital Maturity is important for all to learn.

"No amount of discounting will ever overcome friction." she explains. "If your system sucks and it's hard, they're not going to come back. You have to make it as easy as ordering on the third party or they are not going to switch to your first-party system."



Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

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Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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