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Rise Above Zume's Fall: 4 Lessons Every Restaurant Should Embrace
Prasad Vemulapalli | July 06, 2023

If you are in the restaurant business, you might be familiar with the Zume tragedy. Well, even if you are not, here’s what happened. Not long ago, the company that was running an automated food delivery business and handling food packaging and delivery logistics was shut down, creating an uproar in the industry. 

What Went Wrong with Zume? 

So, to understand the Zume story, let’s briefly discuss the company’s area of work. Zume Inc. was an American manufacturing tech-based company founded in 2015 as Zume Pizza. The company started as an automated production and delivery pizzeria where pizzas were largely made by robots.
It was in September 2016 that the company delivered its first pizza orders. These were cooked en route in a van equipped with high-tech ovens and perfectly timed to be ready before the delivery.
Zume had secured a patent on its novel cooking strategy. Gradually, it started partnering with other businesses to include more robot-prepared meals in its menu. However, over time, the idea started dying as customers complained about the quality of pizzas baked in a moving vehicle.
In 2018, it started focusing on automated production and food packaging for other companies. By 2020, Zume was manufacturing compostable food packaging, but it all took an unfortunate turn, with the company shutting down this year. 

Lessons To Be Learnt From Zume’s Sudden Closure
What didn’t go well with Zume’s business could be the fate of any restaurant if it isn’t reviewed on time. Here are a few practices that can prevent you from falling into similar self-created traps. 

1. Focus on one thing at a time

Just like too many cooks spoil the broth, trying to expand in too many ways at a time could take away focus. Experts highlight the need to focus on one product first, especially if you have a startup. This could keep distractions at bay and allow your team to concentrate on the best possibilities for the execution of a certain idea. 
As Zume was busy reinventing both food making and delivery, both requiring heavy-duty management of operations, it probably complicated things. Moreover, introducing a newly designed truck delivery mechanism with a built-in oven added further responsibilities, requiring more time and capital investment. 
Today, some services can help you handle multiple operations from a single point. With sites like OrderEm, you can flawlessly manage your restaurant and all orders in real-time. The digital platform allows you to build online management solutions for your business. It ensures easy tracking and management of your orders while ensuring timely deliveries and a clarified after-sales experience. 

2. Abstain from creating custom-designed services without appropriate backing

Dedication of time, capital investment, and staff support are essential to running a successful business. However, if you falter in any of these aspects, it will likely impact your business in the long term.
Well, if you are wondering why we are discussing this here, it is because Zume had launched its custom-built delivery fleet, where the company boasted of cooking food in the vehicle used for delivery. This was an expensive thing to do as they not only cooked but also tried delivering the food fresh to the customer’s doorstep, which could have been managed by other companies. Services such as OrderEm have an exclusive delivery management system that can help you manage all your deliveries with ease. 

On-time delivery is a major factor, especially if your restaurant delivers food to doorsteps. It drives customer satisfaction and also influences repeat sales. With such an app, you can focus more on improving the quality of food, enhancing customer relationships, and other aspects that need attention for the enhancement of your restaurant. A delivery app can make planning easier by enabling you to execute all your deliveries from a central dashboard.  

3. Better not to digress much from the core business 

Zume had spent a million dollars to establish its automation and delivery business. But the company’s all-together new initiative of sustainable packaging was more capital oriented. While it had developed an intriguing delivery platform along with its food automation, including packaging went too far, as this in itself was a capital-intensive business. Without a centralized system, it is challenging to manage too many verticals, especially when they are diverse.  
If you plan to expand your restaurant business with other initiatives or cross-sell products, an easy-to-use POS could help. With POS software, you can unify sales and simultaneously track inventories hassle-free, be it your restaurant, online orders, or kiosk. 

4. Develop your brand and outsource technology management

Building a consumer brand requires a commitment of time and capital. As a restaurant, if your capital investment is siphoned into technology, it is bound to impact your core business. That has been the trend with most start-ups, although there have been a few exceptions. Companies such as Zume had directed most of their capital into developing their technology, taking focus away from their core business. 
A restaurant business needs to be consumer-facing. Hence, spending more time and capital in that area will ensure the sustainability of your business. The back-end technology support can be outsourced to companies with the required expertise and experience.
Platforms like OrderEm can build your website, custom design a mobile app, and help manage your overall business initiatives with their high-tech support, all from a centralized niche. Also, if you plan to launch a service that offers customers a quick and easy ordering experience, check out the possibility of a self-service kiosk for your business. 
Even if you think you have the tech know-how, it is important to prioritize your primary business. So, if it is a restaurant, allow yourself and your team to spend time developing your brand, and you can trust the techies to handle the technology platform.  

Things You Can Do To Revive Your Restaurant Business

Streamline Your Business Processes

Your restaurant’s overall operations can add to the data load, and spending time reconciling all that information yourself might remove your focus from the core business. Instead, installing a one-point streamlined solution where you can handle restaurant orders, delivery, and to-go orders, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and inventory can come to your rescue. 

Platforms like OrderEm can ensure that your restaurant business is geared towards optimizing the customer experience. This will help manage your supplies and design new initiatives to maximize profitability. 

Use Data To Monitor Changes In Business Flow

Any business needs to identify and address changes in its business flow to ensure growth. With a platform that can manage data on your orders, customer visits, and revenue, you can focus on improving your marketing efforts and also address the necessary changes in business flow.  

Identify Lost Revenue Opportunities 

Knowing your customer's behavior is integral to capitalizing on marketing tactics. If you can tap into the lost revenue opportunities, it can help you make increasingly impactful decisions for your business. A centralized platform can enable you to conveniently access all information on returning customers. It also provides the scope of profitability, efficient operations, and opportunities. 

Concluding Thoughts

Not just Zume but restaurants like Wonder have also dumped futuristic food truck ideas to adapt to economic operating models. And many such start-ups may have gone through similar experiences. If you have the blueprint of your restaurant ready for launch or want smooth management of your existing business on a single platform, check out OrderEm immediately!

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