PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, N.Y., announced the launch of PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab, a first-of-its-kind suite of capabilities built to connect foodservice operators with the companies, services, insights, and solutions best-suited for their specific digital and online needs. Digital Label is powered by extensive proprietary and syndicated research into restaurant and food ordering interactions as part of the consumer digital journey, the company says.

"The digital age has disrupted everything — including the way people order, eat and experience food and beverages," said Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foodservice, in a statement. "PepsiCo is helping our customers stay ahead of the curve in regard to understanding the latest technology and consumer trends impacting the foodservice industry. With the customer-focused Digital Lab, we created a one-stop service for operators to access the resources and knowledge needed to drive a better consumer experience and impactful business results in the digital era."

Technology has impacted every aspect of the dining and vending experience, leaving many foodservice operators seeking more information about how they can best use it to their advantage. In fact, a recent survey of foodservice operators found that nearly half (47 percent) felt unsure about the longevity of emerging technology and whether it's here to stay. Still, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say they plan to upgrade their foodservice tech in some ways in 2019, but many expressed frustration about the time and energy needed to research and onboard the best solutions for their business, the company says.

As an industry leader with an extensive portfolio and global reach, PepsiCo has knowledge that spans the entire food and beverage landscape and is bringing all of these insights together to address pain points and create a seamless operator experience that in turn will benefit consumers, it states. Using a mixture of human and tech-driven touch points, the Digital Lab will teach operators how to identify and deploy technology solutions that benefit their business through four elements: 

  • Digital Insights: Using proprietary and partner inputs, PepsiCo will share unique insights with its customers, including the digital habits of their target demographics.
  • Digital Playbooks: The Lab will provide operators with comprehensive solutions to make digital tools approachable, achievable, and effective for businesses of any size — from the small pizza place on the corner to global quick serve food chains.
  • Digital Activation: PepsiCo will partner with operators to optimize the execution and activation of digital solutions such as online ordering and delivery platforms to increase beverage and snack sales.
  • Digital Innovation: Tapping into tools like voice, augmented reality, and machine learning, PepsiCo will experiment with the latest digital innovations and build into practice through customers' platforms.

From managing online reviews and search engine results to implementing point-of-sale tools and consumer rewards programs, the Digital Lab will help operators maximize the most critical aspects of their digital footprint, the company says. Thanks to the ongoing commitment to consumer-focused digital insights and a bias for testing and learning, the Digital Lab is equipped to offer tailored resources for operators of all sizes.

To help inform the Lab, PepsiCo Foodservice worked with key customers and partners, such as Grubhub, to identify and remedy friction points restaurants experience when fulfilling online ordering and delivery for beverages and snacks. Additionally, the Digital Lab teamed with loyalty and digital consumer engagement providers, such as Mobivity, to find opportunities to improve incremental occasions for brands and deliver personalized experiences that delight consumers.

"Collaborating with the PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab allows us to test creative solutions that ultimately help reach diners and increase average order size for our restaurant partners," said Goody Seif, senior director of business development at Grubhub, in a statement. "The insights already gained have identified new opportunities to ensure beverages are top of mind for orders on our platform, and we're continuing to collaborate on ways Grubhub and Pepsi can work together on co-branded incentives moving forward."