GoTo Foods is Food On Demand’s next Outstanding Operator. 

The multi-brand platform is being recognized for implementing strategies to best manage and grow the off-premises side of each of its seven brands, while building and integrating technologies to streamline operations. 

GoTo Foods (formerly known as Focus Brands) rebranded in February. The rebrand served as a means to scale existing brands and acquire new ones. At present, GoTo Foods is the parent company of McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Jamba and Carvel. In total, the company operates more than 6,700 units worldwide. 

Ryan Heck, Sr. Director of Revenue Management & Off-Premise at GoTo Foods says the company’s operational approach is tailored to each brand, to fit their unique needs and personality.

For example, Cinnabon is located within a malltherefore Heck says an operational focus there is seamless pickup for delivery drivers. 

“It can be a little bit of a navigational challenge to know where to find that location in a mall, so we’ve done some special things to help optimize that and get that driver wait time down, so our guests aren’t waiting as long,” he said.

Tech-heavy focus

GoTo Foods taps several technologies including Qu as its single POS provider. This enables better management across all brands. Qu combines native solutions that integrate with delivery, catering providers, online ordering, digital menu boards and more, all from a single menu database. 

In addition, Heck adds that GoTo’s loyalty and CRM tech is being built in-house, utilizing their own data. This includes the roll-out of an AI-powered offer engine that provides suggestive selling capabilities. 

Heck says the suggestive selling is more than just suggesting a drink add-on to your sandwich, rather “It’s looking to see what people are purchasing and making sure that we’re providing the right recommendation for each consumer based on that historical data.” 

Ryan Heck, sr. director of revenue management & off-premise at GoTo Foods

The company continues to see steady growth in delivery for its brands, coupled with a healthy mix of first-party and third-party orders.

First-party remains an important growth funnel for the platform as “it gives the ability to communicate and build a relationship with those customers and reward them for their loyalty,” said Heck. 

“We are currently in the process of overhauling our entire first-party digital experience for each of our brands, to make that as seamless and stress-free as possible for our customers.”

All-in on catering

The platform is also laser-focused on continuing to grow its catering footprint. Heck highlights the success of catering, especially for Moe’s and McAlister’s with corporate events and social occasions. He also points out the expansion of catering now into different dayparts. 

Moe’s Southwest Grill catering taco bar

Moe’s Southwest Grill catering taco bar

This includes catering packages such as French Toast bars from Macalister’s, build-your-own taco bar from Moe’s, and individually packed lunches at Schlotzsky’s that can serve up to 1,000 people—to name a few. 

In 2024 Heck says GoTo Foods will continue to look at catering technology to make it easier and more accessible to order items and keep different customers engaged with our brands. 

The Outstanding Operators Program is highlighting 20 innovative brands taking creative paths to success with all things off-premises. Winners receive a $1000 charitable donation to the organization of choice and will be recognized on-stage at the 2024 Food On Demand Conference. Register today!

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