Restaurant tech supplier Olo is introducing a tiered system for integration partners that will change how vendors are presented and offer them more support from the company.
The basic idea behind Olo Connect is to help Olo’s integration partners—companies that have connected their apps to Olo’s—work better with its restaurant clients by giving them more resources. Olo provides online ordering, delivery integrations and payment services to more than 600 restaurant brands and integrates with more than 300 other tech companies.
Olo Connect is, in part, a new way of organizing those 300 companies. The program has four tiers—Developer, Silver, Gold and Platinum—that reflect a vendor’s qualifications. Membership is optional and comes with a fee.
New Olo partners start as Developers, which means they’ve had a security and privacy assessment and are in the process of integrating with Olo’s system.
The tiers scale up from there. Silver partners have between one and 99 restaurant locations using their technology. Gold partners have 100 to 4,999 locations, a 12-month tenure with Olo and proven brand satisfaction, which is measured by a vendor’s net promoter score (NPS). The platinum level is reserved for companies with 5,000 or more locations, 24 months with Olo and brand satisfaction.
The rankings can help restaurants decide which vendors to work with.
“We get a lot of questions from restaurants … ‘Can you recommend a partner?’” said Olo Chief Revenue Officer Diego Panama. Olo will remain neutral on that front, he said, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t be objective with kind of an integration scorecard.”
At the same time, Olo Connect offers a variety of benefits for tech partners. All members get direct access to Olo’s engineering team to help with integration, a listing in Olo’s partner directory and the ability to use Olo’s logo to promote the relationship.
They get additional perks as they move to higher tiers. Gold and Platinum members, for instance, get help from the Olo sales team in pitching their product to restaurants, a dedicated account manager and faster deployment times. Platinum members can attend the Olo Connect conference, where they can learn about industry trends and meet with restaurants.
“The higher you go into the tiers, the more time our team invests in the partnership,” Panama said.
To fund those investments, Olo will charge Connect members an ongoing fee. Panama declined to share what the fee is, but emphasized that the money will go directly into the program.
This kind of partner ecosystem is common in the tech industry, but Olo Connect could be a first for restaurant tech. By investing more in its partners, Olo hopes to ease one of the biggest headaches for modern restaurants: disparate tech systems that don’t work well together.
“This should make integrations better for restaurants, and also for the partners, because we can invest more in those partnerships and integrations,” Panama said.
Nonetheless, he said the industry still has a ways to go on integration. There are thousands of tech vendors, and that number will only increase in the years to come.
“It is a pain point, and that’s a big part of what we’re trying to address here,” he said.
Olo Connect’s initial members include self-service kiosk company Bite, online ordering provider Koala and loyalty service Thanx.
“Thanx is thrilled to be Olo's first Gold Olo Connect loyalty partner,” said Thanx founder and CEO Zach Goldstein in a statement. “We look forward to the additional exposure and support from Olo as we continue to broaden our customer base and provide innovative digital solutions at scale.”
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