The first location of Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken (Rise, for short) opened in Durham, North Carolina in 2012 with a mission to serve high quality food made with premium ingredients—all while making breakfast fun again. Since its successful launch in 2012, the brand quickly grew to 16 locations with plans to open an additional 15 locations throughout Tennessee over the next five years.
The quick service restaurant (QSR) concept continues to rise above their competition by complementing their southern-style biscuits, chicken sandwiches and donuts with a technology-first approach to operations—including a waitstaff-free concept powered by Revel’s self-service kiosks. According to Rise founder Tom Ferguson, this technology investment was one of many Revel-supported solutions that helped pandemic-proof their business model.
"Our goal was to get as automated as possible in our realm, and that meant embracing as much technology as we could," explained Ken Priest, chief financial officer and co-owner of Rise. “For example, Revel offered an integrated kitchen display system (KDS) in addition to the POS, which was a crucial consideration.”
Although business partners Tom and Ken could not have anticipated that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic would require them to close on-premise dining, they felt like Revel’s digital-first approach added a layer of built-in resiliency to their restaurant concept. Self-service kiosks and native online ordering helped Rise meet today’s growing customer demands.
With Revel’s cloud-based POS platform in place, the Rise team was eager to put the technology to work. A common practice for the chain is to test new technology at Rise’s corporate-operated stores, so in 2015 they deployed a single self-service kiosk in addition to their two existing cash registers at these locations.
Adoption steadily increased, and in 2018 Revel’s self-service kiosks and third-party online orders accounted for 80 percent of all customer orders at some Rise locations. Their team found it difficult to justify two registers to support only 20 percent of orders, so they made the data-driven decision to remove a register. This proved to be even more profitable, and the Rise team has since mandated that self-service kiosks sit on prime front-counter real estate at all locations. When COVID-19 shifted customer preferences towards contactless means of ordering, these prominent self-service kiosks made it easier to maintain a safe social distance at Rise locations.
In addition to self-service kiosks, Rise appreciates Revel’s fully integrated kitchen display system (KDS). According to Ken, automatic syncing of orders between the Revel POS and KDS “increased efficiency in the kitchen tremendously.” Rise also utilizes Online Ordering XT—Revel’s native online ordering solution—and recently added a customer loyalty and digital gift card program.
"That is one of the attractions of using all of Revel’s services; everything talks together."Ken Priest, Chief Financial Officer and Co-Owner, Rise
Just four weeks after the effects of COVID-19 became clear, sales at Rise locations recovered to pre-pandemic numbers thanks in part to Revel’s contact-free and off-premise solutions. As the Rise team continues to look forward and pursue additional technology-driven innovations—like their new heated locker system—Tom reports that selecting Revel has been well worth the investment as profits and number of locations continue to rise.