Running a restaurant isn’t easy.
Running a restaurant empire is even more challenging.
While in the past, restaurant owner/operators had to worry about providing customers with great food and awesome service among other operational challenges, technology is quickly becoming an integral part of the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Are you ready?
As millennials become the largest group of consumers worldwide, studies show that this group of individuals are eating out now more than ever. 49% of millennials admit to eating out once a week while another 36% say they get takeaway and delivery weekly… and that doesn’t even factor in the other generations.
With so many opportunities to utilize technology and take advantage of these increasing restaurant sales, we’ve put together a checklist to make sure you’re covered in 2017:
✓ Online Presence – Web & Social Media
With so many options available, consumers want to know the restaurant they choose will meet their expectations and provide them with the experience they are looking for before they set foot in the door. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, 88% of adults check restaurant menus and reviews online before purchasing.
Imagine the customers you’re missing out on if they can’t find you online!
With today’s technology, setting up an online presence is easier than ever. Websites such as Wix, WordPress and Squarespace provide plug-and-play solutions that make it easy to show your brand and menu online.
Aside from building a company website, making sure your restaurant and hospitality group is active on social media is also critical to expanding your reach and catching the eye of new customers.
Not only does social media allow you to engage with your customers outside of the restaurant, but it also can help you catch the eye of foodies and bloggers.
In 2017, food guides and bloggers have a bigger influence over the restaurant and hospitality industry than ever before. With instant information at the fingertips of every consumer with a smartphone, bloggers can impact customer’s restaurant choices with the click of a button or a post of a picture.
Instagram accounts such as @SydneyFoodCrew, @IeatMelbourne, and @Annapolyviou are leading the way in Australia and were recognized as a few of the top accounts to follow by The Weekly Review in 2016. Each account is filled with beautifully displayed pictures from some of Australia’s most unique restaurants, which is seen by thousands of consumers daily.
While these bloggers and influencers provide authentic reviews of foods that they’ve tried and loved, don’t be afraid to reach out to send a genuine and personal invitation to the owners of influential Instagram accounts in your area. If you pride yourself on customer experience and unique menu options, this could be a great outlet to spread the word to new customers.
✓ Loyalty / Rewards Programs
With many loyalty and rewards programs to choose from, there is no excuse for you to miss out on an opportunity to connect with their customers. Companies such as Belly and Punchh help you to create loyalty programs customised around your restaurant or hospitality group. Many of these companies provide actionable data to help improve your loyalty programs and increase customer engagement every day.
With so many new restaurants opening, these companies realize that increasing sales means not only gaining new customers but retaining the customers you already have. In the words of Bellycard.com, “Loyal consumers buy 90% more often, spend 60% more per transaction and are five times more likely to return to your business.”
What actions are you taking to take advantage of these statistics within your own business?
✓ Online and Mobile Ordering System
Online and mobile ordering is more important for the restaurant and hospitality industry than ever. As some restaurants are seeing a 25% increase in their average order size from online business, industry reports suggest that mobile ordering will be a $38 billion industry by 2020.
So, how can you take advantage of these online orders?
While there are many ways to integrate online and mobile ordering with your restaurant or hospitality business, branded solutions such as our very own Mobi2Go and aggregator sites such as MenuLog provide you with two options for getting your business started online.
Using a branded solution, such as the one Mobi2Go, allows you to host a customised online and mobile ordering system on your own website. Designed to drive increased revenue, reduce in-store wait time, and improve overall customer experience, these customised systems integrate with your current brand and website while linking directly with your operation system.
While white-label solutions are an affordable way to host your customised ordering system, aggregator sites can be a great compliment to a branded solution and help drive new customers and traffic to your website.
✓ Delivery & Logistics
Although Pizza has dominated the food delivery industry over the past decade, everyone from high-end restaurants to grocery stores are delivering in 2017. Hospitality businesses are teaming up with third-party delivery services such as DeliveryHero and Deliveroo to cater to consumers at home. Even Amazon has thrown their hat in the ring offering fast food delivery in 1 hour or less to limited markets in the United States.
Restaurants who have partnered with third party delivery companies are not only seeing an increase in takeaway orders but are also able to outsource the time it takes to coordinate delivery logistics, drivers, and transportation.
While partnering with third party delivery companies is one option, you may prefer to keep your delivery services in house. If you’re thinking about taking this route, logistic management software such as GetSwift is a great solution.
Logistic software allows you to automatically dispatch orders to your delivery drivers while helping to increase customer loyalty with real-time tracking so hungry customers can watch the food that is on its way.
Here’s a recap of your restaurant technology checklist for 2017:
- Make sure you have an online presence! Creating a personalized website and staying active on social media can help retain your current customers while attracting new diners into your restaurant. Connecting with food bloggers is a great way to reach a larger audience.
- Loyalty and rewards programs offer you customised way to keep your customers coming back for more. Loyal consumers buy 90% more often so make sure you’re incentivizing your customers wisely!
- Online and mobile ordering systems can help increase your average order size by 25% while offering your staff with an easier workflow for your takeaway and delivery business.
- Work with a third party to easily reach customers by delivering straight to their door. With 36% of millennials admitting that they get takeaway or delivery weekly, you’ll be reaching a whole new market.