Restaurants have evolved over time, the principle is still the same, we visit them to fulfil our social needs, whether its a family get together, meeting up with friends, teammates, or colleagues, date nights or business interests for a bite to eat or over a drink – if your restaurant isn’t keeping up with the ever-evolving times we live in then you could find yourself struggling to keep up with the competition.
Moving forward it is imperative that each and every restaurant invests in future-proofing their business offering – we are all very used to take-aways and deliveries but in the modern world we live in you must look at enhancing your in-house dining experience whilst simultaneously increasing your presence in other channels.
If you haven’t already invested in or considered a POS system, self-ordering kiosk, table ordering solution or an online ordering system you are potentially at risk of fading into the background because your competitors would have implemented any one or all of the above to enhance their food service offering – these tools are consuming societies focus, the need for easier ordering, health and safety, speed and the environment and design are all elements that many potential customers will research before deciding where to eat.
Future-proofing your restaurant will give you a much stronger chance of surviving in a competitive and evolving market.
Digital solutions are proving to be an absolute must for restaurant owners, state of the art technologies increase profits and boost customer satisfaction at the same time! These systems offer a seamless, personalised customer experience that will keep your customers coming back time and time again. Investing in digital solutions for your restaurant gives your staff more time to create a hospitable environment and spend more time looking after your customer’s needs. Offering an iPad on tables for ordering allows people to choose what they want at their own pace, no rushing to make a decision, this solution gives you the opportunity to expose your customers to beautiful images of your dishes, explain what the exact ingredients are and gives them the opportunity to change their order based on their dietary requirements.
Implementing digital solutions allows your restaurant to become entirely focused on the customer and their needs and takes away the ‘pressure’ element when it comes to ordering and spending time with waiting staff.
Another area that has grown significantly is the offering of personalised loyalty programmes, again, these programmes are a positive step to enticing your customer back through the door time after time! Creating an app or card system with your customer’s favourite dishes, special offers, discounts or promoting new and delicious additions to the menu only proves to be a win-win situation and ultimately increases your bottom line.
Ah, the trusted mobile phone – not just a phone anymore, they are very clever little devices these days you know!!! Employing a POS system that integrates with a third-party ordering app for your take-away and delivery services free’s up your staff’s time, meaning they can busy their time with completing and getting orders out the door quicker as they aren’t held up on endless calls taking orders and payments. Mobile technology has been a huge advantage for the foodservice industry – it has given people the opportunity to order online, book a table for eat-in and find your establishment through search – it is down to you though to ensure potential customers can find you and that you are offering them the opportunity to easily manage their books/orders online.
The omnichannel experience
By now ‘omnichannel’ should be a term that we are all used to and should be a part of your business strategy, its a way of creating a unified experience between online and in-store operations. If you ask any one of your customers that walk through the door how they found you or why they decided to visit your restaurant they will say any one or more of the following:
- We found you online and checked your reviews
- We found you through a third-party app
- We had a look at your website and your menu online
- You came up on a local search
- We found you on Facebook
- We saw your post on Instagram/Facebook
- We saw our friend post that they were here
Your potential customers these days will generally use multiple channels when trying to find the right restaurant. By creating a seamless customer experience from online to in-restaurant via a smooth ordering, booking or payment platform you will be covering the entire customer journey – your job is to then concentrate on your brand and the experience that comes with it.
Creating a base of loyal customers.
This goes hand in hand with your omnichannel experience above, loyal customers can be gained by giving them exposure to your story, your journey and the overall experience you provide. An engaging brand story that reflects in real life means your customers are more likely to recommend your brand to family and friends when compared to those that don’t! Rewarding customers for repeat business, knowing their names and favourite meals all go a long way in providing a service that stands out from your competitors. Restaurants that provide an ‘immersive’ experience will also send good grounds for a successful future – think, interactive food studios, endless tasting menus, themed evenings, visible kitchens etc etc.
Data is absolutely essential when it comes to future-proofing your business. As digital technology grows it gives you the opportunity to collect data and information about your customers, tracking who your customers are and what they want gives you insights into how to create offers and marketing content to engage and encourage them to return to your restaurant and recommend your business to others.
We love to see how the industry is evolving and we love working with clients to develop new and exciting ways to ensure their restaurant is a cut above the rest. Keeping focused on your main goal is everything and your restaurant design should allow you to thrive, not just for the next year or two but for the foreseeable.