Savvy restaurant operators know the importance of the role played by technology in adapting the industry to new and long-running trends. But has your technology evolved to meet the challenge? Are your systems working together, and also creating revenue for your business? When it comes to restaurant technology, it’s crucial to make strategic investments focused on a higher return on investment and that will last year’s new challenges as well as prepare for the seasons to come. Let’s deep dive into the technologies that your restaurant should consider investing in this year.
Reshaping Digital Ordering Channels for a Profitable Future
The pandemic has put a spotlight on the ordering experience like never before. Restaurants quickly discovered the importance of implementing digital ordering solutions in order to keep serving guests and keep their doors open. From online ordering via a website or a mobile app to self-service and text ordering, here’s what’s happening in the industry both on- and off-premises:
No Contact, No Problem: The shift to a no-contact experience has made digital ordering the industry norm, and you can expect it to stay this way. Branded ordering mobile apps, restaurant websites and tap-to-pay payment processing solutions give guests extra confidence and security when they dine at your restaurant. It’s important to put the consumer in the driver’s seat when they dine-in.
Text to Order: The restaurant industry has seen a shift to text ordering, also known as text-to-order. This easy-to-implement solution allows diners to place orders faster than ever and gives restaurants a way to interact directly with their customers and drive orders like never before. This allows staff to focus on a quality product and minimizes order errors since they aren’t taking orders via phone.
The Dash to Delivery: With a focus on digital ordering channels, delivery is key to keep up with new customer preferences. Whether you’re organizing delivery operations in-house or using third-party services, having delivery as an option will keep guests coming back.
Redefining Restaurant Marketing for Success
Delivering a great guest experience is the real crux of the restaurant business. Face-to-face interaction isn’t the only way to deliver on the promise of your restaurant, nor should it be. You may have put in place the digital channels needed to streamline operations, but are those solutions integrated in a way that captures your customer’s data?
You must nurture relationships with guests thoughtfully, meaning you need top-of-the-line, digital marketing solutions to turn one-time diners into loyal customers. Investing in solutions that combine marketing outreach with other customer engagement tools enables sending targeted messages and offers at the right time. Plus, this gives customers a personalized experience that connects them with your brand and increases loyalty. For example, customers who sign up for offers through text marketing are more invested in your brand, meaning they want to hear from you. You can push out promotional messages with exclusive offers that encourage repeat business. Use tech advancements to your advantage, and you’ll surely reap the benefits when it comes to your marketing efforts.
Outdated POS systems support limited interaction with customers that walk through your door and only work for single locations (a no-no for multi-unit operators, i.e., chains and franchises). Such products won’t collect data on new customers from other ordering channels to help transform them into repeat customers. Plus, a POS can’t manage your rewards, loyalty, and marketing efforts effectively if they aren’t connected. If each product lives on an island with limited integration, it can’t centralize customer data. You’re left investing dollars with little chance of reaping the rewards.
Instead, the solutions you invest in must connect your ordering, customer loyalty, and marketing solutions. With your customer loyalty program, digital ordering channels and marketing tools housed in one system through a solution like a restaurant management system, you access unparalleled insights to drive repeat sales.
Build a Modern Restaurant Backed by Digital Transformation
Today, restaurants need to continuously evolve to cater to consumers’ changing preferences. Equipping restaurants with comprehensive technology solutions allow businesses to offer the unique, digital ordering channels and personalization features that customers desire. These solutions allow restaurateurs to collect data to help personalize the customer experience to delight again and again.
Aside from the above examples, restaurant owners can expect to see no-contact solutions continue to expand with examples like curbside pick-up solutions, line-busting tablets at drive-thrus, text ordering, voice ordering, and no-contact payments as the standard. As the industry continues to shift, restaurateurs need to stay ahead when it comes to digital ordering and digital marketing solutions to best serve their customers.
To have a winning restaurant in today’s digital world, you need digital ordering and digital marketing solutions that work for you from the front-of-house to the back-of-house, and from on-premises to off-premises. Versatility and scalability are key when considering what options will allow a restaurant to offer a memorable guest experience in a crowded competitive field.
Francois Wolf serves as Chief Marketing Officer for HungerRush. Francois has extensive experience leading and growing restaurant technology marketing organizations to drive growth.