A restaurant with an omnichannel strategy will consider its product from the customer’s point of view.

Today’s consumers want to get what they want, how they want, when they want to get it. This consumer demand, coupled with the post-pandemic economy and labor shortage, is driving the latest trend in restaurant innovation—omnichannel dining.

Omnichannel refers to the various ways through which customers can buy a product. An omnichannel business model will recognize all the different modes, or “channels,” which customers can engage with and purchase goods. In the case of restaurants, it means providing multiple avenues through which customers can order, pay for, and receive their meals while ensuring a consistent experience.

According to research from McKinsey & Company, “an omnichannel transformation is the only way for a company to address rising complexity, provide an excellent customer experience, and manage operations costs.”

Because today’s guests want to get their food in a multitude of ways, restaurants need technology that delivers a consistent consumer experience whether guests want to eat in, order online and pick up in restaurant or curbside, or get the food delivered.

Benefits of an Omnichannel Strategy

By maximizing the number of touchpoints consumers can use to access your restaurant, you increase your potential customer base and simultaneously create personalized guest experiences that lead to additional revenue generation.

With customers demanding convenience in every aspect of their ordering experience, it’s up to restaurant operators to create a consistent customer experience both online and in-store for dine-in, pick-up, and takeout across multiple devices.

Now you may be wondering, how can my restaurant leverage technology to take advantage of omnichannel dining, and what are the benefits of doing so? The benefits of adopting an omnichannel strategy are threefold.

First, omnichannel dining allows you to reach a more extensive consumer base. In the omnichannel model, the customer journey begins when the customer decides they are in the mood for food. From there, they can interact with your restaurant in various ways, be it by scrolling social media, browsing restaurants online, using a third-party app, or even driving to your physical restaurant location.

According to a study from Google Research, 98 percent of Americans switch between devices in the same day. What’s more, research from Zendesk shows that 67 percent of online shoppers have made purchases in the past six months that have involved multiple channels. Therefore, the more channels your restaurant uses to reach consumers, the larger your customer base will be at any given time.

Second, implementing an omnichannel strategy allows your restaurant to create additional revenue streams. Research from Omnisend shows that marketers using three or more channels in any one campaign earned a 287 percent higher purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign. In other words, the more avenues you have for customers to interact with your restaurant, the more revenue you have the potential to earn.

For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants focused their efforts on implementing delivery services as an additional way to meet customers and generate revenue. According to Gallino, 75 percent of coffee shops that added channels during the pandemic implemented alternative ordering and delivery options.

Finally, implementing an omnichannel strategy improves the customer experience. Not only did implementing an omnichannel strategy allow restaurants to connect with consumers through shutdowns and social distancing measures, but it also enabled restaurants to create more personalized experiences through data collection.

A restaurant with an omnichannel strategy will consider its product from the customer’s point of view. For example, it will consider how the customer found their restaurant, through which platforms they tend to order food, and how customer demographics differ across different service channels. By investing in technologies that help collect comprehensive customer analytics data, you can improve your ability to create a continuous customer experience.

Value of Technology

Of course, a prerequisite to implementing a successful omnichannel dining strategy is using the appropriate self-ordering technology. GRUBBRR CEO Sam Zietz says, “Restaurants have been notorious laggards when it comes to embracing automation. The pandemic made it clear that the restaurants with automation are most poised to stay open because they meet consumers where they’re at—where they want to order.”

The value of implementing self-ordering technology is threefold. Self-ordering kiosks increase revenue through customized upsells and increased average ticket size. In addition, kiosks reduce operating costs by decreasing the dependency on labor (eliminating cashier positions saves on labor costs) and improve the customer experience by minimizing or eliminating lines and improving order accuracy.

Zietz explains that even something as simple as implementing online ordering or integrating with third-party delivery services can significantly boost business. “Consumers spend on average 12–20 percent more when they order with their eyes and with touch from a self-ordering device …” This is because self-ordering software is designed to customize upsells throughout the order journey.

Restaurants and other establishments that have embraced omnichannel solutions have fared better throughout the pandemic. Brands with omnichannel are most poised to stay open because they meet consumers where they’re at—where they want to order.

Victoria Avery is the Communications Specialist for GRUBBRR, the emerging leader in self-ordering technology. Prior to GRUBBRR, Victoria graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Creative Writing. Victoria’s specialties include: marketing writing, advertising, PR, and journalism.

Expert Takes, Feature, Technology