“New year, new me.” Many people see Jan. 1 as a natural fresh start for their goals and endeavors, and many businesses do as well. This year, the new year is also the start of a new decade. While a completely fresh start is not always easy or even feasible for many restaurant businesses, this may still be the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your restaurant’s technology usage.
Here are five tips to ensure that your restaurant business is confidently equipped to grow through technology over the next ten years:
1. Digitize Your Loyalty Programs
Your restaurant may already have a loyalty program that rewards repeat visitors with points or freebies, but if it’s still employing punch cards to keep track of points, it may be leaving money on the table. Many successful chains, such as Starbucks have used custom rewards apps to increase their profits significantly. This doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive for your business if you use turnkey digital loyalty program solutions that can be easily branded for your restaurant.
2. Diversify Delivery Options
Online food ordering is a $210 billion industry. In addition to offering phone orders, your restaurant’s web presence can offer your customers an online order form for both desktop and mobile, or even have your own ordering app developed. You can also investigate the various third-party companies such as Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash that allow your customers to order through their apps.
3. Update Your Point of Sale Software
The cutting edge of restaurant point-of-sale software integrates the entire customer journey for your business—handling inventory management and back-office applications, processing orders from both digital and analog channels, and even integrating your loyalty program. Robust reporting and data analysis capabilities will let you learn more about your customers’ behavior and preferences. Learn more about POS software and how it can help you grow your restaurant business strategically.
4. Engage Online Proactively
Gone are the days when restaurants could afford to passively collect online reviews and hope for the best. In the coming new decade, actively engaging your social media following should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy. Use social listening tools to discover conversations your customers are having about your restaurant, respond quickly to any concerns, and regularly offer perks, deals, and rewards exclusively for them.
5. Modernize the In-Restaurant Experience
Update your customers’ experiences in your restaurant by making use of ordering kiosks and self-serve technologies. You can also revamp the lighting, seating, and decor, keeping in mind how photos of its interior may look on Instagram and other visual social platforms.
Technology: An Important Ingredient
In the last decade, the foodservice and restaurant industry saw technology taking a more significant role in its operation and growth. In the next decade, that can only continue, and with just a few strategic changes, your business can stay ahead of the curve.