Restaurant Apps

How Apps Can Streamline Your Restaurant Operations

Restaurant management and operations professionals have had to face an amazing amount of change in the past few years. Technology, though already a huge part of daily life, has flooded the restaurant industry and this is in direct response to an increase in consumer reliance on mobile devices, apps and electronics of all kinds. Unfortunately, though all of these gadgets and advances are meant to make the lives of restaurant management and operations easier, they can also be a bit overwhelming and confusing.

So, to help clarify the ways you can use these options for restaurant marketing and restaurant management and operations, we’ll look at the areas of restaurant operations that benefit the most from integrating them.


If there is one area of restaurant trends that never changes, it is the area that touches on customer experience. This always remains a key area of focus and interest, and if you are looking to use apps and tech in the most effective ways, then it is your customers’ experiences where you should start.

In fact, if you talk to restaurant marketing experts, they’ll all agree that technology has made it easier than ever to create and maintain customer loyalty in addition to earning you a lot of new customers, too. How? Well, look at one of the largest of all current restaurant trends – apps for online ordering.

It doesn’t matter if you are sit down or drive thru establishment, creating a digital menu and allowing customers to order online are fantastic forms of modern restaurant marketing. Not only can you instantly update for any seasonal changes or new items, but having it all run through an app ensures your audience gets word of your individual restaurant trends as soon as you want them to.

Remember, too that restaurant management and operations are constantly being encouraged to integrate “table based” ordering. This can use apps or tablets mounted to tables, and allow visitors to order appetizers while they decide, play games and pay their bill. They don’t replace good wait staff, but can offer diners evidence that you are up to speed and looking for ways to keep them happy.

Apps are also great for advance ordering and reservations. When properly synchronized, the use of online reservations can make your restaurant management and operations amazingly simple.

Points to Consider

When you are looking at apps and customer experience, keep in mind that you can easily integrate a lot of your restaurant marketing into them, as well. For instance, if you have a customer loyalty program, your app can make it easy to award them with each order. Using apps that allow reservations can help to maintain crowd sizes within the space, since the app can be used to notify patrons that it is better to book from outside.

You can also use what some are calling “in house hospitality” apps that do some of the same tasks – online ordering, loyalty points, and reservations – but they may do a lot more. For example, one report says this about them: “Customers can order drinks from the bar at poolside, receive news feeds and stock reports while dining and connect to an operation’s social media posts and home pages for information about specials, menu changes, nutrition facts and human interest stories.”

You may wonder if all of that is important, but just consider the era. We are entering the age of the “millenials” as well as the younger “Gen Z”. Both of these groups embrace technology to a level unseen in previous generations. Failing to leverage tech for these customers is missing out on one of the biggest opportunities in restaurant trends. Consider that millenials alone represent more than one-quarter of the population of the United States, that they are the first to spend less on groceries and more on dining out, and that they expect dining to be a social and connected event. Integrating apps into your day to day is an ideal form of restaurant marketing but also a way to streamline operations in the most beneficial ways.

Your Benefits

Now, taking up the latest restaurant trends for the sake of being trendy is never the wisest course of action, but if you do get on board with the reservation, ordering and in house hospitality apps, you enjoy some pretty profound benefits, too. Just consider:

  • Your service staff will have to make far fewer trips to and from the bar or kitchens
  • You are automatically apply team methodology to all of the service points – meaning efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • You have far more insight and management of the dining rooms, kitchen and online profile thanks to all of that real time data pouring in
  • All of that data also lets you personalize and customize each customer’s experiences thanks to order histories, reservation data, and so much more

Let’s look at those last two points just a bit more because they are so crucial. With data, you can often use the app software to generate reports ideal for enhanced marketing, to better facilitate ordering and supplies, to begin estimating your need for staffing and/or to adjust your approach to scheduling, and to track dishes or categories that are performing or underperforming.

The list of benefits from consumer-oriented apps for restaurants seems endless, but we have not even looked at the apps and technologies that can support such issues as better compliance (or at least easier compliance), food safety, communications with staff and employees, point of sale systems, and more advanced marketing. There are so many areas of restaurant management and operations that can be enhanced, streamlined and improved by embracing even the simplest technologies in the form of apps. Whether it is for customer experience or productivity, you really should take some time to explore your options.

Right now there are dozens upon dozens of apps ideal for restaurant professionals, most are geared toward a specific area of operations. Take the time today to check them out, and you might see operating costs reduced, earnings increased and operations streamlined quickly.

Restaurant Online Ordering for College Campus

5 Great Reasons to Deliver Food to College Campuses

It is almost a cultural cliché that college students are always starving and broke, so many restaurants ignore college campuses when they are looking outward for expansion of their delivery programs.  Believe it or not, college campuses represent some of the most concentrated markets for certain types of delivery food – and many restaurants find that delivering a limited menu to local college campuses can exponentially increase their order volume when college is in session. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to advertise your delivery options to a college campus near you, these five stats and tips might change your mind.

College Students are twice as likely to use Social Media as the General Population

When a college student has a great meal, or places an order for something to eat, they are more than twice as likely as the rest of your target market to go to their social media networks to place an update. Whether you are looking to expand your presence on Facebook (still the most commonly used social media network in the world) or upstarts like Foursquare and Yelp, college students will become your best friends if you can provide prompt and professional service.

Many college students even use social media as their primary “research” tool when they are making buying decisions – so a single review on the social media page of a well-liked college student can translate into dozens of orders for your company, or even your selection for catering projects and large institutional orders.  Of course, if you don’t deliver to your local college campus, you’ll never break into this close-knit social referral community.

Young People develop their buying/eating habits during college

According to the US News and World Report, up to a third of all college students will settle, work, and ultimately live in the city that they went to college in – and they will continue to frequent many of the same restaurants and establishments that they used during their college years. Your ability to cultivate a future audience for your restaurant is dependent on your ability to bring in college students – showing them the variety of cuisine that you offer, and guiding their tastes and their appreciation for fine dining.

This tip is particularly important if you are an “upper budget” restaurant that doesn’t typically do a lot of business with budget-conscious college students. It might be worth investing in a limited delivery menu that you advertise specifically for delivery to colleges – “hooking” college students on your food and your brand, and gradually upselling them to your fancier fine-dining options by the time they graduate and start working locally. For example, a fine Italian restaurant might consider offering pasta deliveries to college campuses during exam time as a great revenue-boosting marketing stunt.

College students might be broke… but their parents aren’t

While there are certainly exceptions, the average college student has parents that are 40% wealthier than the national average.  Aside from paying their children’s college loans and giving them money for textbooks and tuition, these parents also take an active interest in their young students’ lives – and they frequently visit campus for formal events and to check on their kids. When parents are in town, students always go out into the city for their meals – since they use their parents’ arrival as their chance to have a nice dinner without being on the hook for the bill.

When students are doing their research for a nice restaurant to take their parents to, their mobile devices will be the first place that they look.  A good advertising campaign on a local college campus, coupled with a delivery program that exposes a large number of students to your food, can put you out ahead of the competition when graduation and alumni events roll around and your restaurant fills up with parents and students.

College Students have Limited Mobility

Many a sports bar and casual dining restaurant has opened up within two or three miles of a college campus, only to be disappointed with the paltry in-restaurant crowds that they receive from the schools. No matter how perfectly priced and designed your menu is, you’ll have trouble filling the seats of your restaurant with college students because of their low mobility. Only a small percentage of college students have cars on campus – so they usually only go to restaurants that they can walk to. College students would much rather order their food online using their mobile devices or computers, and have the food delivered to campus where they can share it with their non-car-owning friends – all without having to take an hour or two out of their day to walk to a restaurant nearby. If you don’t offer delivery to your local college campuses, you’re missing out on as much as 70% of the potential orders that you could receive from students.

College Orders are Highly Seasonal

As every restaurant owner knows, it is far easier to adjust the scale of a delivery or take-out business than to adapt to seasonal demands for a large sit-down restaurant. Offering delivery to college campuses allows you to tap the high demand around exam time and during the school year, without leaving you on the hook for massive facility expenses and staff fees during the summer when the orders from the college campuses dry up. Many popular delivery-only restaurants hire the majority of their staffs from college campuses – allowing them to adjust their workforce and their order volume along with the return of the students in the fall.

The best times to offer delivery specials to college students are in the fall (during move-in, when college students are too busy with campus events and socializing to go out to restaurants) and during the very end of each semester, when meal plans start to run out and students are looking for alternatives to their food that they’ve been eating all year.

Tips for Marketing and Managing Your Food Truck Business

Food trucks are becoming very popular, and with good reason. People are getting tired of the same old types of fast food offerings out there, and they are craving something different, something tasty and unique. Food trucks have the capability to offer those things, and more. However, getting into the food truck business and being successful at it takes work and planning, particularly when it comes to marketing and management.

While it could be argued that this is the same with any restaurant, there are some different challenges that these owners will be facing. Let’s look at some of the best and most effective methods of ensuring a successful venture.

1. What Makes Your Food Truck Different?

Owning a food truck means you are in competition with every other food outlet out there. This includes other food trucks, fast food joints, delis, restaurants, and more. You need to have a good name for your business, a good logo, and you need to learn how to brand your business. Even more important, you need to think about what it is that makes your food truck different from all the other eateries out there. Whatever it is that makes you unique needs to be a major part of your marketing message. Often, it will be the type of food that you serve and any of your menu specialties.

It is a good idea to find a niche that helps to separate you from other food trucks in the area. Even if you might be serving some of the same types of food, you want to make sure that you have something special to offer. You might want to create gourmet food, exotic food, healthy food, or “the usual fare”. So long as you have a way to make your offerings unique, you can succeed.

2. Friendly Staff

One of the elements that your food truck needs is a good staff that is friendly to the customers. You want the staff, or yourself if you are working in the food truck, to be personable and to develop good relationships with the visitors. You will find that with a food truck, you will often have repeat customers, so it makes sense to always treat them as well as possible. If you don’t, you can be sure they will not keep coming back to your truck no matter how good your food might be.

Put a lot of effort into the hiring process for your food truck, and only hire those who you believe will bring the right energy and attitude to the job. Never simply hire someone because they have the basic prerequisites to do the job. You want to make sure that they are just as special as your food truck. Good service is something the customers will always appreciate, but you can be sure that bad service will cause them to let everyone they know just how bad the service was. This can hurt a food truck business greatly.

Some food trucks go all out. They utilize costumes and they give their food interesting and quirky names as a way to stand out. You could do this if you would like, but it is not necessary. If you treat the customers well, have great food, and fair prices, you will find that you can do well and build a loyal following.

3. You Still Need a Website

Even though you have a food truck, it does not mean you should forego a website. Good websites are critical to the success of any business today, and that certainly includes food trucks. You will use the website to post your location, or locations, throughout the week. You will also have your menu on the website, and more information about your company. Having some bios for all the employees can be nice, as well. It helps to put a name and some personality behind the faces that the customers see when they come to the food truck.

The website should be easy to navigate, and it should be easy to use from mobile devices. After all, many of the people who will be frequenting your food truck will be using their phones or tablets to learn more about you and what you offer. Make sure you can cater to those mobile users.

You can also use the website for SEO purposes, so you start to rank higher in the search engines when people are looking for food in the area. Putting a blog on your site and keeping it updated at least once a week will help with this, too. In addition, you will want to have links for all your social media outlets on your site, too. This way, people who visit the site can connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites you use.

If you have online ordering on your website, even better! This by itself will set you apart.

4. Social Media Is Your Best Friend

Food trucks need to be active on social media for a range of reasons. These sites are a fantastic and low cost way to market your business and to reach more people. Have fun on social sites, and be willing to engage the followers and fans that you have on those pages. You can use social media to spread your brand message, let people know your location, let them know about the specials of the day, changes to the menu, and more. You can also provide links to your blogs and to other places on the web that you find interesting and that you believe your customers will enjoy, as well.

Social media is a great way for you to develop the “personality” of your food truck. You can add photos, and even your menu. However, do not use social media in lieu of a website. Rather, you want to use them in conjunction with one another. If you have online ordering, you can let your customers know on social media to order ahead and save time!

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing can be just as effective for food trucks as it can for other types of businesses. Get people to sign up to your email list by offering them a discount when they buy something from your truck. This will give you permission to market to the customer with newsletters and emails. You do not want to inundate them with marketing emails, but you do want to let them know when there will be special events, for example. You can also send them offers through email, such as a two for one special if they bring a friend along with them. This helps to expand your brand and get sales. Email contests and customer surveys can work well through email, as well.

Just make sure that you provide the customer with an easy way of opting out of the emails if they no longer wish to receive them.

6. Create a Loyalty Program

If you would like to get more people to keep coming back to your food truck, starting a loyalty program is a perfect way to do it. These reward your customers for repeat visits. You might want to provide them with a punch card, which gets a notch each time they buy a meal from you. After ten meals on the punch card, they can get the eleventh one free.

A bounce back program can work well, too. With this type of program, you will reward the customer for returning within a certain timeframe. For example, if they buy one gourmet hotdog from you today, they get 10% off their next order from you if they return within three days.

Get to know the customers who keep coming back. They obviously love your food, and they can be some of your strongest allies. Provide them with even better rewards for returning, and for bringing along friends.

7. What Else Could You Offer for More Profit?

While most of your business will likely be through your food truck sales from day to day, consider some of the other ways that you could profit from your business. Consider offering catering for parties and for office meetings. This provides you with a new outlet for sales. In addition, consider offering gift cards for your food truck. These can sell well any time of the year, but they tend to sell especially well during the holidays. If you have created a distinct brand and flavor for your business, you could even think about selling merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, and aprons that have your name and logo on them.

8. Think Outside of the Box

When you are looking for ways to market, think outside of the box. You might want to consider promoting that, on a certain day, you will be giving a portion of your proceeds to a charity. It could be a national charity, or it might be a local charity, if you prefer. You can promote this through your social media, website and blog, and you can send out press releases to radio stations, television, and the local papers. It is a good way to give back and to get more attention for your food truck business.

Another way to get some attention for your business is to hold a contest. It could be a raffle or a giveaway, a game, a competition, or any other type of contest that you feel might fit your branding. Let people know about the contest well in advance, and make sure that the prizes are fun enough to get some attention. You will find that word of the contest can spread quickly if you have a robust social media presence.

9. Tips to Prevent Failure of Your Food Truck Business

Now that you have a better idea of what you need to do in terms of marketing and management, you need to make sure that you are prepared for times of trouble, as well. Hopefully, you will never have to go through these sorts of problems, but it is better to be prepared and to have solutions just in case.

Prepare for problems and malfunctions with your vehicle, as well as all the equipment that you are using to prepare the food. One of the biggest benefits of mobile food trucks is the fact that you can move from one location to another simply by driving. If things are slow in one area, you can literally pick up and move for the price of gas. However, since your eatery is essentially in a vehicle, you need to be prepared for vehicle malfunctions. Make sure that you have your vehicle inspected and checked regularly, to ensure there are no potential issues. You do not want to have any downtime with your truck.

In addition, make sure all the equipment and tools you are using to cook are in good shape. Inspect them regularly, and be sure to have backup plans in place. Think about all the potential problems that could occur, such as running out of food or losing power, and know what you will do if that were to happen.

You also need to consider what happens during bad weather. People tend to go to food trucks on nice days. If it rains or snows, it means you will have slow business. This means you need to figure those bad and slow days into your budget so you are ready for those slower days.

10. Expanding Your Business

If you are successful with one food truck, you might find that you have more business and more locations to service than you can handle with just one vehicle. If you are doing well, it might be time to expand and add a second truck. It is not usually advisable to grow by more than one truck at a time though, as you want to make sure the second truck can do just as well as the first. In addition to selling in your own area, you might eventually want to expand to other cities.

Managing and marketing a food truck does not have to be difficult. It just takes preparation and planning, as you would do with any restaurant. Just make sure that you always consider those elements that make the food truck business unique. With determination and hard work, you can make your venture a success.

restaurant marketing tips

5 Quick and Easy Restaurant Marketing Tips

Whether you are new to the restaurant business, or you have been in the field for years, there is no getting around the fact that you need to have good marketing if you hope to succeed. Word of mouth can still be powerful, but you need to make sure you have a strong online presence. In fact, even much of the word of mouth marketing happens online today via reviews and your customers talking about how much they liked your restaurant on social media. It has a huge influence.

The following are some simple and effective tips that will help you increase visibility for your restaurant so you can start getting more customers.

1. Geotargeted Advertisements

When you are marketing your restaurant, you need to think locally. Utilizing geo-targeted ads is a fantastic idea. It can help you to save some money, as your ads will only be shown in the cities and geographic areas that you choose. Since most people are looking for food near where they live or where they are vacationing, this ensures that you have the right potential customers looking at your ad. After all, if you have a restaurant in Tucson, you do not want to have your ads running for people in Bangor.

You can use geotargeted ads through many of the advertising services available today including Facebook, Twitter, and Google AdWords.

2. Utilizing Yelp

Set up an account for your business on Yelp. This is a highly popular site that many people frequent when they want to learn more about what a restaurant can offer. You want to add your location, the menu, the price range, photos, hours, and any other features of your restaurant that customers would appreciate knowing before they arrive.

If you respond to reviews on Yelp, whether they are positive or negative, you need to maintain a positive, professional, and nonconfrontational stance. If a customer has a legitimate complaint, see what you can do to make it right.

3. Consider a Loyalty Program

While this might not work for all restaurants, it can be a good option for many. Loyalty programs are a fantastic way to get your customers to keep coming back for more. It is also simple to implement. You can simply print up some cards that you stamp whenever the customer comes in and makes a purchase. After a certain number of purchases, they can receive a discount or a free item. Plenty of places have had success with this including sandwich chains and coffee chains. It can work for you, as well.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media is important for all types of businesses today, including those in the food industry. You should have a strong presence on the most popular sites, including Twitter and Facebook. Utilize other social media sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram, as well. You can upload photos of your restaurant, your food, and more to help capture the interest of people on those sites, who can then share the information and talk about your restaurant. This is the digital word of mouth marketing mentioned earlier.

5. Great Photos and a Great Website

Most people are going to want to check out your website before they come to the restaurant. It will give them a better idea of what they can expect when they arrive. If you don’t have a website up and running yet, you are behind the pack. If you do have a website, you need to make sure it is fully functional and that it provides the visitors with a good experience. It should be easy to navigate, have a good layout, and all the necessary information about your eatery. This includes a menu and photos of your restaurant and your food. It is a massive part of your marketing today, and you can’t do without one. It doesn’t matter if you are a large restaurant or a small food truck. Want to set your restaurant apart from the crowd, offer online ordering on your site! This is not only convenient for your customers, but lets you save time/money not answering calls & also your customers don’t have to resort to the food portals to order from you through the food ordering portals.

Marketing is one of the aspects of your business that will continue to evolve, and you need to continually look for new and effective ideas to use. Start improving your marketing today.

Most Important Things to Know About Restaurant Management

Proper restaurant management is far more than just making out the schedule for your workers. While the day-to-day tasks are certainly important as part of management, and they should never be ignored or put on the back burner. However, for restaurant management to be truly effective, it needs to encompass many other elements.

The following, which includes some of those daily tasks, as well as bigger picture elements, are some of the most important things the restaurant owner and management staff should keep in mind. It can help them to run a more successful business.

Making Your Customers Happy Is Vital

You have heard the phrase, “the customer is always right”. It is important to remember that this needs to be true even when the customer is wrong. You want to keep your visitors as happy as possible, and this means making sure that the staff and the management listens to the complaints and concerns of customers and takes them seriously. You have likely seen stories on the Internet where customers have taken to social media and even news outlets to voice their displeasure at the way they were treated. Staff members who have problems with customer service should not deal with the guests.

Keeping customers happy at restaurant

The customers should be greeted when they enter the restaurant and seated as quickly as possible. If there is a wait, inform the guest, and be sure to update them to let them know the status. If the establishment has a bar, let them know that they can have a seat at the bar until their table is ready.

Rude and inconsiderate staff is a surefire way to anger customers and ensure they will never step foot into your restaurant again. The greeters and the wait staff should be pleasant. This does not mean they need to take abuse from the guests, however. If there are problems with the guests, they should contact their supervisor or manager on duty.

Never let a customer leave the establishment angry. Do whatever you can to make them happy if they have a legitimate complaint. Always try to fix the problems immediately. Listen to their problems and take ownership of the mistake.

If you or your staff does not agree with the customer, always stay calm and ask the customer what you could to do make things better. This could include discounting a meal or comping a meal in some cases. It is important to make the customer happy, but not to be taken advantage of – try to negotiate an agreement that will work for the both of you. Empathize with the customer, and apologize to them. The sooner you can solve the issue the better.

You Want to Keep Your Employees Happy

Just as you will want to keep your guests happy, the restaurant owner and management should work to keep their employees happy, as well. When you have a happy staff that enjoys coming to work, it makes the restaurant run smoother and more efficiently. There are plenty of ways that you can make sure you are taking good care of the employees, which can help you retain the best.

First, you need to offer fair wages to those who are working for you. Even if the job itself is great, if you are not paying well, those employees are going to want to seek employment elsewhere. They are working to earn a living.

Keep your restaurant employees happy

If there are any conflicts between employees, it is important to resolve them as quickly as possible while staying neutral. Listen to both sides of the argument and come up with a fair and effective solution. If there is one employee who is causing serious problems or who is constantly at odds with others, talk to them about the issue. In the end, if the employee continues with that sort of behavior, it is generally best to let them go. You never want to let “one bad apple spoil the bunch”, as they say.

Providing performance based perks for the employees is a good way to make them happy and more productive, as well. It is important that you have a perk system set up for the various types of jobs in the restaurant, as well, not just the wait staff. Those who are doing the cooking and the washing should be involved in the perk system, as well.

Ideally, you should have a workplace that is fun. By offering team-building activities, outings, contests, celebrations for birthdays and employment anniversaries, you are showing the employees that you care about them and that you want them to continue working for you.

If you do plan to have outings with the crew at the restaurant, you might want to schedule more than one for the same activity, just so everyone will have a chance to attend. After all, you will still need to have staff at the restaurant to take care of business. Another option is to have certain activities for after the restaurant has closed for the day. Just make sure you never exclude anyone from the events.

It is important to remember that keeping employees happy does not mean that the management at the restaurant can be “walked all over” by the employees. It is about treating the employees well and fairly, and always getting the job done the right way.

Job Expectations and Restaurant Policies Need to Be Clear to Staff

Along with treating the employees well, another major part of proper restaurant management is making sure that all the job descriptions and restaurant policies are made clear to them from the beginning. Much of this will be covered during the training period for new employees.

The employees should know their role in the company and who they can talk to if they have questions or problems. An employee handbook, even for a small eatery, is a good idea. This handbook should contain all the policies in the restaurant including handwashing, talking to customers, dealing with complaints, where and when they can take their breaks, and more. Restaurant Policies and Expectations

If the employees have questions, they should always feel free to speak with the managers for clarification. None of the employees should ever feel afraid to speak with a member of the management about policies, or about any questions they have.

You also need to be clear when it comes to work schedules. They should be posted in the same place each week, and they should be posted early in the event there are conflicts or if people want to switch shifts, if you allow for that. Ideally, you will post the schedules online, as well. You could email the schedules, but doing that is riskier. There is always a chance that an email did not go through.

Having an online hub, which provides the schedules, along with a digital copy of the employee handbook, is generally a more effective option. They can always consult the site when they have questions or need to see their schedule. Still, you should have copies of the schedule up at work, and you should also have copies of the handbook.

Make Your Restaurant Appealing

As a restaurant owner or manager, it is important to get a feel for how customers see your restaurant even before they enter the establishment. You should look at the restaurant with a fresh set of eyes, and make sure that you also engage your other senses.

From the outside, does it appear inviting and clean? If you have landscaping around the restaurant, such as bushes or flowers, they should be well-maintained. The walkways should be clean and they should have no hazards on them that could cause a trip and fall incident. The windows should be clean, as well. Upon entering the restaurant, what are the first things the guests will experience? It should be inviting. If you have music playing, it should not be blaring, and it should add to, rather than detract from, the overall ambiance of the eatery. Do you have proper lighting? Appealing Restaurant

The type of lighting you have may vary based on the type of restaurant you have. Those who are trying to evoke a romantic atmosphere tend to want dimmer lighting, while a buffet will have more lighting since people are going to be going back and forth to their table. Even in dim lighting, it should never be so dim that people have trouble seeing and navigating their way to the tables and the bathrooms.

Speaking of the bathrooms, they need to be kept clean always. Staff should take the time to check the bathrooms regularly and have them cleaned as needed. They should also take stock of the soap, towels, and toilet paper to make sure the customers never run out.

The kitchens and prep areas, as well as the storage areas need to be cleaned and well-maintained, too. These are areas that tend to get dirty, and if they are not cleaned properly, it can cause all manner of problems. It could lead to violations of the health code, it could attract vermin and other pests, and it creates an unpleasant working environment.

Cleaning should be a part of the duties of many of the people who are on staff. Everyone should have their role for cleaning, in addition to their other duties, and they should be sure to clean thoroughly. This also goes for the bussers who are clearing away plates and glasses from the tables. Before seating any new guests, the tables should be spotless.

Ultimately, part of restaurant management is making sure that the restaurant has a good atmosphere. It will help to set the mood of those who come into the restaurant. Music is a good addition, but remember to keep it low enough that people can hear others in their party when they are speaking.

Listen to suggestions from customers and employees when it comes to improving the atmosphere of your restaurant. They may have some good suggestions that are easy to implement and that can make your eatery a more welcoming and friendly place to visit.

Keep the Menu Updated

The menu that you have for your guests should not be one that is overcomplicated, confusing or that has a complex layout. It should always be easy for the customers to find just what they need whether it is appetizers, main dishes, drinks or dessert. Arrange the items on the menu in logical groups.Keep Restaurant Menu Updated

You should also have your menu on your website, and it should have the same layout as the menus you use in your restaurant. If someone has already looked at the menu you have online, having a menu with the same basic layout when they arrive at the restaurant is a feature they will appreciate, even though they might not notice it. If it doesn’t have the same layout though, there is a chance they will not be able to find the items that they had their heart set on ordering.

When you add new food, or remove old dishes, you need to update your menu. You need to do this for your online menu, as well as the in-restaurant menu. This way, there will be no issues with customers trying to order items that are no longer served at the restaurant. Updating the menu is also essential because you will likely need to change prices for dishes over time.

If you have weekly specials, you might not want to print out new menu pages for them. You can write the specials on a chalkboard at the entryway, place the pages in placards on the table, or have your servers memorize the specials each day to tell the guests.

These are some of the most important things to consider for those who are managing a restaurant, as well as for the owners of the restaurant. Taking care of the customers and the employees, and providing high quality food are the key ingredients to any successful restaurant endeavor.

Tips to Help Increase Your Restaurant Sales

The goal of any business is to increase sales, but it can sometimes feel as though your restaurant business is stagnating. You might not be losing sales, but you aren’t doing anything to get ahead, either. It is time to work on some different tactics and strategies that can help you improve your profits and surge ahead of the competition. Fortunately, many of these tips are relatively easy to implement. The following tips have the potential to help you increase your sales.

Learning to Upsell

The upsell has been an important part of the restaurant business, and any business for that matter, for ages. However, you’ve probably been to plenty of restaurants where they never even bother with upselling. This is something you need to teach your staff. Upselling can increase the average ticket amount by up to 10% in many cases, and it is simple enough to do.

They simply need to ask the customers if they would like to try any appetizers, or if they would like a dessert or some coffee after the meal. They could let the customers know about other additions that they could get for the meal, such as extra fries, as well. Every little bit helps, and an additional five to 10% on even a fraction of the tickets can make a difference. You might want to give your servers an incentive to help them with upselling, such as a prize for those who have the most upsells in a month.

Do You Offer Online Ordering?

Do you have online ordering available for your customers yet? If you don’t, you could me missing out on a huge opportunity. Many people would like to get food from your restaurant, but they do not have the time to get out. They might be working, they might be at home and simply don’t want to go out for dinner, but they would still like to pick up some great food.

By offering online ordering for pick up, as well as delivery if possible, you can reach a large group of consumers. It is easy to get set up with a site such as 247waiter, which takes care of much of the work for you.

The average amount ordered online tends to be larger than what is ordered in the restaurant. In addition, those who order from you once are very likely to order again, if they had a good experience the first time. This can help to increase your sales without bringing more people into the restaurant. It is a fantastic way to increase your sales without needing to expand your business.

Are You Mobile Ready?

When people are looking for a place to eat today, many will simply pull out their phones and start searching the area for nearby restaurants. You want your establishment to have a good mobile presence. This means you need to have a site that is easy to navigate through phones and tablets. It should be simple for the users to find your address, to search through your menu, and even to call you if needed for reservations or to check the hours. In addition, you should be active on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as this can help you to reach even more potential customers.

Offer Catering, Parties, and More

Another way that you can increase your restaurant sales is to offer catering. You could make the food at your restaurant and then have the customers pick it up, or you could provide full catering services. In addition, you might want to host parties, events, and the like at your restaurant. If you have a separate room that could be used for these events, even better. Offering these services is a good way to increase your business, as you can host all different types of functions including birthday parties, anniversaries, office parties, meetings, and more.

Offer New and Exciting Dishes and Drinks and Promote Them

By adding some new and interesting items to the menu occasionally, it can help to breathe some life into your business when things seem like they are stagnating. While the old tried and true items on the menu might never leave, that does not mean you can’t be creative. In fact, you should be creative and start to add new items, including food and drinks. You might want to have holiday specials or seasonal dishes that you can promote, as well. With some great descriptions and photos, and the right marketing push, it can help to bring more customers into your restaurant.

Have a Special Event at the Restaurant

Consider some of the different types of special events that might work well for your establishment. Perhaps you could have a live musician come in once a week, or on the weekends, to entertain your guests. Maybe you could have a karaoke night, or a half price drinks night. Depending on the type of restaurant or bar you run, there are plenty of interesting options that could work well for you. Think outside of the box and make it memorable.

Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is a fantastic way to increase your sales. For example, a reward card that requires ten purchases for one free item means that a customer needs to come to your eatery and order ten times. The more customers who are a part of this program, the greater the chance of return visits. This can substantially increase your sales, and you have nothing to lose. Even with the cost of the free item, you will more than make up for it with those other ten sales!

Increase the Prices

Finally, you can increase the prices. However, you should only increase them a small amount. You want to make a profit and increase your sales, but you do not want to gouge your customers.

With these tips, you can increase your restaurant sales, and it is easier than you might have thought. Always keep an eye out for other cost effective ways that you can boost your sales.

Tips for Making Your Customers Happier at Your Restaurant

For your restaurant business to be a success, you need customers that want to keep returning to your establishment and that want to tell everyone about how great it is. The only way that you can accomplish this is by keeping those customers happy. The following are some tips you will want to adopt for your restaurant if you haven’t already.

Have a Friendly Staff

The staff that you hire for your restaurant serve as the face of your brand. If they are surly and rude, you can be sure your customers will have a bad experience. You can also be sure that a percentage of those customers will take to the Internet to voice their displeasure with the way they were treated. Who can blame them? You need to make sure that you have a trained and friendly staff that treats the customers well and that listens to their questions and concerns.

If the poor customer service is experienced, it is unlikely that patrons will return to the establishment. The staff needs to treat guests with respect, they should smile, and they should be good listeners. In addition, it is a good idea for the staff to keep their private conversations to the backroom or breakroom. They should never say anything bad about other customers in front of other customers. Also, encourage patience in the servers. Even though they want to turn the table over for the next guests, they should not rush the diners away from the table. No one likes to feel rushed.

Provide Rewards for the Customers

If you want your customers to be happy and loyal, all you need to do is reward them occasionally. When you give something back to the customers, they will be happy, and they will be more likely to return. Setting up a loyalty program is a fantastic idea. It will help to provide repeat business, and it can also work well for word of mouth referrals.

The loyalty program can provide a range of benefits. For some, a simple “buy ten and get one free” system works quite well. However, you can up your ante if you want to make your customers truly happy. Consider providing them with a free meal on their birthday, as well. Offering rewards like this will make the customers want to keep returning, and you will quickly offset the cost of the free food or discounts the loyalty program rewards.

Be Quick to Respond to Bad Experiences

Even though you hope that you always provide a good experience for your customers, sometimes bad things do happen. The way you and your staff handle those bad times makes all the difference in the world. You need to listen to those customers, and you need to find a way to take care of their problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. You never want them to leave the restaurant angry. Listen to Paul McCartney and “take a sad song and make it better.” Turn their bad experience into a good one. Apologize for the problem or inconvenience, and offer something free to make up for it. This could be a free dessert with the meal, a free meal, or a gift certificate that they can use when they come back to the restaurant.

Give the Customers a Surprise Sometimes

If you have customers that keep coming into the eatery, whether you have a loyalty program or not, give them an extra treat sometimes. Providing free drinks, or a free dessert will help to increase their loyalty. You can be sure they will tell their friends and probably post it on social media, as well.

Keep the Wait Times Down

Nobody likes to have to wait a long time to be seated and served when they go out to a restaurant, but it does happen. The way you deal with the wait, and the length of the wait, are important. Always do your best to keep the wait times to a minimum, but be honest with guests about just how long it will take to get them seated. If the wait is going to be forty minutes, do not tell them ten to fifteen minutes! Be honest, and let them decide what they want to do.

Your staff should also have knowledge of the surrounding area and the things that those customers can do while they are waiting. For example, if they have an hour long wait ahead of them, let them know about some shopping that is within walking distance, or a nice park that is nearby. Get their phone number, and call them when their wait is down to ten to fifteen minutes so they get back in time.

Connect With the Customers

The staff, and even the restaurant owner, should make it a point to get to know the regular customers better. Know their names and learn more about them. This helps to develop more than just loyalty. It helps to develop a sense of community, and you can be sure those customers will appreciate it.

Have a Digital Presence

Today, before new customers come into a restaurant, they are generally going to visit your website to learn more about what you offer, to see your menu, and to get an idea of what type of atmosphere the restaurant has. You need to have a website, and you need to make sure it is mobile friendly. Many people are using their phones and tablets to access restaurant sites while they are out and looking for a place to eat right now. Make it easy for them to access the site, and perhaps have a signup available for your email list. If they sign up, provide them with a 10% off coupon. This is often enough to get customers through the door.

With these simple tips, you can start making your customers much happier and more loyal to your business. Start adding them today.

Do People Order More Food Online than Over the Phone?

When your customers order over the phone, have you ever noticed that they often feel rushed – and that your employees hurry them through their orders so they can get back to preparing food? Not only will online ordering greatly add to the convenience of your delivery and carry-out ordering process for both your customers and your employees – but it will also increase the amount of food that your customers order as well.  Online ordering allows your customers to take their time when they order, and it gives them an online interface so you can push them towards specials, combos, and upsells.

Allow Customers to Take their Time

When your customers order over the phone, they have to speak to one of your employees in order to place your order. Even if your employees are perfectly trained, the stresses and speed of restaurant work means that your customers are going to feel slightly rushed when they order over the phone – so most people that order over the phone have their order together and you don’t have a good opportunity to tell them specials or to convince them to add additional items onto their order.  Even companies that have “scripts” for their employees to follow when they answer calls (things like asking if the customer would like to add a desert at a promotional price), the scripts aren’t always followed to the letter – and the over-the-phone transaction can come off as a bit harried and impersonal.

When the option is provided, more than 70% of customers prefer to order online rather than over the phone – a testament to the reduced complexity of ordering online, and the ability for customers to manage their order without feeling rushed. This is even more important when your customers are ordering large orders, such as for catering and parties, and ordering over the phone would take a long time… and still wouldn’t end up being as accurate as if the customer was able to just select from your mobile website or application.

Provide the Whole Menu

According to Matt Maloney, CEO of Grubhub, a majority of food orders in the United States are still placed with paper menus and phone calls. This method of ordering makes it difficult for restaurants to make changes to their menus, since any change would require a re-printing of the entire menu and would confuse patrons that order from the store with the older paper menus. Paper menus are also difficult to navigate quickly, and they can’t be “programmed” like online menus to show specials and to automatically calculate the value of promotions and combos.

Your online ordering process will put your up to date menu right on the mobile devices of your customers – so they can order with confidence, knowing that the prices and the menu items are all correct. You can also create combos, promotions, specials, and discounts – and you can rotate them as you need to, so your menu is never stale and you can respond quickly to what your customers want.

Marketing your Restaurant during the Holiday Season

For retail businesses, the holiday season is pure gold – an opportunity to make nearly all of the profit that the retail company will see throughout the year. Restaurants have historically had a much different relationship with the holidays though – since it is difficult to market to people during the Christmas season when they are traveling or spending time with friends and family. For restaurants that are willing to put a little extra effort into their holiday marketing plans, Christmas can be one of the best times to create special restaurant dinners or to offer delivery and take-out.

Holiday Specials

Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the other “end of year” holidays, you have a substantial opportunity to create dinners and special events at your restaurant that will bring in all kinds of new customers. Not everyone is able to travel home for the holidays, and many people don’t celebrate the holidays in any meaningful way, so your restaurant could be one of the only restaurants that is open during the day.

Added to this, holidays are the best time to start people on traditions – and a good restaurant creates an atmosphere and environment that lends itself to the formation of new traditions. Whether you choose to offer a fixed-price “off menu” production during the holidays, or you go all out with your decorations and your advertising, you can turn your holiday meals into a complete “production” that makes people feel comfortable and happy – and that brings them back the next year with their family and their friends.

Gift Cards and Holiday Promotions

Christmas is a great time to advertise your business to a new audience using gift cards.  Gift cards not only allow you to pre-sell your food and services (thus helping you start the next year with a bang), but they are usually given to people that haven’t been to your restaurant before – and people with gift cards almost always spend more than the value of their cards when they come in to redeem them.

If you want to encourage your patrons to purchase gift cards as stocking stuffers and presents for their loved ones, consider offering some kind of promotion where the person purchasing the gift card also gets a small gift card (or a discount on their food order) in exchange for their gift card order. It is virtually guaranteed that you will get more of a return on your gift card sales than you will spend on the promotion to encourage people to buy them.

Charity and “Giving Back”

The holidays are a time of generosity, and you can tap into that spirit in a way that will be good for your restaurant’s image and will help some people that need it.  Many restaurants sponsor some kind of charity dinner – whether to raise money, or to give food directly to the people in your community that can’t afford it. Consider opening your doors on Thanksgiving to provide a Thanksgiving dinner to your community’s poor or to a retirement home.  Not only will you be making some people very happy over the holidays, but you can also use your charity events as an opportunity to get some publicity in local newspapers and with your civic leaders.

Mobile Websites for Restaurants

Most restaurant websites fail to deliver the most basic information required by customers. Basic info such as phone number, hours, address, menu, specials are often neglected. Unfortunately many restaurant owners focus on design only, instead of the contents. In many cases, customers can’t even find the menu; even worse, some menus are heavy PDF files that take too long to load or the site is filled with so many graphics which makes the whole site slow. Instead of finding what they need on the website, customers end up seeing a ton of graphics and hear annoying background music. With any website, especially a restaurant website, the following points are important to keep in mind.

  • Mobile Website – Nowadays, people access the web from many different devices, not just computers. Websites need be mobile-friendly, which allows smart phone & tablet users to view the site with ease. Site contents should not be heavy and deliver the most necessary & basic information commonly requested by users. Some site homepages are filled with flash animation, music, pictures and more. While this might be easily accessible from computers, but for a mobile device, this is total nightmare. Considering the increasing amount of handheld devices, mobile websites for restaurants are 100% necessary. Restaurant owners, if you don’t have a mobile website you should think about having a mobile website or at least make your existing site mobile friendly.6
  • Site Contents – The most common mistake found on restaurant websites is the absence of important information pertinent to restaurant customers. Restaurant customers visiting a restaurant’s websites are not there to see how nice the site looks, how many flashy graphics are displayed or what kind of annoying music is playing on the page. They want to see one of the following things, address, phone numbers, and business hours, menu and any specials if they exist. These things must be clearly visible on the homepage or within 1 click. Some pictures showing the design of the restaurants and/or foods are always nice additions, but not necessary.
  • Menu – Some websites provide their menu in a PDF file. For a user on a mobile phone or tablet device this will take too long to load. Menus should be on the restaurant website and/or mobile website directly so it loads as fast as possible. The best way to display your menu would be to show it along with an online ordering system, this way your customers not only see what your restaurant is offering, but order directly order from it.

For the best example of restaurant websites, including a mobile website and online ordering system, you can click our demo page here and see the sample of restaurant websites we offer. Restaurant website, mobile website, online ordering system all in one. Low cost monthly fee, no contracts!