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.
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.