In 2015, technology is permeating every aspect of the restaurant customer experience.
From their first encounter with your restaurant (Yelp or social media) to their last interaction with your restaurant (signing for the bill on a tablet), technology is there every step of the way. And in this day and age, tech-savvy customers are expecting restaurants to have these features.
According to the infographic below by Industville, 55% of people believe technology plays a pivotal role in the restaurant experience. One-third of diners think tech can speed up service.
Restaurant technology can help your restaurant win new customers through social media, and keep repeat customers through restaurant loyalty programs. Is your restaurant prepared to incorporate technology into the guest experience?
Check out the infographic below for more statistics, and read on for a special way to track how restaurant technology is making you money.
9 Ways to Use Restaurant Technology Today
1. Be active on social media.
Many restaurants don't realize that most of their potential customers are willing to hear their messages on Facebook, Twitter, and especially Instagram. In fact, customers want to see your mouth-watering food, your upcoming specials, and your awesome restaurant design online beforehand. Check out these tips for making social media marketing work for your restaurant.
2. Make your restaurant website pop.
According to a 2013 study, 80% of guests want to see the menu before eating at a restaurant. If you don't have a restaurant website including your menu, social profiles, and most importantly, your story, how will you stand apart from other restaurants online? Give your restaurant website a second look, and make sure it's compatible for mobile users as well.
3. Register with review sites.
Continuing the trend of staggering statistics, 29% of diners read restaurant reviews first when choosing a restaurant to visit. I'm definitely one of those 29%, and I think more and more people will be turning to sites like Yelp and Google My Business to learn more about other people's guest experiences. Make sure your restaurant is visible on these review sites, but don't stress about them too much!
4. Blog with purpose.
I know, I know; you don't have to time to blog! But restaurants who blog, sharing their journey, their recipes, and their upcoming events, are building a valuable customer base. Subscribers to your blog will get an email any time you publish, and that's a great way to stay on your customers' minds. If you don't have the time, consider giving the responsibility to a manager or server you trust.
5. Offer free wifi to guests.
If you don't offer wifi in your restaurant by now, you are definitely behind the times. If you have a cloud-based POS system, you definitely need wifi in your restaurant. But does that wifi need to extend to the customer? You can establish air-tight wifi for your restaurant operations, while offering a public wifi for your guests, a commodity that many people look for. Just search "restaurant wifi" in Google; everyone wants it!
6. Make the most of restaurant apps.
Your restaurant is never fully optimized: there is always room for improvement. Restaurant apps like Foodkeeper, OpenTable, and Clothbound help make restaurant management -- whether that be restaurnat hiring or food preservation -- a bit easier.
7. Introduce mobile and online ordering software.
Especially if you're a pizzeria or a catering company, your customers may want to order their food online. However, sometimes online ordering software can cost a pretty penny -- on each order. Mobile online ordering software integrated with your POS system can give you insights into online ordering sales and make the whole ordering and delivery process easier for the customer.
8. Give out digital gift cards and offer a restaurant loyalty program.
Now that you're restaurant technology is bringing in loyal customers, why not reward them? Restaurant loyalty programs are a great way to capitalize on these customers, especially when joining is as easy as entering your email address as you pay for your meal. Offer birthday promos, holiday-related promos, and more to these repeat customers. You can also offer digital or paper gift cards to anyone who wants to share your restaurant with a friend!
9. Use customer-facing POS tablets.
Finally, customer-facing POS tablets are a great way to use restaurant technology in your restaurant. When customers are able to see the full transaction happen at the table, rather than watching a waiter take their credit card to a central terminal, they're more at ease that their information is safe and secure. Plus, customer-facing POS tablets increase table turn time and decrease amount of money spent on paper receipts.
Restaurant management software and social media marketing are big trends in the restaurant indsutry. When online ordering, loyalty, and gift cards are all integrated within the same POS system, you can actually see profits skyrocket. Learn more by downloading our Restaurant ROI Calculator below!