Restaurants are known as places to go eat, but until now, the impact technology can have on a dining experience hadn’t been realized. Technology in the restaurant industry is not only impacting how customers choose where they eat, but also what to eat and how to order it.
Smartphone adoption among consumers isn’t quite ubiquitous yet, but a growing majority of everyday customers now use portable devices every day. The restaurant industry is in a new situation. It is now important for restaurants to offer more flexibility in online ordering so consumers can order their food.
Quicker and easier ordering
Until the advent of the smartphone, consumers would have to call businesses and order takeout or delivery items. Consumers can now use mobile devices to search, call or place an order, all in one sitting. Companies like ours partner with local restaurants and offer an order service for them. Restaurant delivery is definitely going mobile thanks to digital technology.
E-commerce for your restaurant
Inside your restaurant, you sell dishes and drinks for people to enjoy at their table. Online, you can sell goods and services for people to enjoy even if they can’t make it in to your restaurant. In recent years, it’s become easier and more affordable for any business to take credit card payments online securely which makes e-commerce a valuable feature for your restaurant website.
Your site should be designed in a way that makes it easy for both customers and search engines to understand. BistroUX specializes in this, and we can cross-promote your e-commerce on all of your marketing outlets:
- Email lists
- Social media
- Physical collateral, such as postcards
- In a lightbox on your homepage
If your restaurant doesn’t already have gift cards in its arsenal, it’s time to get on that. Once you have your gift cards, you need to go full throttle on marketing them. Here are some effective ways to promote your gift cards this season:
Put them everywhere.
We mean everywhere – the register, hostess stands and any window displays. You could even include a callout to your gift cards on your receipts.
Leverage them for brand awareness.
Take advantage of your local community events by offering up your gift cards as a raffle prize. This helps raise awareness for your business – and also makes the winners new customers.
Make them eye-catching.
Custom gift cards with clever copy are a way more fun and memorable gift than something generic.
Leverage social media.
Posts about your gift cards should be all over your social media channels.
People are hungry for gift cards – so all you need to do is market them. Get started with the BistroUX Gift Card Page and services!
One of the fastest growing business tools in the restaurant industry is the ability of the customer to enter an order online. No longer is it necessary to have multiple people tied up on the phones taking orders and thanks to this communication errors have been minimized.
While you may be hesitant to add online ordering to your website or social media in fear of it cutting into your dine in business, you shouldn’t be. The truth is, you are potentially losing customers who are just looking for a quick and easy way to order and pay. In addition to gaining new customers, increasing your takeout business allows you to gain valuable data on what your best products are.
BistroUX can work with you to create a visually appealing webpage for your online ordering, we even do mobile apps! Online Ordering is a feature worth consideration, because what is best for your restaurant business in important.
With our latest technology in reservation software, you can take your restaurant to new heights and start securing reservations online.
Without a doubt, online reservations have revolutionized many industries and conditioned customers to not only be comfortable parting with their details online, but even to expect and demand online reservations as the primary way to interact with a business.
Real-time online reservations:
- are quick
- provide all the needed information to make an informed decision in peace and quiet
- provides a much better experience for a simple transaction than a phone call or an email ever will.
For us at BistroUX, there are a lot of good business reasons why online reservations for your restaurant is a great idea. But really it’s about focusing on your customer, and what they want. Here are the two most important reasons why taking online reservations is important for your restaurant business:
- Get more customers: You pride yourself in delivering great service in your restaurant, make sure that pride extends to your website. Make your customers’ experience effortless and enjoyable.
- Keep them coming back: The ease of making a reservation aside, building a guest database with email addresses helps to spread your message in the future. With a guest database you can also start recording your customers and their preferences, ensuring they get a great and personal experience every time they come in.
People consume entertainment and news online, they research and complete purchases online, and they get recommendations on restaurants from their friends online. So your best marketing is making sure happy customers tell the world about how great you are online!
If your restaurant website isn’t providing the information a guest expects and needs (like opening hours, a map, an updated menu, etc) along with a clear and simple way of making a reservation, how many guests a year do you think you may be losing to your local competition?
Are you ready to provide incoming customers with a great reservation experience? If so, have a look at the BistroUX Features which includes social media marketing and BistroUX Website Design which works for mobile devices.
Leave your email address in the comments below and we will get in touch to take your restaurant website to the next level!
Taken at face value, reporting for restaurants seems more like a necessary evil than a core part of running a business. But it’s time to change the way we look at data. Reviewing it, analyzing it and forming strategies around it is of course the ultimate goal. So let’s take a few steps back all the way from the foundation of business intelligence to the collection of data itself.
3 Reasons Why Consistent Data Collection Is Important
- You Need To Provide A Reliable Customer Experience.
If the appeal of independent restaurants is a unique and one-of-a-kind experience that I can’t get anywhere else, the appeal of somewhere like Panera is a reliable experience that looks, sounds, smells and tastes the same whether I’m in Boston or Buffalo.
- You Need To Be Able To Identify Outliers.
If you’re tracking sales, reservations, and other data at every restaurant, you have something to compare each location to. Without data, you may have a “hunch” that things aren’t going swimmingly at a particular store. Alternately, you may notice one stand-out manager doing a particularly great job at motivating employees and get a sense that morale is particularly great at one location. Good people are tough to find. Consistent data collection helps identify both of these situations.
- Data Holds People Accountable
For most people, it’ll motivate them to take a little more pride in what they do and maybe “dot their i’s” and “cross their t’s”.
PS: Interested in learning more about collecting your customer’s data digitally? Sign up for a demo of BistroUX today to get more information.
Email is still one of the most reliable methods of building customer loyalty. It’s still above social media and even face-to-face contact as a marketing method.
A lot of restaurant owners take an informal and non-strategic approach to emails which is not ideal. Work through these steps to build a smart strategy.
- Choose and set up your software
It’s best to start by choosing a reliable, flexible email marketing software. We use Constant Contact for many of our members. They’re very user friendly. Try creating a test list and learn how you can segment subscribers into groups.
- Start building your list
Now you can start adding new subscribers. Some main points to remember:
- Try offering a small reward in exchange for signing up on your website. Example: Starbucks offers a 10% discount to newsletter subscribers at the bottom of every page on their site.
- Comment cards are a strategic way to gather emails offline. Try bringing a comment card to customers along with the check. Customers are likely to pass the time filling out the card as they wait for their receipt.
- Make sure your opt-in form is visible on your website’s front page. Ideally you will add it to the menu, carry-out order and reservation pages as well.
- Segment and personalize
Segmenting your list to appeal to customers’ distinct interests is also a proven method. You might simply separate your online and offline subscribers, or create more detailed categories according to subscriber info. Where possible, insert each customer’s first name into the email greeting. Personalized emails have been proven to get more positive attention.
Have you had success with restaurant email marketing? Are you considering outsourcing to professional marketers? BistroUX is the secret to your future digital marketing success.