Consumer customization isn’t going away. In fact, looking beyond your menu to give your customers even more options to customize their experience may help you gain a competitive advantage. Tech is enabling those changes. According to Dana Macke, the director of trends for the Americas at Mintel, current efforts to expedite delivery are going to evolve into efforts to offer greater flexibility. That means that going forward, restaurants will be able to give customers greater control over when their delivery order arrives, for example. We can also expect greater use of predictive technologies to help restaurants ensure their guests’ orders are tailored to their schedule and needs. Can you enhance the customization of your customers’ ordering experience?
As restaurants adjust their service models and real estate footprints to better accommodate off-premise orders for the long haul, they are also gaining new options to maintain the quality of their food in transit. A recent trend report from Nation’s Restaurant News mentions the Swedish company Dometic, which has launched a temperature-controlled delivery box designed to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Innovations like this could give restaurant operators more freedom to offer popular menu items that lose quality quickly when wrapped in traditional takeout packaging (and may have been removed from off-premise menus as a result).
Staffing is difficult enough right now – but it’s even more challenging when an operator must schedule a team to work an unpredictable, potentially sleepy day part. (It’s part of the reason why companies like First Watch have a single, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. shift.) But what if there were another way? The technology you use to customize data-driven, strategic guest offers is designed to improve sales performance during specific day parts. When you have improved, consistent traffic, you require more hours from staff, who are now able to get the hours and pay they need to stay with the business. Is there a day part in your business that has great potential but needs a lift to be able to retain staff? Consider how you can use your loyalty technology to turn the customer who stops in for an afternoon coffee each day into someone who also comes in for breakfast or lunch.
In the past couple of years, one might say that a good percentage of restaurants have become tech companies that just happen to serve food. As more businesses adopt QR codes, contactless payment, automated food preparation and other tech-centric capabilities, the growing potential for technology glitches can make it difficult to do business. If and when you have an outage or other tech-related problem, what kind of help is available to help you get back on track? There are a number of start-up companies focusing on just this right now (Chicago-based Science on Call, which provides 24-7 tech support, is one of them). As your tech stack evolves, having reliable off-site support you can contact day or night with questions or problems will become all the more important.
Boosting certain convenience technologies you use in your restaurant could elevate your check totals – or result in your leaving money on the table. That’s according to recent research from Pymts.com, which surveyed consumers about the technologies that most influence their purchasing. The most popular features among respondents were the ability to order online, which 41 percent favored as part of their experience in a restaurant, as well as loyalty programs, which came in at a close second with 39 percent of respondents saying the programs drive them to make a purchase.
As labor challenges persist for the time being, consider adopting technology that takes some of the more tedious and time-consuming aspects of the recruitment process off your plate. App-based systems – Fliptable and JobToday are just a couple of examples – can help a business find new employees and manage the details of onboarding them, making it easier for existing staff to share job postings with others, candidates to apply, and employers to track a candidate’s progress in the hiring process – all through a simple swipe on a phone.