Consumers have come to expect free wifi when they visit a restaurant — and chances are good that you offer it. But are you making the most of this valuable connection to your guests? For example, how can you collect useful insights (and make offers to help turn visitors into loyal guests) whenever someone logs in? How long do these guests stay and how can you make the most of the lulls that happen during the day? GoZone Wifi is one supplier that offers businesses marketing tools, guest analytics and the opportunity to earn income through targeted ads shown on their wifi network. If you’re currently offering wifi without collecting insights that could benefit your business, consider the potential benefits you could be generating when you make decisions about your internet service.
What’s your digital game plan? Your digital strategy can help you elevate your brand far beyond the walls of your restaurant by enhancing your connections with existing guests and helping you attract new ones. What’s more, the restaurant brands that develop a digital strategy and support it with the infrastructure it needs are likely to open up a wide lead over competitors in the months ahead — while those that don’t are likely to see their guest engagement suffer. (For example, two brands with robust digital strategies, Domino’s and Panera, currently receive a large portion of their orders via digital — 60 percent and 25 percent, respectively.) That’s according to research shared at the recent Foodservice Technology Conference Trade Show in Orlando. To put the industry in perspective when it comes to digital, restaurants leading the pack in this area are spending 30 to 50 percent (and sometimes much more) of their marketing budgets on it. Of the digital tools restaurants are using to engage customers and generate data, the most important ones to focus on are the mobile app, loyalty program, online ordering capability and delivery strategy. It pays to play offense with digital as well, with restaurants actively using digital seeing 5 percent annual growth over the previous five-year period as opposed to 2 percent annual growth for brands using digital more defensively. That is making it important for restaurants to invest in technology platforms, hardware and software to support their digital strategy, though the proliferation of cloud-based services is helping to bring the overall costs of investment down. Just make sure your strategy considers the needs of your front-of-house and back-of-house operations, all while helping you keep your guests engaged.
The hospitality technology company SevenRooms is looking to bring the voice-enabled power of Amazon’s Alexa to restaurants. Skift reports that the company, which just invested in an Amazon fund earmarked for the development of Alexa in restaurants, is partnering with Amazon to develop technology that will allow operators to use voice commands during service, access guest profiles and preferences, and streamline table service with reminders. The company hopes to offer the service to its restaurant customers in 2019.
Consumers prefer customization, and your POS system can help you deliver it. For example, does your system make it easy for you to add and subtract extra items like avocado or shrimp on a salad or bacon or extra cheese on a burger? Cake suggests that clearly listing such potential upgrades on your menu — upgrades that some consumers may not have even realized they wanted — are an easy way to help you give your checks a boost.