COVID-19 has been especially tough on independent restaurants, with recent research from Paytronix indicating that independents have lost 10 percent of their customers since the pandemic began. But the good news is that according to the research, which surveyed 2,130 independent restaurant customers, the digital tools independent restaurants offer to manage orders, payments and customer preferences can help build business back up in a big way – and seemingly without requiring sweeping changes to the menu or other aspects of the business. Specifically, it found that consumers who order online spend 50 percent more than those who order in person. Further, half of all customers of independent sit-down restaurants said they would spend more if the restaurant offered a loyalty program. Offering online ordering and a loyalty program are not major adjustments for a restaurant to make – but they could generate a lot of revenue. How easy do you make it for customers to order online from you? What steps could you take to make it easier and faster to order from you on any device? (Consider the businesses that deliver your most user-friendly online ordering experiences, from Amazon to Domino’s to small, independent businesses.) What incentives do you offer to get customers to return? If you have an existing loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat visits, could you take it a step further by personalizing it according to the preferences they have expressed in past orders?
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