Great food attracts new customers. Great service keeps them coming back for more.
We know that serving great food is an important element in running an F&B business. But many take that for granted and tend to neglect the service part of it. It shouldn’t be one or the other; great food and great service should come hand in hand in order to create great experiences for customers.
Great product (in this case, it’s food) + Great service = Great experience
The F&B industry isn’t getting any less competitive. Back then, I remember the constant struggle to decide what to have for dinner. But now that I’ve gotten better at deciding what to eat, I struggle with choosing where to eat. Craving a burger? I’ve got at least five or more burger joints around me to filter out. Dining out has never been any harder. #FirstWorldProblems.
And service isn’t just the part where your waiter serves the food to the customer. It begins the moment a patron walks in to the moment they leave; its the entire package that adds up to the experience. Delivering good service helps with customer retention, and of course, with the help of loyalty programs, you get to extend this impeccable service to beyond just your restaurant’s premises.
Of course there are plenty of other softwares and tools that could tremendously improve the productivity of a restaurant, but here are just a few to get you started!
ONLINE RESERVATION TOOL
This software allows customers to make a reservation at your restaurant from their own end with an internet connection.
According to the Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report by Toast, one of the most important technology feature as voted by consumers is the online reservations (36%), followed by free Wi-Fi (23%) and online or mobile ordering (19%).
Why is it important? Apart from providing convenience for your guests, it also promotes efficiency and productivity while still being organized, among employees in the restaurant. The software allows you to determine how many wait staffs you need, especially during festive seasons and major celebrations; you get to save the time used for picking up calls and dialing people up to confirm reservations; prevents common issue of double booking; and more.
What about customers who prefers walking in? Everyone has different opinions on how long a guest should wait to be seated at a restaurant, but we all know that it isn’t fun to play the waiting game when you’re hungry.
The table management allows restaurant operators to easily manage the tables so that the place doesn’t look like a chaotic mess especially during peak hours. Frustrated patrons and confused waiters isn’t a pretty sight for any F&B establishment.
Some of the common functions of these softwares include creating a floor plan that resembles your restaurant as well as to view which tables are reserved, available, and need cleaning. Most come with an analytic function compiles insights on the average dining time.
But don’t kid yourself, queues are inevitable. It will eventually come a time where the amount of patrons exceed the amount of tables you have, and they’ve got no choice but to wait.
But instead of making your guests wait idly for their table, waitlist apps allow you to add your guests to a digital waiting list, and they are instantly contacted via text messages when their table is ready. So, customers are given the opportunity to wander off without worrying about losing their table to other hungry people.
Some of these apps have an in-built table management function which allows hosts to easily view which table is available, just as we’ve discussed in the previous point.
ONLINE FOOD ORDERING & DELIVERY
Statistics from the National Restaurant Association says that 61% of consumers say they would order delivery from a table service restaurant if the service was offered.
Again, I’m stressing about that convenience you can offer to your patrons — giving them the chance to browse through your menu, place orders and get their cravings fixed at the comfort of their own home so that they can continue binge watching the latest season of Stranger Things on Netflix.
It also helps in preventing the kind of misunderstandings you’d usually get when taking orders over the phone. Like, wait, was that no mushrooms or more mushrooms on your pizza?
Of course there are ways to set up your restaurant’s delivery service. Read about the pros and cons of implementing an in-house delivery service and outsourcing it to third parties.
CREDIT CARD PROCESSING INTEGRATION
Cash only terms restaurants annoy me to death.
A TSYS consumer payment study on dine-in restaurants revealed that 68% of respondents chose to use credit or debit cards while only 18% preferred cash. On top of that, studies show that people tend to spend more with credit cards instead of cash — so rejecting plastic actually means you’re killing that opportunity for your restaurant to earn more revenue.
Last but not least, the loyalty program — a valuable and powerful tool that is often overlooked by many.
Now that we understand that offering great products and services results in great experiences, let’s take a deeper look into that equation: what defines ‘great’? Everyone has different ideas and opinions on what makes something great, especially when it comes to service. it’s subjective. But it’s relatively impossible to study the behavior of all your patrons… unless of course, if you’ve got the help of a member program.
Understanding your customers and giving them that tailored experience allows you to build a deeper relationship with them, which one of the driving factors that leads to loyalty and customer retention. In addition, studies have also found that repeat customers are more profitable for businesses and they’re responsible for generating 40% of a store’s revenue.
Check out ways to kick-start your loyalty program and the different types of rewards program that’s most suitable for your business.