In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are concentrating on getting back to what has been called “the new normal”. Having the option to be able to go out and meet with friends and family for a meal will seem to be a novelty. The choice of being able to host a restaurant meal in their own home through the use of online ordering, could be just one of the ways the hospitality and catering industry starts to increase its revenue post COVID-19.
In order to maximise revenue, it is important to be able to retain new customers who found their way to your business, as well as keeping existing customers on board. Having a focused plan to increase new customers in a very competitive market is achievable, especially if you fully utilise the benefits of a restaurant POS. Take a look at the following business improvement tips and ideas mapped out below.
Give your customers the maximum mobile experience
Sometimes, you can be so focused on what is happening with the business operations, that you don’t consider what the consumer experiences when they first chance upon your restaurant.
Take the time to get an honest opinion of what your website looks like for someone trying to access it on a tablet, mobile or other internet device. It helps to ask a friend to browse through and see if the site will function properly on any mobile device and if they find it easy to navigate. Once you have this in place, start to increase your mobile presence by exploring the following options:
- Revisit and refresh your social media accounts. When was the last time you updated your news section or images? Do you have someone to manage these for you and have you quick and easy “one click” access from these sites to your order page? With a reliable online ordering POS system, you can make it simple for customers to order and pay online and in turn, they will be more inclined to leave great feedback on your social media or website.
- Let people know what is happening by posting updates and alerts on your social media feed. People still need reassurance post-COVID, so messages and photos about your safe workplace are still important. If you are hosting a special occasion or if you have roadworks, it may be difficult to drive and park near to your restaurant, so it’s important to let everyone know. Over time, they will start to connect with your brand and feel part of the social scene you create in your business.
- Add the business to Google My Business if you don’t have a website up and running with all the relevant information about menu choices, opening times and contact details. Images of the business and the food items can also be uploaded so you are reaching out to new customers who may be browsing the internet for a change of food venue.
If you don’t already offer takeaway or delivery and collection services, you need to tap into how consumers have adapted over the past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- To enhance takeaways, implement a service where a consumer orders, pays and then arranges a pick-up time later. In addition, you can also use an online ordering system, which means no more incorrect orders (food wastage cuts back on the profit margin), payment online maximises use of staff (wages are the most expensive part of the business) and you can encourage secondary selling. Don’t offer dishes that will not travel well and review your packaging. Dishes that are easy to prepare with side orders are a win-win.
- Utilise any parking space near your business to provide kerbside collection and if you have a drive-through window option, keep it stocked with all the condiments and takeaway cutlery to speed up the service. If you have space (and permission) to offer tables outside, make it an attractive spot for people to stop. With the right POS system in place, your staff may be able to take orders both inside at the register and outside with the iPad, speeding up the service as orders go straight through to the kitchen.
- Offer delivery services because now is the perfect time to put this in place. Shop around for delivery services that provide hot boxes or chillers to keep your food looking and tasting its best.
Consumer loyalty schemes and local neighbourhood presence
Word of mouth is so important in the restaurant trade so keep your current customers happy and get them to advertise your business for you. You can do this by:
- Rewarding loyal customers. Using your POS system, you can create a loyalty scheme that will give points to existing consumers who visit or order online. If they recommend a friend, then e-vouchers for a free drink/dessert or points on their card means they feel valued.
- Host an event, such as a charity lunch or cooking classes where you make a donation to a local charity. If you advertise in advance, on days or evenings where you are traditionally quiet, this will bring in more customers. Quiz nights or music events also reach out to potential new consumers.
Increase table turnover and secondary selling
Serving more people means upping your sales, which means freeing up tables by increasing the efficiency of your service.
- Using a restaurant POS means staff can take drinks and food orders using a tablet which sends the order directly to the kitchen. The bill can also be paid at the table and staff don’t waste time going back and forwards to the till point.
- Revise your menu so it is simplified, and the consumer does not waste time deciding what to eat.
- Online ordering should have the facility to offer side orders and desserts and for customers who frequently order online, use technology to recognise the log in and offer their favourite starter or sauce, for example.
It has never been easier to change around your business and begin to increase revenue. For advice on the right POS system, creating or optimising your online menu, and opening up your café to online sales, and takeaway and delivery functionality, speak to our friendly and experienced team here at Abacus.
We are currently providing our Online Ordering platform with NO upfront cost and $0 ongoing monthly fees on top of your regular Abacus POS subscription. The only additional cost to you is a small transaction fee.
Submit your interest here or email us at email@example.com and our product specialists will reach out to you to discuss how we can help your business in these tough times. Alternatively, give us a call on (03) 9017 2792.