Earlier customers would go to restaurants to get personalized services from waiters/servers/hosts. Manual labour prevailed everywhere, from quick delivery to fine dining, from small to big setups, right from taking orders, preparing food, to serving at the table. That’s why a couple of years ago, the thought of using restaurant technology seemed preposterous. But, this is not the case anymore. The personal service is still there, but restaurant owners are now using restaurant technology to automate operations, provide more seamless services, offer in-restaurant benefits, free Wi-Fi, and create a digital presence to increase customers’ reach.
How Restaurant Technology Helps Attract Customers
Tech-savvy restaurants attract more customers. Here, we have compiled 9 ways restaurants should use restaurants technology to attract more customers and amplify their business.
1. Online Presence
Nowadays, customers search for restaurants online, check out ratings and read reviews to choose or book tables before visiting them. This is why having a strong online presence is a must for any establishment and it is equally important to monitor your digital footprint. 3 popular ways to establish and boost the digital presence of your restaurant include –
(i) Restaurant Website
A website is basically your online store to sell your wares. It is the portal through which you can introduce your food, restaurant ambience, services, special offers and events to your potential customers. The magic ingredients that make a website popular include:
- Visually appealing look and feel
- Easy navigation and hyperlinks
- Minimum loading time
- A gallery of stunning images of foods, décor, events etc. to entice customers instantly
- Readable content
- Prominent display of current offers, discounts, coupon codes etc.
- Current news and media coverage to flaunt your popularity
- Social media plug-ins to encourage more shares and fan-following
Image source: Berco’s
This illustration of Berco’s website is a perfect example of a restaurant website and how you can use technology in restaurants to provide a stellar online experience. And further, there is so much more you can do with your website to derive engagement.
(ii) Online Menu
You can also add your menu, location map to help customers locate you easily, and add a site demo to the site to guide your site make the most use of the site. You can also provide a virtual tour of your restaurant to give a feel of your ambience and décor. This way, the customer can also decide where they want to sit and reserve a table of their choice.
(iii) Online Ordering
But what if your customer can’t go out? The order online feature immediately solves this problem. The idea is to ensure your visitors to dine at your restaurant or place orders with it.
(iv) Digital Feedback Form
All successful restaurateurs know that feedback is the most important part of customer service since it shows that you value your customer. Add a feedback popup or form page to show how much you care about your customers – make them feel convenient to reach out to you, to express grievance, accolades or any feedback.
Do not forget to show off your online reviews to let your potential customers know how happy your guests are and what kind of service/food and experience they can expect at your restaurant. Find out how you can make the best use of digital feedback forms here.
2. Restaurant Listing and Review Sites
The website is a major platform to communicate, display your restaurant and food, but you must also remember monitoring the threads of interactions regarding your restaurant happening on restaurant listing and review sites. There are a number of restaurant listing and review sites where customers discuss, recommend review, and also criticize their dining experiences. It is a powerful and influencing medium which can make or mar the reputation of your restaurant. Displeased customers’ rants published on these sites can ruin your restaurant’s market presence. So, you must take care to address their grievances.
For example, Burrp and Zomato cater to the niche restaurant industry. Users can rate the restaurant and write reviews based on their experiences. These platforms allow the restaurant management to reply to the reviews of customers as well.
3. Social Media
Social media is the most cost-effective way to engage with the customers. Sharing appetizing images of your food and offers/discounts on your social media channels can skyrocket visitors to your joint. While Facebook and Instagram are the most visual platforms to share mouth-watering images of your dishes, you can also run paid ad campaigns on social media to target a specific demography of customer base. Both Twitter and Facebook allow demographic targetting for paid advertisements.
Smart Use of Social Media at Restaurants
Many bars and cafes have TV screens or projectors that air cricket or football matches. This is especially fruitful during World Cup, IPL etc. People enjoy going to sports bars especially to watch the game while hanging out at the bar.
The Vault Café has gone a step ahead and has a screen installed that is linked to their social media handles. When a guest checks-in or tags their images to The Vault Café, the posts appear on the screen in real-time. This is a remarkable way to keep the guests entertained, as well as serves as a marketing tool for the restaurant as well.
We keep updating our social media accounts on a daily basis for every restaurant. This is a great way to get direct feedback from the visitors of our restaurant. Says Umang Tewari, one of the most successful restaurateurs responsible for making Delhi a culinary heaven with his popular joints – OTB, Fork You, The Vault Cafe, Raas, Skooter etc.
Having an online presence is just a part, albeit an important one, of the restaurant technology being used in restaurants in today’s scenario. The other face of tech-savvy restaurants consists of innovations that ease operations to provide flawless customer service.
Continue reading the next article that describes the must-have technologies in restaurants that further enhance the customer experience.