The dining public has spoken: offer a digitally enabled dining experience or we will eat elsewhere.
Guests expect a frictionless experience, one in which they are armed with all of the information they need to make decisions that are convenient for them and at their pace. These demands have revolutionized the way restaurants do business. Instead of focusing their efforts on service, restaurants now use technology as a focal point.
It is imperative that restaurant owners begin to integrate the following digital upgrades into their business in order to maintain relevance in today’s hyper-competitive market.
- Flexible Ordering Options
Walking into or calling a restaurant to place an order is a thing of the past. Now, customers want to be able to order their food from wherever they are and enjoy it in a timely manner. We can thank smartphones for creating this new demand.
According to an article from Modern Restaurant Management, “20 percent of all restaurant guests, and 32 percent of Millennial diners, pre-order before they even walk into a restaurant.” This trend is what is driving mobile sales from a measly 6 percent of revenue in 2017 to a projected 30 percent by 2025.
Ignoring this trend is simply not an option.
- Guest WiFi
A new report from Incisiv, a digital insights company, found that 70 percent of guests rate WiFi as an important factor in choosing where to eat. Some factors Incisiv included were that guests want to be connected to their devices and not worry about having to use data. Simply put: they’re not willing to sacrifice their “lifestyle” in order to eat a meal.
Offering WiFi benefits businesses just as much as it benefits customers, too. Offering WiFi can help you track how long customers are staying in restaurants, which can reveal useful insights into what kinds of meals restaurants should be offering. It can also track the foot traffic that passes by your router, helping businesses find new ways to attract customers.
- Social Media Engagement
Engaging with customers via social media is more important than ever before. It’s where customers go to find special coupons or deals, and where they find out about new places to try. Learning how to leverage social media to a business’ benefit can have a sizable impact on its bottom line.
According to Incisiv, 60 percent of consumers are using social media to research where to eat; 51 percent use it to check ratings and reviews, and 23 percent will share a picture from a dining experience after leaving.
- Mobile Apps
The value of a mobile app goes beyond offering customers incentives to come into a restaurant. For a business, it can reveal useful insights about your customers and the change how your marketing team reaches new customers.
Mobile apps allow business owners to see in real-time how quickly customers redeem coupons or how they respond to certain deals. This can give your marketing team very useful data to build campaigns from.
For customers, mobile apps can create brand loyalty by offering a way to connect with the business. This can be in the form of loyalty programs, or being able to make a reservation ahead of the general public.