Get prepared for the great restaurant reset

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Now is an exciting time for restaurateurs as soon they will be able to reopen for table service in time for the summer.

The hospitality sector will bounce back with research by Lumina suggesting it will grow by a third in 2021. Great news – the report suggests that 52% of diners are ready to dine out before June.

Here is our guide of what you need to pay immediate attention to and how restaurant management technology can help.

Get up to speed with marketing

You need to make sure that your customers old and new know that you are ready for business and that you get your voice heard.

Our action plan is:

Email marketing – Promote your reopening plans to your email list now so you get ahead of the competition. If you have a new opening menu then this is a great opportunity to promote it.

Social media – Spend time creating images and posts now and invest in a tool such as Hootsuite or Contentcal so you can schedule these ahead of time to go out automatically on a calendar.

Influencer marketing – find out who the influential local food bloggers are and message them on Instagram offering them a free meal if they will tag and promote your restaurant on Instagram.

Video marketing – make short videos on Instagram Stories which you can share with your followers – a great way of reminding them that you are still open for business and letting them know what they can look forward to when they visit.

Advertising – Now is a good time to explore advertising on Google or Facebook or Instagram to keep your restaurant top of mind with your existing diners and to reach potential new customers.

Run a loyalty campaign – Think of ways you can stimulate your ardent fans. Dedicated loyalty software can help greatly as you can easily craft personalised and targeted email campaigns to your loyal customers. Sweeten the deal with a special offer or extend existing points promotions – they will really appreciate it.

Gift cards – With cashflow being tight think about how you can generate much needed income through gift cards. Promote these through your website as well as in the restaurant when you reopen.

Delivery

Delivery is still going to be a great opportunity in 2021 and beyond.

You need to make sure that you have the correct technology to capitalise on this growing trend.

Invest some time looking at:

Menu selection – are the dishes right for the delivery market? Look to what your restaurant EPOS software is telling you are the top sellers and offer the best profit margins.

Think share of customer – with a successful online delivery offering you can be selling meals breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Think about expansion – with the growth of delivery kitchens you can grow your business profitably without a massive capital outlay. Reach customers beyond your usual catchment area.

The technology stack – Technology helps streamline the payment process, the speed of service and provide a great guest experience through mobile payment systems. You can even provide guests with their own branded app – a great marketing opportunity.

Think about the front of house

You want to create a great ambiance while also ensuring your guests feel safe.

Here are a few things to consider:

Social distancing – Make sure that tables can be safely socially distanced. Invest in guest management systems that enable you to manage the number of diners coming into your premises.

Restaurant configuration – Allow space for delivery drivers to move freely around the restaurant away from guests or implement separate zones and hatches for them to use.

Hygiene – While everyone should know about handwashing by now, it is still a good idea to have some visual reminders on the wall near sinks for staff and customers.

Due diligence – Do a thorough risk assessment. Where you can’t put a sink then make sure that you have a hand sanitizer station available.

Labour – With reduced guest numbers you need to look at your staffing costs. Restaurant technology can help by identifying the right number of staff, utilising past performance data, to ensure that staffing levels and operating margins are in perfect harmony.

Going paperless – Throw out those paper and laminated menus. Digital signage and mobile apps are the cost-effective and modern alternatives.

Going cashless – Sophisticated mobile payment platforms enable you to offer guests the opportunity to pay on their phones either through an app or through a website.

Menu management

With a restricted number of guests it is a good idea to have a concise and profitable menu for reopening.

We suggest the following:

Focus on the top sellers – Maximise your revenue and ensure that you use all your stock in the most profitable way possible.

Using data from your restaurant EPOS software you can easily pinpoint your top performing dishes ensuring a steady cashflow and minimal food wastage.

Look at the bottom line – Once you armed with this data we suggest you refine it further – look into the profit margins of these best sellers and also evaluate the prep times so you can eliminate low margin/high opportunity cost items. Enterprise solutions enable you to do this across all your outlets.

Increase table turns by design – By identifying the fastest items to prepare you can then present them as specials or promos on your menu thus stimulating demand and promoting faster service.

The technology you need to make reopening a success

We recommend that you create the right technology stack for your reopening and beyond.

The solutions you need:

Reporting – use an Enterprise solution to do the necessary data analysis on sales mix, stock and labour to control costs and to get the necessary insights to make informed improvements. Analyse your performance across multiples sites with ease.

Menu management – look for a solution that enables you to update your menus at the touch of a button across your whole estate and with integration to digital menu boards these changes can be pushed out instantly.

Kitchen automation – delight your customers with blazingly fast service. Integration with handheld technology means that orders are fired through to the kitchen straight away. Minimises wastage as the margins for human error are greatly reduced. Data from the kitchen automation can inform further improvement in service delivery.

Handheld ordering – save time by taking orders tableside. Ideal for outdoor seating areas – send drinks and food orders through for preparation immediately. Faster service means more table turns.

Mobile payments – embrace the cashless revolution. Guests can pay quickly at the tableside or use an app to quickly pay for their online delivery. Convenient and, again, increases table turns.

Guest management – keep track of your guests, manage wait lists and ensure that you are not over capacity. Up-to-date floor plan statistics ensure that you can keep guests fully informed of wait times.

Digital signage – wave goodbye to dusty paper menus and say hello to vibrant digital menu boards that can be updated with promos and specials at the touch of a button.

Online delivery – integrate payments fully with your online deliveries. Provide customers with a fully branded mobile app experience for them to order and pay quickly with confidence.

Conclusion

Restaurant management technology can help you kickstart your reopening plans in at least three ways:

  • Providing the tools to manage your business and operating margins
  • Offering actionable data insights for operational improvement
  • Improving the guest experience

Resetting your technology stack enables you to address each area of your business with the correct solution in preparation for what promises to be an exciting year.

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