Technology evolves and adapts at an incredible rate. As a result, this requires restaurateurs to constantly keep a pulse on what’s happening in the industry.
As tech evolves, it’s important to reflect on what has worked, or is working, for your business and what could be improved. Tools and trends constantly improve to provide guests a better experience.
Are you staying on top of things? Let’s take a look at what you and your team should be keeping a close eye on as 2019 progresses:
Investment in Social Media
“By 2021, mobile video will account for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic” – Instagram (2018).
Restaurants that see success from their social media efforts are the ones who make social media a part of their daily business, include it in their marketing plan, and put their customers first. Facebook’s organic reach was 2.27 percent in 2015, and Instagram’s last announced organic reach was 30%. This means that very little of your hard-earned followers are seeing your posts unless you pay to boost it or you hit virality. Furthermore, in January 2018, according to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri, Facebook began to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.”
If you’re still just relying on organic posts to connect with customers, you may be missing a huge opportunity to hit your customers where it counts, and that’s to begin paying for advertising and start targeting them on a more direct level. You can start small and keep it affordable.
Importance of Search
Attracting customers in an industry as competitive as the restaurant business comes with challenges. One of the most important complications is ensuring your customers are able to find information about your restaurant online and as quick as possible.
Being present on Google is vital to your success and worth your time and effort. Being found goes beyond creating a Google business page. Build out your profiles on additional sites like NetWaiter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, etc. to maximize your SEO results and ultimately, increase your overall exposure to your customers.
Having profiles on these sites can help get your restaurant to appear in Google search results as well. According to Telmetrics, it was found that mobile search behavior – by people who search the Internet for food using their phones or tablets – has a nearly 90% conversion rate. To take your search efforts a step further, you can geotag your photos. You can build out a database of “visual assets” of your restaurants, customers, menu, establishment… and post to sites like Picasa, Flickr, Instagram. When you post these images, fill in the tags with your location and other keyword-rich information that might allow these images to be included in any searches related to your restaurant.
Self-Service Online Ordering
Choosing an online food ordering or delivery app can truly add revenue and exposure, for new and established restaurants alike. All signs point toward an influx of sales for restaurants using online ordering. Restaurants are signing up with third-party providers as a way to gain exposure and reach new customers. But as they continue to rely on third-parties – and as commission fees grow alongside increasing food orders – restaurants are forfeiting a significant chunk of their revenue and hurting their bottom line. Restaurants should consider taking advantage of in-house online ordering systems to avoid high third-party commission fees. In doing so, they can increase their profitability by as much as 35%. According to Fora Financial, the following points should be considered before choosing an ordering service for your restaurant.
A Speedy Checkout Process
Over the years, we’ve watched the introduction and adoption of new restaurant technology that helps increase the speed of reserving a table, ordering food online, reducing the amount of time it takes to create a dish, and how a customer pays for their meal. These tools have enabled guests to get from Point A (ordering or making a reservation) to Point B (eating their food or getting a table) as quick as possible.
In 2018, the prevalence and popularity of cashless payment options like ApplePay, SamsungPay, and Venmo may have signaled the end of paper currency as we know it. Kiosk ordering went from trend to norm as McDonald’s rolled out self-ordering kiosks across 9,000 locations worldwide. Fast-casual restaurant Sweetgreen, as part of the sustainable food movement, will be going cashless in all 64 locations nationwide (excluding Massachusetts, where it’s illegal not to accept cash). In an interview with Fast Company, co-founder Jonathan Neman expressed confidence in a future that’s cash-free. “We believe the future is hyper-experiential and hyper-convenient. The middle is going to get squeezed out.” With the help of modern POS systems, charges are easier to keep track of and manage for restaurants.