Fast Casual Restaurant Strategies to Raise Check Sizes

Today’s customers are rapidly changing the shape of the fast casual restaurant landscape. Today’s customers have more access to technology than any generation in history, and they expect nothing short of a technology-driven experience.  According to Deloitte, “the restaurant industry is transforming and competition is more intense than ever before. Winning restaurant brands will be those that best understand their customers, capitalize on digital technology options and analytics, and seize upon the opportunity to engage customers in a highly personalized way.” Clearly, successful fast casual restaurant strategies rely on the infusion of technology and an understanding of how such technology can benefit the restaurant. Restaurateurs that wish to reap these benefits need to understand how the right fast casual restaurant strategies can raise average check sizes.

The Severity of Restaurant Check Size Trends

The general revenue from fast casual restaurants has declined for decades. According to Market Realist, fast casual restaurants have suffered from years of neglect and the increasing demands of restaurant-goers. It is not unusual for the average net profit margin to be 6% or less, and in today’s age, offering digital food ordering options is almost impractical and unaffordable. How can any restaurateur expect to offer a better experience without cutting into profit margins? The answer might surprise you.  

Proactive Fast Casual Restaurant Strategies Increase Check Size Averages

Modern fast casual restaurant strategies are built on several tenants, including convenience, speed, quality, and affordability. Any improvement must generate a positive ROI within weeks to be successful. Unfortunately, the state of the industry leaves most restaurants feeling isolated and unable to stay competitive. That was pre-delivery too. Combined with the need to offer delivery service through third-party restaurant delivery providers, improvements grow even more cost-prohibitive. However, successful fast casual restaurant strategies can provide a means of paying for the improvements through the form of more checks and an increase in the average check size. When asked about the effect of digital ordering on profitability, one past Tacit client further explained, 

You will see a higher check size. And we have. We’ve experienced a considerable check size lift when you compare our call-in orders to our online orders. Online is where it is at, and online experiences combined with traditional dining creates an opportunity for even more growth.” 

For example, a high-end burger chain launched an omnichannel ordering strategy, realizing 19% sales growth in the last 10 weeks in 2018 and an average check size growth of 8.8% for the same period.

How to Create the Right Strategy for Your Restaurant

The right strategy must be specific to your organization. It’s not enough to simply offer a tablet-based delivery approach. Remember that any redundancy leads to an increased risk for error and higher labor costs. Restaurateurs need to first assess the state of digital ordering trends in the market—such as working with third-party providers to offer white-label delivery, blending rewards programs with digital ordering capabilities, using artificial intelligence to better customize dining experiences, and offering mobile order-ahead options. 

Restaurants must also recognize the need to implement technologies without disruption. Any disruption to the kitchen workflows or that makes it difficult for visitors to know where to pick up food, where to order, and what to do will inevitably lead to poor experiences. Clear signage and robust marketing campaigns, using social media and existing resources, can go a long way in building successful fast casual restaurant strategies.

Those interested in tapping higher revenue should also consider putting the customer in charge of ordering. Customers that have control over ordering are more likely to add extras and get the right food. Instead of relying on an employee to take the order, consider implementing kiosks and mobile order-ahead apps and functions that can put customers in control. Of course, it all sounds great, but you need to consider every potential factor. Thus, more organizations are turning to experts for solutions, like Tacit, to guide them through the process—including the consulting phase, planning, and implementation, to ensure new technologies deliver a better guest experience and drive stronger check sizes.

Reap the Rewards of an Omnichannel Fast Casual Strategy With the Right Technology Partner

Depending on the source, the average increase in check sizes following the implementation of fast casual restaurant strategies can easily soar past 20%. Think about it; what could your restaurant do with 20% more profits, and here’s the kicker. Those profits are after the added costs of offering third-party delivery and paying commissions. So, in truth, the actual increases could be much greater than meets the eye. Connect with Tacit online to learn more about the fundamentals of building your fast casual restaurant strategy for the digital age now.