At the dawn of the 21st century, the notion of omnichannel was barely existent. E-commerce remained a novice idea, and customers were rather complacent in their expectations for restaurant experiences. Then, the game changed when global industries began to embrace the real potential of connectivity and better guest experiences. Why? Well, like the smartphone, digital experiences have become commonplace, and the modern restaurateur must have an omnichannel restaurant strategy to build digital experiences across ordering channels and enterprise-wide profitability in tandem.
What’s Wrong With Traditional Restaurant Strategies
Traditional restaurant strategies were based on the need to operate a brick-and-mortar location for all orders. Yet, brick-and-mortar dine-in options are no longer a necessity. As reported by Franchising.com:
“A brick-and-mortar location is no longer a requirement to run a franchise, from retail to service to restaurant concepts. Instead, it’s a choice, and more retailers are justifying that decision by creating a unique, enjoyable in-store customer experience that cannot be replicated online or through e-commerce. This can include finding space that allows a retailer to offer additional in-store services, such as a tasting room or bar, yoga classes, or live entertainment – anything that helps drive in-store traffic. It can also mean focusing on unique architecture and design; on creating a space that moves a consumer’s focus from quick and easy, in-and-out convenience to more of a café experience, where they are encouraged to sit back, relax, spend time (and more dollars) in a comfortable environment that cannot be delivered or experienced through online retail alone.”
Restaurateurs that fail to realize the potential of taking an omnichannel restaurant strategy approach, including the ability to offer tableside service by kiosk, leverage pickup shelves for mobile order-ahead transactions, and limit delivery will upset customers.
How an Omnichannel Restaurant Strategy Approach Boosts Brand Value
Consumers expect convenience and the ability to order across any device or channel. This is the fundamental tenant of omnichannel. The concept has boomed in the retail space, and now it’s going to disrupt the multi-billion food industry. Restaurateurs must offer online ordering, the ability to bridge dine-in experiences with digital technology and deliver the best-in-class experience of dine-in to customers that order delivery. How?
The strong growth of mobile digital food ordering, apps, takeout, and delivery demand will push foodservice sales higher, especially as traditional dining experiences fall.
How to Implement Omnichannel Casual Dining
Implementing an omnichannel restaurant strategy is not a one-and-done method. It requires the infusion of technology across all experiences, tailoring each experience to the unique needs of users and building a genuine interaction, says FSR Magazine. This includes the following steps:
- Implementing systems to process payments regardless of transaction type, such as in-person, online, mobile app, mobile phone programs, and kiosks.
- Giving customers the freedom to peruse the menu on their personal devices.
- Connecting ordering platforms that give customers the option to order from devices despite their location or whether sitting at a table, standing at the counter, or using a mobile device.
- Deploying delivery through both branded experiences, which include white-label platforms and third-party services, as well as establishing order fulfillment channels through major third-party delivery service providers, such as UberEats, Grubhub, and DoorDash.
- Giving mobile order-ahead customers the ease-of-service with pickup shelves that automatically open and avoid the hassle of waiting in the counter line, an idea that also helps delivery service drivers get in and out faster too.
- Continuance of engagement by interacting with guests through social media and third-party online platforms.
Revamp Your Strategy With the Right Technology Partner
As explained by QSR Magazine, the omnichannel restaurant strategy is a core concept in modernity and depends on both technology and customer behaviors. “The key in achieving an omnichannel strategy is heavily dependent on IoT solutions; connected and smart technology to deploy systems like self-order terminals, interactive menu boards, drive-thru automated kiosk and self-serve locker delivery systems. As the behavior of consumers continues to evolve into this personalized experience, where customers shop when they want and how they want; the quick-service restaurant industry has certainly accommodated them at every turn.” Thus, fast-casual dining must evolve and begin implementing the systems and processes to promote cross-channel experiences and arrive at a truly seamless, enjoyable, and efficient management style. Visit Tacit online to get started.