Companies across the globe have been heavily investing in digital ordering solutions for years. Starbucks pioneered the mobile payment and ordering ahead app. IHOP is working on rolling out new opportunities for digital experiences. Chili’s and Taco Bell now both leverage a white-label approach to outsourcing delivery to third-party aggregators, explains Donna Cobb of FSR Magazine. To maintain restaurant business continuity, digital, automated ordering solutions are absolutely essential, and restaurateurs need to understand the challenges of maintaining continuity in today’s age, how digital ordering empowers restaurants, and a few tips for success.
Challenges in Maintaining Restaurant Business Continuity
The importance of maintaining restaurant business continuity has never been greater. 2020 brought a host of unforeseen events, and customers are more concerned about getting value for their money. More importantly, customers continue pushing for sustainability in the restaurant, and they expect delivery from third-party aggregators, as well as your branded website. Unfortunately, strong challenges remain, including trouble accessing data within the restaurant due to an outdated POS system, the challenges of integrating systems, and more. Take the data accessibility issue.
The inability to access data from third-party aggregators is perhaps the most troubling thing for the modern restaurant, notes a Tacit client, “this is where you have to be careful, and this is the problem with the aggregator model. For most brands, you’re not getting customer data, so you’re not seeing the long-term impacts on a different customer.”
When customers are far and few between, any disruption to the standard experience could mean the difference between success and failure. Meanwhile, bad experiences will generate negative interactions online and beyond. However, it is possible to maintain business continuity through properly deployed and integrated digital ordering solutions.
Digital Ordering Solutions Future Proof Restaurant Operations
Digital ordering solutions are not the harbingers of doom some restaurateurs have come to realize. Instead, they are the answer, but a poor deployment could leave their value at the bottom of the bucket. In fact, most customers expect a digital ordering capability or at least a presence. Creating an online presence is great, but it can only go so far. When faced with the ability to order online from Restaurant A or call in an order to Restaurant B, today’s customers are likely to choose the online ordering option. Plus, online ordering lets guests immediately see their costs and whether promotions are available.
As reported by Michael Jones of Forbes, “9 out of 10 diners have looked for a restaurant deal at least once on their mobile device, according to a recent study by RetailMeNot and conducted by Google Consumer Surveys. And did you know that 80% of dining customers are willing to try a new restaurant if it is offering a deal?”
Steps to Increase Business Continuity in the Digital Restaurant
Any deployment of digital ordering solutions can enable restaurant business continuity, but it helps to have a few tips to maximize its value. These include:
- Offer delivery ordering through digital devices.
- Give customers the option to order from third-party aggregators or your branded website.
- “Treat the website as an extension of the restaurant,” says Seth Steinman of FSR Magazine.
- Collect data on third-party interactions.
- Incentivize online ordering with promotions.
- Ensure quality control, such as using tamper-evident labels to secure food for third-party delivery.
- Integrate your kitchen automation system with the guest management system, as well as all other systems.
Reap the Rewards of Digital Ordering Now
Digital ordering is the new normal of restaurant operations. Those that enable digital ordering have the opportunity to future proof their organizations, capture new market share, encourage repeat visits, and bring costs under control. However, the best way to approach any such deployment, especially for restaurants that have struggled with it in the past or have zero experience in digital capabilities, is to work with an expert, such as Tacit. Visit Tacit online to get started.