Facing the unique challenges of the restaurant sector – how technology can help

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In this article, we’ll look at how technology has advanced in recent years to offer restaurant owners more powerful solutions to their problems.

The retention problem

According to research, restaurant owners face a two-sided retention problem. On one side, there’s an issue with staff retention. On the other, there’s a customer retention issue.

To illustrate the scale of the problem, here are two stats you may find interesting:

• Thanx found that over 70% of customers only visit a restaurant once

• People 1st found that high turnover has left two-thirds of restaurants and hotels short staffed, causing productivity to fall behind other sectors

So, how can technology help you overcome these problems? Read on to find out.

Improving the at-table experience

In terms of both customers and staff, what happens at the table is key to their satisfaction. 

Customers want their order to be taken quickly and accurately. They want you to be able to accept their preferred payment method, and they have little to no tolerance for human error.

Staff want to be equipped with technology that works quickly and efficiently, that makes their job easier and equally doesn’t introduce errors that might leave the customer frustrated.

In terms of how customer expectations are changing, research by marketforce found that nearly 1 in 4 consumers prefer placing their order using technology rather than a server.

This means that if you can equip your staff with technology that is going to improve the at-table experience, your customers are likely to embrace it.

Getting customers back

Once you know that the experience you offer in your restaurant is positive for your customers, then it’s time to look at how you can get people returning after their first visit. While an improved experience will most likely have a positive effect on your retention rate, there’s plenty more you can do.

By centralising your customer information, analytics and marketing database in one system, you give yourself all the tools to run an effective loyalty program.

Research by Loyalogy found that restaurant loyalty programs increase visits by 35%, meaning that if you have a system that can allow you to run one that targets your customers at the right time and in the right way you may see significant results.

The key here is to have all the right information in right place. Things like customer email addresses, how long the average gap between return visits is, and what kind of incentives have worked in the past – combine all this and you’ll have a very powerful retention tool.

Bringing the technology up to date

When you hand staff the devices they’re going to be using to do their job, what kind of response do you get? If it’s an out of date till system, it’s probably one of confusion, dismay or both.

From a customer perspective, seeing an eyesore till system on your counter is a negative – but having to deal with errors or delayed caused by that system is a far more serious problem.

Technology has now developed to the stage where business systems have intuitive touchscreen interfaces, making them easier to use for your staff and therefore less likely to cause problems for your customers.

Discover technology that takes on your challenges

The restaurant sector needs very different solutions to other small business. That’s why First Data sell Clover Mobile, a portable device that puts the power of a modern EPOS system in the palm of your hand. Take your till to the table and serve customers quickly and easily thanks to Clover’s touchscreen interface.

We believe that Clover Mobile is the perfect solution to meet the unique challenges presented by the restaurant industry. 

For more information visit First Data at stand 566. You can see product demos and get a free ‘complete guide to EPOS’ in exchange for some quick personal details.