Restaurants today face a dire challenge – getting and keeping customers. With numerous restaurants up and down every street, every restaurant has to find their niche or ways to entice customers to come back. One wrong move or negative experience and the potential loyal customers will become loyal to the restaurant down the street. So what can restaurants do to make their experience more memorable than their competitors? There are a variety of ways, but the one common denominator is the use of mobile technology.
1) Keep Customers Informed
Today, with the advent of technology, customers want to know what is going on during every step of the process. No longer do they want to call in a reservation, walk into a restaurant and then have to wait 20 minutes to sit. They want to be able to set their reservation via the computer and stay informed via text messaging. The good news is that this is possible with the invention of the restaurant wait list app that many restaurants are already utilizing. Now customers do not have to carry around bulky buzzers or sit close by the hostess stand in the hopes of hearing their name called. The wait list apps will keep them informed on the number of guests ahead of them on the list as well as when their table is ready. Other apps, like OpenTable, allow users to make reservations online, and simply show up to the restaurant at the appropriate time.
2) Stay in Touch with Customers
Do you have regular customers that some of your staff knows well? What happens on those days that the newer staff members are working and are unfamiliar with the “regulars”? These customers may not get the customized service they are used to, such as special requests regarding their meals, their favorite drink served without being ordered or any other nuances that customer may have. When things are different, loyal customers may take their loyalty somewhere else. In order to prevent that, technology today provides the ability to keep a database of these customers, allowing the information to be at the fingertips of every employee, rather than just in the minds of some. Now it does not matter who is on staff at any given time, your regular employees will be recognized and catered to as they are accustomed to at your establishment.
3) Easy Payment Options
Restaurants get busy and servers get overwhelmed, but that does not mean that customers should be kept waiting. While you can employ extra front-of-the-house staff to run food and refill drinks, bringing the appropriate check, collecting it and bringing change or a credit card slip is something that the particular server for that table should be doing. Those times that the servers are just too busy to get there in a timely manner, however, can elicit negative feelings towards your restaurant. Instead, you can offer pay-at-the-table services, with Apple Pay or any other tablet enabled payment system. The security and efficiency of these systems enable customers to pay when they want and leave happy. This allows servers to be able to focus on the task of serving food and keeping customers happy, while also turning tables over quicker for more customers.
4) On-Site Surveys
You need to know what your patrons think of your restaurant at any given time. Even if you, as the manager or owner, walk around the restaurant consistently, you are not going to hear every good and bad thing that people have to say. Some customers will be too shy to share their feelings, others may just get overlooked. If you offer the ability to leave feedback while they are still in your establishment with the privacy of a tableside tablet, you are able to be informed of everything that is going on right then and there. If there is a problem, you can rectify it before the customers walk out the door, potentially saving your restaurant from negative word-of-mouth feedback from circulating your town. Oftentimes customers are willing to give their feedback because they know it helps, while other times, an incentive, such as a free dessert or drink will help to entice them a little further.
Whether you use a restaurant wait list app or a tableside tablet to collect payment, feedback surveys, or to keep in touch with loyal customers, you are utilizing today’s technology to keep customers informed. We live in a demanding society where everyone wants to know what is going on at any given time. With the advent of technology, this is now possible and virtually necessary for every restaurant. If you want to stay competitive with the restaurants up and down your street, it is time to find the way to get the competitive edge and keep the customers within your establishment and not someone else’s restaurant. And check out these 5 innovative ways you can reward your loyal customers without the use of coupons.
As an experienced restaurant business professional, you understand that being on the leading edge of market trends is a pivotal factor in creating memorable experiences for your customers and setting you apart from the competition. To stay ahead, you need a business phone system that supports all the modern ways you want to communicate with customers—such as web meetings and text messages—while being easy to manage across multiple locations. Download the RingCentral brief to learn how a complete communications system is perfectly suited for the restaurant industry.
Originally published Mar 26, 2015, updated Aug 07, 2020