It’s important to note the changes that have happened — for some, almost overnight — to the restaurant industry’s business model when looking to increase efficiency. For example, what used to be considered front-of-house — the hostess stand, the dining room, the wait staff, etc. — now encompasses so much more, like your website, online ordering apps, contactless payment systems and curbside delivery options.
Collect data and adapt
Customer insights are essential to improving efficiency and providing the experience guests want. Restaurant owners must look at their customers' journeys today and determine where they’re missing the mark. What percentage of guests prefer online ordering? Are curbside diners starting to come back into the dining room, but still crave a contactless experience? Knowing patrons’ specific tendencies and wants will help restaurant owners focus their attention on areas ripe for improvement.
Make the dining experience seamless
In an age where control equals comfort for customers, and servers want to provide a seamless experience from order to payment, investing in a modern point-of-sale (POS) system is a no-brainer. Smart POS systems give customers the flexibility to order however they choose — online, tableside, or mobile. This not only allows each guest to tailor their own experience based on time, comfort or location, but it also saves servers’ time and reduces the potential for errors.
Simultaneously, POS systems clarify and expedite communications between the front and back of the house. Paper tickets with made-up acronyms and hard-to-read chicken scratch used to frustrate chefs, line cooks, expediters and servers, and drove food waste to an all-time high without clear fault. Point-of-sale systems alleviate all of these hurdles, increasing efficiency by establishing a direct line of communication between the customer and the kitchen team.
Keep your waitstaff happy to increase efficiency
When your waitstaff feels the love via increased tips, they’re more likely to work smarter and harder. A smart POS system that utilizes contactless payment can often increase tips by providing pre-set amounts for guests to choose from. When given three pre-populated tip amounts, customers will typically choose the middle option. By setting these amounts at 15%, 20% and 25%, managers can sway those 18% tippers to up the ante a bit and reward their staff for staying agile in today’s changing restaurant landscape.
Welcome and service guests with your website
Who — or what — is the first thing patrons see today? More often than not, it’s your website and not your hostess. This is a double-edged sword for many restaurants because online engagement is “new” and sometimes scary. At the same time, a well-built website can do so much more than an in-person hostess for both customers and the business. While updating a website may cost you time, money or both up front, its extensive reach and financial gains far outweigh the expense and effort. Use your website to make it easier for guests to find you, to improving marketing and communication strategy and efficiency, and to enhance your dining experiences, whether via online ordering or reservation management.