By : Jessica Lundberg
December 17, 2009 05:12 AM
In a recent study conducted by Hospitality Technology, 36.4 percent of the 260 restaurant and hotel executives surveyed said that their most important initiative for 2010 is attracting more customers. With this customer-driving initiative in mind, one third of respondents said they plan to add more value to their offering to enhance the guest experience and gain a larger customer base. Technology can play a large role in giving more value to your customers and enhancing their experience in your restaurant. It can also attract new customers to your location, helping drive growth. Below are examples of how technology can enhance the experience that guests have at your restaurant, both inside and outside of its four walls.
Tableside ordering and payment – Handheld ordering and payment devices are becoming more and more popular in the hospitality industry, allowing restaurant employees to send orders to the kitchen directly from the table as well as accepting payment tableside. Guests benefit from these devices because they increase speed of service, allowing them to receive their orders faster. Customers also enjoy being able to pay for the meal without their credit cards leaving their sight. The majority of respondents in the survey also stated that in their minds, table side ordering was one of the top POS software and hardware trends.
Customer-facing displays – For the quick service industry, customer-facing displays help guests see what items they have ordered to make sure they are rung up correctly. This way, mistakes are often caught, saving the restaurant time and money, and customers are happy knowing that they are receiving exactly what they ordered. Some customer-facing displays have the option to accept payment, giving guests the ability to swipe credit cards themselves. Restaurants can also benefit from displaying promotional items for possible up-selling opportunities.
Loyalty programs – Guests love loyalty programs that are not complicated for them to use, but give them benefits that are valuable enough to visit a restaurant. Whether you offer free appetizers or entrees for a birthday or new customer, or give a certain percentage off food, there are many different ways to create a loyalty program that fits your target market and what your guests find valuable in this type of program. Successful loyalty programs are able to attract new customers while also stimulating repeat business.
Gift cards - Offering gift cards at your restaurant is a great way to get new customers, as current customers can purchase the cards to give as gifts. Many restaurants offer discounts for gift card purchases, such as an additional 10 to 20 percent on top of the purchased price, which is attractive to guests. People are likely to revisit your restaurant if they have money leftover on a gift card as well.
Takeout option – Providing a takeout and delivery service for guests is a great way to give them more value through the convenience of ordering in their own time, and potentially never having to leave their homes or offices. People are attracted to restaurants that give them the option to come and pick up the food on their own, or to have it delivered to them with little effort on their part. This is a great way to increase sales and to attract new customers who want to try your restaurant.
Online Ordering – Online ordering can enhance the customer experience and allow guests to engage with your restaurant online and place orders conveniently. Storing previous orders and payment information also makes the process fast and easy for customers in the future. Provide a higher level of customer satisfaction by allowing them to interact with your restaurant or brand without ever having to be in the actual building. With online ordering, customers order at their own convenience and can receive a confirmation to make sure their order is accurate.