Restaurant management is key to any restaurant success. It takes a significant amount of time and invest to get the formula right – the current mix of all the ingredients that make a restaurant do well – the operations, the marketing, the user experience online, the guest experience offline and not to mention good food, that keeps your guests smacking their lips.
Yes, in that scenario, wouldn’t it be great that technology takes up say (n-2) of those (n) functions that a restaurant needs?
Looking for Retaurant Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best restaurant management software solutions.
Lucky for you we live in a time and age where technology has all the answers. Restaurant Software has developed to such an extent that manual intervention has become minimum (if not redundant) in most operations.
The Restaurant Management ecosystem is now very advanced, mostly automated and will help you focus your time and energy on the quality of your food and customer service at the restaurant. However, the challenging part is to zero down on a specific system or technology set that will prove to be the right fit for your restaurant.
The technologies and restaurant software available in the industry will provide you products for restaurant operations, online ordering, customer relationship management, table reservation, restaurant analytics, inventory management, loyalty management, website and app builders and so forth.
If you are in the restaurant business, you will understand the issues in dealing with them manually or with siloed restaurant software that just would not get it right for you. Think of it this way, how about one set-up that gives you the entire ecosystem? Like a holistic restaurant management system?
Restaurant operations need to be simplified. No doubt about that. As a restaurant grows, you need to ensure that a system takes care of all your operational chores. Particularly if you have outlets across the city and outside, you will need to be constantly on top of your data at all times.
Also, these restaurant software should integrate seamlessly with your other systems (like an Online Ordering system must sync in to your loyalty system and CRM systems)
Having technologies existing in silo across the entire restaurant technology stack can be expensive. Not just from an economic perspective but the time taken to learn multiple softwares is rather painful. Then retraining new staff is again a pain. Having one stack would be great in that scenario.
So should you be investing in a complete Restaurant management system? In this write-up, we will elaborate on the need of a broad restaurant software stack, broad headers that come under the scope of a restaurant management system. And at the end of it, you may want to decide which of these operations is of critical importance to you and needs your attention.
What is a Restaurant Management System?
A restaurant management system is the complete stack of technology, restaurant software and marketing modules that you will need to manage your business. It takes over the operations and marketing of your business. We will be breaking down all the units that comprise a successful restaurant stack and drill down very deep into it to provide you a holistic picture of all that you need.
We will first define the various functions such as online orders, table bookings & incoming orders management, reducing the order processing time, Inventory management, marketing campaigns management, customer acquisition.
Important features of a restaurant management system
A Cloud based system manages your data really efficiently. It allows data to be pulled from remote servers (and not local servers). Traditionally, restaurant management systems used to operate offline, they were like this huge system which had high costs of installation on-premise and data was stored in local servers. The high risk from a data storage and security perspective.
The restaurant Cloud POS systems (unlike the traditional POS) operate from remote servers and has zero set up costs, just a monthly amount for renewal of the service (like Netflix!). It also integrates with Analytics, Customer Relationship Management, Loyalty Management and Inventory management to make the system more complete and comprehensive.
2. Point-of-Sale Operations
POS operations largely include punching orders, printing Kitchen Order Tickets, takes care of restaurant billing and handles all your invoicing and data management requirements.
Besides this, the integrations with CRM modules allows it to predict trends in data and helps gauge restaurant customer preferences effectively via analytics that helps in predictive selling Loyalty. And all the metrics that matter are also fed into the system to provide you a picture of how your business fares on a periodic basis.
3. Inventory or stock management
Provides you intelligence on the inventory levels so that you can take action on poor performing items.
4. Marketing & CRM module
Marketing helps you acquire new customers and retain the existing ones. A restaurant management software stack allows you to automate most of the interactions with well laid out campaign automation that will help you expedite your interactions with your customers.
This will create a strong recall of your brand on their minds with engaging offers, discounts and daily specials which you may wish to promote through your marketing campaigns. Your marketing automation & CRM should definitely delight your customers with excellent messaging, offers or events. And more importantly, all this will be automated!
Centralization allows you a single system for all your critical functions,. Say you have multiple outlets and are perturbed about what goes on in the other outlets. And you want the analytics and informations then and there, real time. In that scenario wouldn’t it be great to have a single interface for all your questions? A restaurant management system will allow just that
How do you look at scaling up and spreading into multiple outlets? When you make that decision it is important that your technology can also be scaled up at the same time. Yes, a restaurant management system that is easier to scale up is something that you should consider while laying out the investment on you restaurant management software. As the softwares are on the cloud, adjusting to multiple outlets is no longer a problem.
When all your integrations are perfectly laid out, it is only easier to have them give you good results. Integrations give you better intel and your operations get faster and more efficient.
Hence before you invest in a management system, you should ensure that the stacks are compatible with your existing system so that the integration process is simplified. Integrations with online ordering systems, order management, table reservation software, IVR and cloud telephony, loyalty programs, Marketing software & third party sites will enable a fully functional restaurant management system.
Benefits of a centralized restaurant management system
1. Easy to use
The interfaces of a restaurant management system are made for ease of usage, an excellent experience for restaurant staff. Also, thanks to the simple to use restaurant softwares, it is easier to train new joinees and helps reduce training costs in terms of time and money.
2. Support Availability
Good restaurant management systems provide you with quick support when you need them, The vendor team will have available personnel who can quickly support you in case you wish to resolve an issue or need help in troubleshooting support.
3. Analytics & Reporting
With the advent of data into analytics and insights reportings, restaurants are able to make much more informed decisions. Restaurants define a few key metrics and analyse traffic from there. The goal of any analytics system is to throw light on what is working and what is not, derive meaningful conclusions from data and gauge the ROI of all your efforts.
Your restaurant management analytics which is merged with your restaurant management system gives you all the insights that you need. Customer data collection & processing allows you to have a strong Analytics set up and is critical for your restaurant success.
4. Theft control & Security
Before investing in a system, do check what kind of threats it can be susceptible to. As your system is now mobile, it may be operated from different locations and different people increasing the likelihood of leaking of essential information.
Keeping that in mind, your software should be designed to make it immune against all possible invasions. Als,o an infrastructure of safety can be put in place to protect against the slim but possible likelihood of external threats, malware, data security issues & network security trouble.
Your restaurant management system is a storehouse of all the personal data of your customers, your office, billing details and so forth. In that scenario, your Restaurant Management System must ensure data privacy and protection for both you and your customers.. A good software security architecture should enable all this so that it can be run and operated on with minimal risk
As mentioned before , the new Restaurant Management System is pretty much mobile. The days of on-premise bulky infrastructure are over and now you have the systems present on mobile and your personal devices – laptops, ipads, mobile phones and more.
6. Payment integrations
Your system should also accept all kinds of payment integrations to provide multiple payment options to your customers. Also should be linked with your loyalty schemes (during check outs),
That covers the introduction to Restaurant Management Systems. Now coming to each of the components of a restaurant management system. We will take you through each, in detail.
- Point of Sale for Restaurants (Restaurant POS)
- Online Ordering
- Integrations with third party aggregators
- Restaurant Marketing (CRM)
Choosing the right POS for your restaurant business is by no means an easy decision. Especially because today a restaurant POS software is not just used for billing, ticketing and printing KOTs. It is the central unit for a restaurant’s business.
A restaurant POS not only does the main operational activities mentioned above but is a source for inventory management, data analytics and customer marketing solutions to engage customers.
Benefits you can get through your POS
Restaurants need excellent software management systems to ensure that their restaurant runs well and fast. Here we have listed a few benefits of having a POS at your restaurant.
1. Improving Kitchen Efficiency
Restaurant POS helps improve communication between the restaurant staff. Like the backend staff at the kitchen and the front end, customer facing ones. It helps in reducing the time of wait for the customer between him placing the order and receiving the food.
With faster turn around the experience of a customer is enhanced a notch and is definitely one of the metrics to be measured periodically Further, restaurant POS systems give you knowledge in terms of the most popular items at the restaurant – helps you plan better and forecast future demand.
2. Controlling Theft
With data getting stored and analysed like never before, your restaurant POS is now able to keep track of the stock getting used up – cancelled/void food. The POS at your restaurant assists you in pinpointing theft via data figures.
Also going wrong is significantly increased when manual intervention is involved. POS helps you automate the number work and minimises the probability of miscalculations
3. Improving Customer interactions
A modern day restaurant POS is a data powerhouse and data driven marketing allows you to bucket customer easily (say via order size or repeat visits). This customer segmentation further helps in precise campaigning and leads to greater success of retention/win-backs. More on this a little later.
4. Integrating POS to your Loyalty to Drive Repeat Business
How do you make your customers keep coming back to your restaurant. Yes, they could come back ‘naturally’ through the excellent food you serve or maybe certain other reasons which you are not really aware of. But as i told you that you could control this number to some extent. How? By running successful win-back campaigns. One of them is good Loyalty programs.
Few ways in which Restaurant Loyalty can be:
- On first interactions, punch him his details
- Take down phone number, email ID and track repeat visits and add reward points
- Give a status update via email and phone on how the offers can be redeemed
- Provide Special discounts only for point holders
- Give incentives for social media engagements – more engagement more loyalty points
We will be taking up Restaurant Marketing in more detail later in this article.
Using Restaurant POS for insights – Data driven approach
As POS gives you all the data, you may want to organize and obtain insights via a few well-defined metrics. Metrics should directly correlate with your business goals so that they can add more meaning to the purpose of the analysis.
A few important metrics have been listed below – you can target more
- Staff turnover rate
- Food usage reports
- Restaurant CRM metrics – engagement ratios and so forth
Choosing the best restaurant Point of sale solution for your restaurant might be a daunting task given that there will be many out there offering it. In that scenario, you should have a handy checklist ready to see if all the features are covered in your POS
Some Must-Have Restaurant POS Features and Benefits
1. Simplicity and Efficiency
New age technology has made Restaurant POS – simple and easy to use. Staff can be trained on the nuances of a restaurant POS quickly. It is simple as it centralises all restaurant operations into one (it syncs in all the important features like Online Ordering, Inventory Management and Reporting & Analytics) and serves as a complete and holistic restaurant management system.
The traditional POS is replete with limitations and the upgrade to the modern POS is something that restaurants need to do in order to stay competitive.
2. A More prudent investment – financially and operationally
When you invest in a restaurant hardware, you need to incur a high cost of setting up In the case of the modern POS you need to pay monthly recharge fees also the hardware is limited. You don’t have to depend upon those heavy built machineries any more.
95% of restaurant owners unanimously agree that technology improves the efficiency of the restaurant. Easy-to-use, and reliable single restaurant management solution is the most attractive feature the POS at your restaurant can have.
3. Software Updates
As the Restaurant management system is run via softwares, regular software updates are common in the modern set-up. This helps your restaurant POS to be up to date and trendy and ensures you don’t become outdated.
4. Valuable Reporting and Analytics
- POS is powered by data and data when structured properly provides you meaningful insights
- Provides you intelligence on food wastage, which outlets are doing well, staff attrition and more.
5. CRM Integrations
Customer relationship management is important as the business that accrues through repeat business is usually way higher. Also these customers become your brand advocates and ensure more people join your brand. In this case making customers feel wanted is essential.
Loyalty and gift card programs are common tactics to have customers keep coming back for more.
With more data, it is possible to neatly segment customers into relevant buckets and target well-directed campaigns to each of these segments increasing the chances of conversions.
6. Fast Customer Support
POS going on the cloud needs constant vigilance from the support teams (on the vendor side) to ensure that client issues and needs are constantly addressed. Most of the queries can be answered by intelligent chatbots whereas more complex issues are taken up by the technical team.
Rapid customer support is critical for your POS system.
Types of POS systems: Traditional VS Cloud
We have mentioned innumerable times on how a restaurant cloud POS system triumphs over a legacy/traditional set-up. We will quickly take you through the definitions and some key points of difference you should be aware of
What’s a Traditional Restaurant POS system?
A Traditional POS system helps you store your data on a local server, in an on-site set-up. It is an on-premise model. They were used for mainly taking over the major restaurant main features of operations and billing. Some of the issues faced by the restaurants in using this system was it was highly inconvenient and increased problems for a restaurants.
The major problems were data loss risks, data security issues, high costs of setting up data,no updates (you had to buy a new replacement for your obsolete models, no software updates!)
What is a Cloud Restaurant POS?
As the name suggests, a cloud POS allows you to go on the cloud much like a Google drive works. All your data gets stored on remote servers and all you need is a working internet connection to make it work for you. The kind of benefits which a Cloud system gives you is – all your operations, data storage, analytic and marketing.
Why is Cloud Restaurant POS better than its legacy counterpart?
1. Enhanced Security & less maintenance
With data getting stored on remote servers – you can rest assure that your data is safe. Ever seen your data on Google drive go missing? Never, right?
2. Real-Time Updates
If you use one of those Apple iPhone cellphones you will see that they undergo a high number of updates. Might be little irritating for you as a user, but it allows your mobile to stay up to date with the latest versions of the software.
That is exactly what happens in the case of a Cloud POS – the updates keep happening ensuring that the software is the latest one and you are not getting outdated. On the other hand, legacy POS needs manual updates of the server which is very time consuming and ensures you’re always using the latest version of the software.
3. Operates offline as well
Most Cloud Restaurant POS systems work offline too. Data gets stored (auto-saved) as you use it and when the power outage happens you can keep using the system. No switch offs. The moment the internet is restored, data gets auto-synced. So not just online, your POS is well equipped to work offline.
Traditional POS system required you to pay high costs of setting up. On the other hand, Cloud restaurant POS need monthly subscription payments only. You can easily back out from a plan without thinking much along the lines of foregone cost.
6. Fully Integrated Systems
The Cloud POS is easily integrated to your online Ordering, CRM software that gives it a holistic restaurant management software appeal.
7. Connected to mobile 24*7
Most of us are super comfortable with mobile and tablet devices. The POS will be this tool on your mobile or tablet that will make life for you super-easy in terms of quick punching and order taking. Also quick changes to the menu and online ordering can be now made on a mobile, you do not have to travel all the way to make that change in your on-premise legacy POS. That is passe.
8. Verdict? Cloud!
Clearly the Cloud POS triumphs over a Legacy POS in terms of easy usage, simple to promote and a truckload of benefits that were mentioned above. Cloud Restaurant POS also syncs in with your entire restaurant management system – in other words, it pairs up well with your Online Ordering Platform, Third Party aggregator sites, CRM solutions
9. Online Ordering
Online ordering platforms are great as they help you do away with the middlemen – who usually charge an exorbitant rate as a commision percentage. Also all the restrictions of a third party platform in terms of off-tune aesthetic, poor positioning can now be done away with, once you get your own online ordering platform up and running.
Remember the times you had to call up a restaurant and confirm your order? You see how that is changed over the years with people increasingly taking the online route to lace orders. That way there is more precision in the ordering process and smoothness in terms of the operations,
A few of the issues which clients might bring up could be “Why would I order on your website, I might as well continue to use a Swiggy”. “Why invest in it when i might not get people to come onto it”
The list goes on. There is awareness about the importance of going online but restaurants are reluctant to invest in their own online ordering platform.
What is the roadblock?
They (Restaurant owners) just don’t feel it is worth the investment – besides most companies are currently tagged to a third party online ordering platform. Companies therefore stick with the third party aggregators, hence benefiting through their reach but in the process lose a sizeable chunk when as commissions.
However, the advantages of your own online ordering system are endless – first, your own brand your style. Higher profits, as now there is no longer a need to pay the third party aggregators and finally the ability to make A/B changes to the UX obviously are a few of the many advantages your system will provide.
Below you can find a list of reasons why you should definitely (atleast!) consider investing in an online ordering system.
Why go in for an Online Ordering System at Your Restaurant?
Companies are increasingly ordering through online websites as compared with other modes of communication hence it is a no brainer to invest in the platform. It is just not us saying so, here are some statistical facts around online ordering –
- According to Statista, since 2014, about 30% of diners aged between 18 – 54 have placed orders at a restaurants via their mobile phones or tablets
- QSR Web says that digital restaurant ( which is similar to the concept of the cloud kitchen) ordering is growing at a speed of 300 percent times faster than that of dine-in traffic.
1. Online Ordering drives revenue
When you call people onto your website, things just get easier and convenient. You don’t have the pressure of your competition being displayed to your right hence user hopping from one restaurant to the other is minimal.
Also you don’t have to fit everything into one space hence a larger range of your menu items can now be displayed on your screen and this will be benefit you as you can throw multiple food items on a screen without worrying about the space crunch.
So convenience obviously is way higher for your own portal which further translates into greater orders from your customers.
2. Order Accuracy Improves
Once you go online, there is a low risk of orders being incorrectly placed due to a ‘got lost in translation’ reasoning, All those painful telephonic conversations come into mind where the voice of the customer isn’t audible or his accent is too difficult to comprehend. This leads to a larger probability of the orders going wrong and increased costs in terms of wasted food and repeat visits for the delivery guys also results in time wastage.
3. Integrating customisations – your platform, your way
With your own online ordering platform, you can make the changes as per your discretion. You will have the liberty of making tweaks to the online order menu, design changes and other changes that you feel relevant. No questions.
4. No commissions
The kind of cuts which you have to pay to third party aggregators is as high as 20-25% for top brands. And you are very dependent on these companies if you do not have your own order online. Imagine if they decide to levy a 50% commision tomorrow.
That will really hit the bottom line of your business. To safeguard against this, it is always great to have an alternate medium of business. With your ordering platform you do away with the commissions and decrease he dependency on third party for selling your food.
5. No more losing business to competition
In Third party aggregator sites, it is common to see your competition’s menu displaying which may attract or pique the interest of the buyer. On your domain, you can control the whole screen and decide what you wish your customers to see. So no more losing business to rival companies and more revenue for you!
6. You Collect Crucial Customer Data
Data is a very important tool which allows you to understand what works best for your business. It lets you predict and forecast future trends and makes you direct your business accordingly. When you have your own online ordering platform, you can track key website metrics like time on specific pages, most converted pages and so on allowing you to understand customer behavior.
Online Ordering gives you the freedom to do things your way. It also liberates you from paying those dreadful commissions to the third party aggregators. So why not invest in them and make a new additional channel of business through them?
Integrations with 3rd party aggregator sites
Restaurant software must seamlessly integrate with the 3rd party aggregator sites such as Swiggy, Ubereats, Foodpanda. That will provide a systematic way of arranging all the orders that are coming in via all channels in a single analytics dashboard.
Restaurant Management systems are equipped with integrations that combine all aggregators and provide you the status of requests over the given period of time. No more manual management
Features and benefits of an Order Management Platform
- Enables a smooth order flow
- Manages Calls on as ingle dashboard
- Provides in-depth reporting and analytics
- Instant notifications for order updates
The restaurant ordering management platform software will also allow you to make changes to the menu at the Click of a button. Say Swiggy is showing the menu a certain way. If you update your menu, it will auto-update your menu not just on Swiggy and your Online Ordering portal, but across all 3rd party sites. Won’t that be super convenient?
An order management platform aggregates all your channels of sales under a single dashboard making it easy for you to monitor channel success and keeps you notified and what’s happening, real-time.
Restaurant Marketing or CRM systems help restaurants send out their campaigns in an automated fashion – to engage them to keep them coming back to you. Acquiring new customers is far more expensive than retaining new customers. keeping this statistically backed point in mind (a study conducted by HBR), we have a strong enough case to drive well laid out CRM campaigns.
Building a CRM campaign has several steps.
Number 1: Defining the target audiences you want to be going after
Number 2: Position the product (food) accordingly, analysing the competitor firms and seeing how they position the product you’re selling
Number 3: Identify channels through which you can reach your target audiences
Number 4: Create Campaigns and analyse campaign success through well defined metrics.
Points 1-3 are things which you do at eh very beginning of setting up of a restaurant. Point 4 too but CRM effectiveness can be measured once you are deeper into your business in terms of tenure.
Point 4 needs discipline and needs consistency. Once the channels are identified, you need to ensure that campaigns are auto-sent to the audiences basis the actions they take. Say a guy comes to your restaurant for the first time. You take down his details at the order placing counter and he had a very fulfilling meal. He thanks you for the excellent food and he leaves. Your job starts now. See, he liked the food.
There is no reason why he shouldn’t come again. But what if he doesn’t. You’ll have to take the first step – you have his details – start the CRM campaign, thank him for his visit and on the subsequent dates keep him in the loop for any special offers, discounts he can avail. This would be sent via email/SMS to name a few channels.
What you need is a CRM solution that works in an automated fashion and helps you retain the customers and making them your permanent brand advocates.
Here we will present a list of 7 ideas that will help you structure and build a great base for your CRM campaign.
Objective definitions first
First things first – why do you wish to run a CRM campaign, what are the objectives? What goals do you wish to drive via your CRM strategy.
So define the objectives first. That’ll make your campaign more effective.
We have defined a set of generic objectives below.
1. Creating a Brand Identity
Customers should know who you are, what kind of food you offer – your brand should resonate in their hands – strong sense of identity – like Mcdonalds is synonymous with burger. Sure, this takes years of marketing, years of being there but that is where restaurants dream to get, right?
2. Running promotions
To keep your customers excited about what new things are cooking (literally) at your restaurant, you might want to grab their eyeballs through the promotions you run every now and then.
3. Make use of seasonal flavours and events
At times, all you need is an occasion to celebrate – national events, holidays, sports matches, food festivals and so forth. Be in the look out for such happenings and do your marketing campaigns around them.
4. Reminding customers where they should eat at
Sometimes, customers need a little extra push. They will not order from you all the time, sometimes they may not order from you for longer time periods. Your CRM tool can help you figure out who those customers are and send curated emails and callouts to them asking them to return to your restaurant.
5. Leveraging Loyalty Programs
The Everybody loves value. The beauty of good loyalty programs is that they drive at precisely that. More they come to you, more their loyalty points grow and it becomes that much harder for them to not come to you. Loyalty programs ensure repeat business and can be layered bais the kind of engagements they have made with your brand.
6. Increasing the order-size
Up-selling Seen those offers in which companies be like Buy 2 burgers get 2 cokes free – in marketing we call it bundling and we provide small discounts to ensure that restaurant see value in it – designing such modules and integrating them with your CRM campaign is a great idea.
Post goal definition you need to cluster your customers into relevant segments . Marketing campaigns have little point unless they result in more leads and more business. Yes, money. How do you do your messaging in quick time and also ensure successful hits that results in more revenue for your business?
Messaging must be relevant. And for good messaging it must be absolutely relevant to that user. For 100% relevancy, you obviously need to study each user and understand what appeals to him most and design a campaign specifically for him. Yes that is great, but will also take ages. And you probably do not have much time to devote to this activity, given that you have other restaurant activities to tend to.
So the next best alternative available to you is categorise your data based on their behaviour. CRM softwares once trained do this by themselves
Common ways of conducting or defining segments are listed below
- Frequency of orders
- How active customers are
- Time of order
- Order size
If a customer places an order after midnight you can assume that he is late eater or maybe if late orders are coupled with heavy order sizes, you can assume that maybe he is a party freak! And you can message accordingly. If he regularly places order on weekends you can push message him early on Saturdays telling him the offers you have today and so one. Selling o existing customers is a lot easier as they already know you. They only have to order again!
The pillars of CRM success: SMS and E-Mail
SMS: SMS programs have a character limit – you have little room for manoeuvring an content really is king here – no images, no flashy gifs. Content might boil down to 40-50 words – eye catching content would obviously guarantee success.
In Email, you definitely have more leeway than the sms. More words, you can insert a picture, videos and catch the attention of the prospect in many more ways. However the trick here is to follow a few guidelines
1. Catchy subject lines – Most customers will not even open the mail
2. Text snippet – good complementary additions to the subject line
3. No spammy words – do not use words like free or money references, you might end up in the Spam folder
You really must click with the customer in the body of your email. Make it quirky, make it fun. Make them want to order from you. A conversational tone might help.You could use images to create a visual appeal.
Your CRM will give you access to a lot of data This data will help you make segments and target accordingly. The tool will also generate reports for you which will give you a better sense of data.
Consistency is key
Consistency is important when it comes to running campaigns. Consistent campaigns result in more data coming in. More data coming in is important as they then become insights when passed through your Analytics software.. Once you have enough data for a given period , you should make A/B changes to the campaign and then again re-evaluating the engagement impacted
Feedback collection is an important tool to keep a track of what your customers are saying about you. They come in the form of reviews/feedback/ratings/comments and so forth. Often at restaurant you see you get a form (paper) asking you to provide your comments to let the restaurant know if you liked the food.
They are MCQs mostly with maybe one suggestion box at the end. Familiar with those? They were the older ways of obtaining feedback. Imagine how cumbersome that process would be to manually make a list of all the data and then making sense out of it. Time consuming as hell.
And sometimes you have one at the ordering desk itself. Or tablets stationed across the restaurant asking for your feedback. But then again they may again be boring forms you must fill with in.
Feedback allows you to get good data and allows you to figure out what works.
Let’s elaborate on the why feedback a bit more.
1. Positive reviews
Positive reviews is always a great thing. It keeps your morale up and builds the confidence (in your brand) of those reading it.. When customers like your services they may even be encouraged to spread the word about your brand. Bad reviews also help you improve areas where you are currently lagging and give you a holistic picture of how you are performing.
2. Online reputation management
Protecting the image of your brand online is important. But that is talking defensive. You should provide great services to your customers so that they are encouraged to write good stuff about you and you can in turn push it online (with their permission).
As people rely on online reviews for making their restaurant choice decisions. It makes sense that you monitor the feedback tool. Softwares are built to gauge the sentiments of your customers and that can be evaluated to understand them better. If it is in social, then social listening is done via tools to gauge the positive/negative sentiment of the people.
3. More menu ideas
The more descriptive sections of the feedback forms allow the customers to express what they missed out. If you want to know more from the customer you should ask them what did you missing out in the menu. And see what the major chunk of people are saying about what they miss the most in the menu items. After all, customer satisfaction comes from giving the customers what they want right?
4. Data analytics
Collecting More data means more intelligence about what goes right and wrong . More data , more precision and better insights on the customers. It could be various aspects – quality of food, order time, customer wait time. This data can be analysed by you periodically to make the needed changes to your business. Actionable insights that can be ploughed back into the business.
1. Post-meal feedback forms
After customers finish their meal, you could offer them a feedback form in which they can express their opinion on how they liked the food. Most restaurants practice this through well made forms given along with the bill (especially in dine-in restaurants). These forms are mostly still paper forms , enquiring about the overall experience of a customer
2. Face to Face feedback
Adding a more personal touch is obviously highly recommended. Makes customers feel great and important is a must. It is the responsibility of the waiters to be there for the customers. Waiters are the front end and they get to interact with the customers. They should definitely think about asking a few questions and encourage them to fill in the feedback form.
3. SMS and Email again
Sometimes a simple text mailer with a clear call to actions will work just fine. While SMS works just fine, leaving an email might be another line of attack for you. Specially for the avid email users. You should also provide a few actionable CTAs like “Do provide your feedback here, if you haven’t already!” or “Let us know about your experience at our restaurant. We would love to hear from you!”. (Feedback link)
Integrating a restaurant feedback system into your overall restaurant management system is of great value. It keeps customers engaged and increases their chances of repeat visits. Once the reviews or ratings go live they serve as advertisement s for your brand and the customers become your advocates.
Restaurants understand the importance of this system and designing feedback systems are key to your CRM module.
4. Winning back lost customers
Collected feedback and engaged with customers but hey simply do not come back! So how do you get lost customers back to your restaurant? How do you re-catch his attention?
Winning back customers involves identifying unique segments of lost customers and driving well created and targeted campaigns to them to ensure they purchase from you again.
Now the channels of reach out are the same. SMS, Email, and maybe push notifications together can do the trick. What is more important is how to win them over.
5. Segment your customers
Put your customers into neat categories. These categories could be decided on how they perform against a few defined metrics. To get you started, we have listed down a few below which will allow you to do better targeting and increase the likelihood of conversion or winning back lost customers
- Order Size – 2 categories – high order size or low order size
- Activity on your site – you can do retargeting via Social Media, you can use both Instagram and Facebook for this. You can further segment into more time on site or less time on site
What to share on the win-back campaigns?
It doesn’t matter how good the restaurant software, how good the restaurant management system or the CRM system that you have in place, at the end of the day, it boils down to good messaging (both the content and the images) in the content
1. What new is cooking at your restaurant
Remind customers what they are missing out. Tell them about the excellent food that they will be served if they walk into your outlet today. Put in images of delicious food that makes his mouth water and he is propelled to order from your restaurant. Also, make sure the customer is aware of all the news at your restaurant – like change in the menu items, brand new outlet opening and the likes.
2. Offer incentives on the next visit or order
Drive at value – that always gets them. Tell them about the value they’ll miss out. Like the discounts (40% off just for today for you, our valuable customer), bundle meals and give nice combo packs (Buy 2 get 1 free), something free (Free ice-cream at the end of the meal today!). All these are aimed at customers, making them come back to your restaurant.
3. Engage them through contests and giveaways
Getting favourable responses from your customers is done via trial and error. You could put in a contest and a giveaway every now and then. Remember the giveaways Mcdonalds gave in their Happy Order Meal. Little toys which they could either get at the end of their meal or redeem with the points won.
What an excellent way of keeping the customer coming back for more. Contest or giveaways are asuper cost effective way of engaging your customer, making him break free from the same old order, eat and go Home routine. It helps them feel more involved and make their experience more fun!
You can try out the following,
- Guess the new location/food launch
- The Netflix quiz
- Most ordered dish voting
- Hollywood trivia on the flat screen
- Game of Thrones – Guess the Character
All these involving the hottest and most trending stuff. Invokes interest and helps in awesome engagements. Also creates a happy atmosphere. A nice outing is always remembered and the chances of repeat visiting would also increase!
The Bottom Line
Restaurant Management Systems are the complete suite. Be it the latest Cloud Restaurant Point of Sale software or the Online Ordering platform or the 3rd party integrations software and ofcourse your complete CRM solution, all of this encompasses a significant chunk of your restaurant needs.They are not the siloed restaurants software and hardware packs sold in the past. They are smooth, easy to manage, affordable fast and the hottest things out there.
In this article we covered all the important pillars of a restaurant management system. Help you get started and doing your own research on it. We understand as a restaurant owner or manager, being on top of all the daily restaurant functions.
By functions we mean all the functions including Operations and Billing, attracting customers through your online ordering and CRM campaigns. Marketing to ensure customers keep coming back to you and managing the performance and daily operations of the 3rd party aggregators through your software dashboard.
All this sold as one pack, under one restaurant management system will make your job easier via technology and automation. Well, welcome to the modern age of restaurant technology!