2020 threw unprecedented challenges our way, causing chaos throughout the food and beverage industries. In order to survive, restaurants needed to rethink the way they do business with many turning to technology to keep them afloat.
While the year is now nearly over, with more new cases of Covid-19 continuing to surface each day, the current challenges are most definitely going to spill over into 2021. As a restaurateur you need to ensure that your establishment is ready to face the upcoming twelve months and beyond. One way is to embrace the wonders of technology.
Go All Out with Online Ordering
Already fairly widespread at the beginning of 2020, once the pandemic hit, the rate of online ordering soared to heights never seen before. While initially this was an instinctive response to difficult and restrictive circumstances, now that customers have got used to the ease and convenience, it seems that online ordering is here to stay.
What makes online ordering so popular is that it is a one-stop solution for both customers and restaurateurs. It covers all the steps in the ordering process, from selecting dishes to making payment. Furthermore, customers can leave notes on special requests, while you can make recommendations for pairing and upselling dishes.
In light of its popularity and efficiency, your restaurant needs a robust online ordering system if you are to be ready for 2021. Online ordering can take two forms – websites and apps – and having both means customers can choose the platform that is most convenient for them, luring more business your way in the new year.
Digitize Your Menu
With the onset of the pandemic, many restaurants pared down their menus in order to avoid food wastage and reduce costs. When they were able to add specials, patrons were informed of it verbally so that there was no additional expense incurred with printing flyers or notices. Keeping abreast of the changes was not always easy for staff. With regular fluctuations they had to remember a lot of new information each week and sometimes each day.
These challenges can easily be overcome in the upcoming year through a digital menu. Because digital menus are dynamic, all changes that are made go live immediately. You do not have to worry about keeping customers in the loop about ingredients and specials – they will see these for themselves each time they access your menu.
Build Strong Virtual Relationships
A loyal customer base does not appear overnight; rather it must be built by fostering good customer relations. In a pre-pandemic world, this meant talking to your customers, but this is no longer viable with the limitations on face-to-face contact. This year saw virtual contact rise in significance. Given that the pandemic is far from over, digital customer relations will retain its prominence in the coming year as well, making it paramount for you to strengthen your online customer service strategies.
Emails are an efficient way of reaching your target market. Since they are directed at individual people, there is a very high chance of them being read.
Don’t forget social media. Use Instagram and Facebook to publicize your restaurant and make yourself discoverable. Keep netizens informed of your menus and special offers and encourage them to chat with you. Be creative with your content so that you keep your followers interested.
While we can all be hopeful for a better year next year, when it comes to running a business, you must be prepared to face difficulties. Technology has been a saving grace for the F&B world in 2020 and it is going to be what propels restaurant forward in 2021.