Despite the current anxiety among would-be restaurant diners, their desire to enjoy great hospitality, food and drink in their favourite establishments remains strong. After all, the last two years have seen the erosion of leisure activities so despite their fears customers are still attracted to dining out. What has changed, however, is their understanding of risk and consequently a raising of the bar when it comes to their decision-making.
Customers are now well informed, so they look for eateries which set themselves apart from those paying paying lip-service to health and safety measures. To retain existing customers and gain new ones, restaurants must convince today's diners that their establishments have invested proactively in physical and organisational measures which ensure a safe dining experience.
But how, exactly, should restaurants do this? In this short blog, we will look at five ways owners of restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars will reassure customers.
The way diners interact with their favourite brands has changed and usually starts with a visit to the businesses' website. It is critical that such sites very clearly state the measures taken to provide safe dining. A one line banner glibly stating the businesses' compliance with rules won't cut it these days – customers want to know what the safety regime looks like.
By listing the core elements of the establishment's hygiene procedures (and we mean behind the scenes, not just the basics like customer mask-wearing), together with a brief overview of any products used, restaurants will immediately score points with customers.
Customers do want to know how the restaurant will manage the physical space to maintain social distancing, so savvy business owners will outline their procedures and, if they have a high-tech restaurant management system which manages capacity they'll show it off for all to see.
Restaurant customers crave online booking and web-based ordering like never before. They are concerned about “touch points” and naturally look to the web to reduce them. By offering online reservations, a large amount of anxiety is nullified as customers take on the selection process from the comfort of their own homes. Restaurants offering such functionality will naturally appeal to the smartphone-native demographic, plus experience a welcome reduction in errors and an increase in workflow efficiency.
Current guidance and legislation for the restaurant sector aims to significantly reduce mobility within the restaurant, encouraging customers to remain seated wherever possible and orders be taken by staff at the diners' tables. The availability of order-at-table technology is a natural extension to this behaviour and one which will be appreciated by not just technology natives but those seeking ways to further reduce contact. By deploying web-based ordering via smartphone apps, restaurateurs add another piece to the customer confidence jigsaw puzzle (plus get their orders in faster and with more accuracy).
Similarly, customers' appetite for contactless payment coupled with the desire to reduce physical contact creates the perfect reason for restaurants to offer pay-at-table functionality. By utilising simple apps and recognising the general move towards mobile payments, restaurateurs can take payment wirelessly from customers keen to use their own hand-held technology from the comfort of their tables.
The comfort gained by customers from seeing the above measures implemented will dissipate quite quickly if the restaurant appears unable to manage capacity, and therefore appropriate distancing. The arrival of unexpected guests and the inevitable table-dance that follows will dent their confidence, possibly forever, in the business' ability to manage risk.
By using a restaurant management system which features comprehensive capacity safeguards, such a scenario need never arise and both customers and management will know that overbookings or non-compliant floorplans will ever arise.
Restaurant owners looking to retain and create customers in the current climate do need to provide all the necessary reassurances to a hungry public that their establishments are safe. This means going the extra mile, by deploying technology to reduce touch-points and which will sit comfortably with customers already used to transacting on their own devices.
Doing so will not only gain the restaurant significant credibility among its target demographic, but help safeguard income with the added benefit of an improvement in internal efficiencies. Having embraced and embedded these technologies, it is vital that restaurants use them as a top line point of difference by outlining their existence on websites and social media.
favouritetable is the leading technology provider for food an drink businesses in the UK. For over a decade, favouritetable has provided world-class, easy-to-use and commission-free systems to enable restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars to maximise their revenue.
For a demonstration, click the link above, call us today on 033 0124 4785 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and see why favouritetable is the best value full-feature restaurant management system on the market.