Five ways restaurants can adapt to new norms

by John Jones | Oct 05, 2020

In an ever-changing world, norms have changed and new norms have emerged. The way we deal with diners and their expectations are radically different from what we have previously delivered, while we have had to quickly absorb and implement government-measures which appear at odds with running a successful restaurant. You don’t need us to tell you this: times are tough.

Happily, there are some positives in all of this, not least the demand which still exists for great food and drink in a relaxed environment. Would-be diners are still out there, but they now have to ensure their restaurant of choice will provide an A-to-Z experience which gives them reassurance around safety.

So, on top of all of the usual pressures faced by any restaurant or eatery, business owners now have to ensure they meet new standards not just for compliance, but in order to attract and retain customers.

Here are five ways the new norms can be adopted by your restaurant, to thrill your customers.

1. Customers seek a contactless journey, from the get-go. That starts with browsing the menu and choosing from your fine selection of dishes and drinks, which would normally be done in the restaurant. By providing your menu online within your website, you remove unnecessary touchpoints and give the customer the opportunity to browse and choose in the comfort of their home, safe in the knowledge that that their favourite dish will be waiting for them.

2. Did we mention your website? This goes without saying, but can’t be stated enough: make your website authentic and compelling. Customers are making buying decisions in virtual environments these days, so take the essence of your restaurant onto the web by reflecting your voice, core values, themes, history, look & feel, colours and fonts. Put simply, make it a virtual version of your premises in which people will want to order. Poor websites reflect badly on their businesses, period.

3. Speaking of ordering, customers expect to be able to order quickly and easily from your website. Having a menu on there is great, but browsing a static PDF and then phoning the restaurant to place the order just doesn’t cut it. Would-be diners expect to choose their meals and in one click see their order secured and at a time to suit them, be it for eat-in or dine-at-home via delivery or collection.

4. Your diners have arrived at your restaurant and expect to see flawless scheduling, social distancing and proficient table management. If they don’t get it, they won’t come back (and possibly won’t even stay for their meal). Thankfully, technology once again comes to the rescue in the form of systems which manage this for you, ensuring your customers enjoy custom timeslots with the ability to order right from their tables using a smartphone, if they haven’t pre-booked on the web. The very best systems have easy to use visual table plans to facilitate table distancing while maximising revenues.

5. So, your kitchen brigade has provided a wonderful meal, accompanied by the best wines and delivered by your faithful waiting team. It’s now time for the guests to pay. Cash isn’t king these days and happy diners expect to pay in a contact-free way, again from their tables. In its simplest form this can be the wave of a debit or credit card at a wireless PDQ terminal, but seeing the bill on a smartphone and paying online is much preferred by customers.

To conclude, in addition to providing a high level of food & drink, ambience and service, restaurant owners now have the added pressure of using their application of health measures to further encourage and retain customers. Done properly and with the right technology (which needn’t be scary), new ways of working can be introduced which not only comply with legislation but actually increase customer satisfaction, enhance the experience and create a high level of advocacy.

The Favouritetable online restaurant management system includes an all-in-one suite of functionality to turn compliance into happy customers, including modules for online booking & pre-ordering, table pre-ordering & payment and timeslot scheduling. Built by a team who are restaurateurs at heart, the system also boasts a host of ever-evolving world-class functionality for managing restaurants, including an intuitive booking diary, graphical table plans, marketing module and customer database. Best of all, there’s no commission, ever, and a free one month trial.

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