Posted by Tara Stanton
Restaurateurs know firsthand the importance of staying on top of the latest culinary trends. After all, this is a business that revolves around food. But when it comes to technology and things that belong in the digital realm, many find it hard to keep up.
And that's a problem. Not merely because restaurateurs need to keep up with the times or even because technology can streamline operations and save money. The fact is, with the explosion of new websites and mobile apps, the face of the foodservice business is changing. In order to maintain their financial health, foodservice businesses need to adapt and keep pace with the changing demands of today’s modern customer.
A few examples of how things are changing
Today more and more people prefer to order their necessary items without talking to someone, and this means they are looking to order off their phone or other digital device. To capture these customers, businesses need to offer online ordering.
Fortunately, acquiring such services doesn't require the help of an in-house IT team. There are a number of services, such as Zuppler, that can integrate an easy-to-use ordering platform on a webpage, manage technical details and even provide analytics on what items are popular and where people are ordering from.
In addition to using an online ordering system, many businesses have also partnered with third-party websites and services to assist with the delivery of goods. Along with providing a delivery service, websites such as GrubHub and Bitesquad give the restaurants they partner with added exposure through listing them on their sites. This also produces potential for increased brand awareness and customer traffic.
Another service that is gaining in popularity is Square Order, which allows customers to order food, pay ahead of time and have their food ready when they arrive. This is particularly popular with morning and afternoon rushes, when people are in a hurry and would like to pick up their sandwich or morning pastries without waiting.
Physical changes to your business
With more ways for people to order and enjoy your food, you’ll also have to restructure some aspects of your business. Namely, more resources will have to go into processing orders and streamlining pick-up options. Additionally, your service potential is no longer limited by the number of seats in your business, so you will likely have to add more cooks and preparation staff to manage orders at peak times. Depending on your volume, you may have to allocate extra space in your dining area or back of the house in order to do this.
The industry's digital shift has already begun, so now it's up to you to determine how you will capitalize on it. Whatever you decide, follow the lesson put forth by your customers — you don't want to wait.
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