The restaurant business has always been one of wafer-thin margins. But digital ordering technologies are changing that.
In-person customer numbers are likely to remain low for a considerable time, considering the global pandemic. So it’s vital that outlets look at every possible means of increasing revenue per customer.
Fortunately, today’s digital ordering and payment technologies provide a simple way to do this.
Industry studies suggest that customers who order online may spend as much as 50% more than those who order in-house or by phone.
And not only do they spend more per order, they tend to purchase more frequently.
In the QSR, fast casual, and casual sectors of the business, particularly, order frequency may be at least 50% greater from customers ordering online. Combine that with significantly higher checks and you have a potential competitive advantage that you can’t afford to ignore.
Allowing customers to open a digital tab may increase their spend per check as they are enabled to order desserts, more sides, rounds of drinks and coffee, without having to pay again each time.
Psychologically, this reduces the hesitancy induced by the prospect of extra spending.
But a digital ordering system will only be effective if customers are aware of it and understand how to use it.
Signage in reception areas and on tables is a great start, but in the early days you may also have to use staff to demonstrate the use of downloadable QR codes and mobile apps etc.
They won’t be appropriate for every business, but self-service kiosks are a highly visible way to introduce digital ordering.
Customers greatly appreciate the ease, speed, and safety of the kiosk experience. And it can also work very well for the right outlets.
Kiosks can be programmed to promote special offers, upsells, extra sides, desserts and drinks. And the evidence is that customers are far more receptive to digital prompts than the suggestions of human wait staff.
Chili’s, for example, has reported a 20% increase in dessert sales following the introduction of kiosks. McDonald’s saw a 20% increase in add-on drink sales when offered through a kiosk, and Taco Bell recorded average digital orders at more than 20% above those taken by a waiter.
And in addition to the increased checks, digitally enabled and kiosk restaurants will also enhance their overall profitability by saving considerably on staff time
Finally, be aware that the performance of both ordering and digital payment options can be greatly increased by integration with an online loyalty program.
Research shows that some 60% of loyalty scheme members will make use of digital ordering and payment solutions, as opposed to only 5% of customers as a whole.
And it’s also well known that loyalty program members generally spend significantly more per check than other customers.
If you use a loyalty integrated POS system that offers contactless and digital payments, then customers can easily redeem their special offers and coupons – encouraging them to increasing their overall spend and to accumulate more loyalty points.
The system can also be set up to increase spend by prompting customers to re-order favorite dishes and drinks, as well as upsells etc.
And in the pandemic era, contactless payments can help build customer confidence, while also allowing faster table turns, and thereby increasing overall revenues.