5 Things Your Restaurant Should be Automating
Restaurant automation has the powerful potential to improve customer experience, as well as make restaurant operations more efficient and profitable.
In this article, we'll take a look at 5 things your restaurant should be automating – making sure you give customers consistently great service while increasing your bottom line.
1) Automate your orders and check out
Giving customers what they want is essential for restaurants to stay ahead of competitors and develop a loyal base of profitable customers. Restaurant guests want smooth, quick and efficient service at all times. They don't want to have to wait to order, or have to struggle to get a server's attention.
The answer? Automation.
- Automating customer orders via kiosks or a smartphone app has been a game changer, and it's easy for restaurants to implement. Automating orders makes things more efficient and also helps to put customers in control. Kiosks or apps take any confusion away from ordering, reducing potential errors and negative customer experiences when it comes to mistakes or long waits.
- Automate your check out. Waiting for the check is a frustrating experience for a guest– and that's not the final impression you want to leave them with. Automating your check out processes with an app or kiosk will improve customer experience, as well as efficiency.
2) Make getting customer reviews quick and easy
Restaurants rely on great reviews from diners to drive footfall, generate new leads and keep happy customers coming back. So it's essential that every restaurant makes generating engaging, quality and social-proof boosting reviews a priority.
But getting customers to write about you can be time consuming. It can slip down your list of priorities when you have other things to manage in the restaurant too.
Automating guest reviews is a great way to get reviews quickly and easily, by:
- Ask for a review immediately after a customer has logged out of your guest WiFi. Send them a direct link and also include an incentive such a free drink on their next visit for a completed review. You'll increase your review rates, as well as help encourage repeat visits.
- You can also use SMS texts to send a link to Tripadvisor or Yelp, making it quick, easy and harder for customers to ignore.
- Chatbots can be used to request reviews too. This is particularly effective if you've been using Chatbots as a customer service tool—simply ask customers to share their experiences at the end of their visit.
3) Build a quality restaurant email list
What's your subscriber list looking like? If it could do with a bit of attention, it's time to automate getting better quality email contacts.
Every restaurant should offer guest WiFi for guest satisfaction alone, but it's also an important way to quickly and consistently build an email list of quality subscribers. You'll then be able to automatically send engaging, relevant and valuable restaurant newsletters that keep your diners engaged and loyal.
You can also boost your subscriber automatically by putting together a fun restaurant quiz on social media such as Facebook. This will give you an instant database to connect with and nurture.
You'll then be able to set up auto-generated email campaigns for each segment, based on whether your emails are leads, guests to nurture, or guests to entice back to your restaurant. It's an effective way to automatically create a valuable CRM program.
4) Automate your restaurant loyalty program for powerful results
Loyalty programs work for restaurants because they make customers feel understood and valued– vital to get them keep coming back. Investing in an automated program is a great way to create the profitable, loyal customers that your restaurant needs. Instead of old fashioned punch-cards or stamped pieces of paper, using a standalone restaurant app or POS system with integrated loyalty capabilities make creating customised reward programs for every customer easily.
With this technology, you'll be able to track customer behaviour, generate important insights to make marketing more effective and tailor loyalty offers to every guest. This creates offers that people want– ensuring they're always relevant and valuable.
You'll also be able to automate loyalty-boosting practices such as contacting customers with special birthday or anniversary offers, send them a discount based on their previous orders and send them upselling offers to nudge them into the next spending bracket.
5) Use chatbots for automatic, insightful customer service
No customer wants to hang around trying to get a busy server's attention. It can make the great time they've been having in your restaurant suddenly seem pretty underwhelming.
Using automated chatbots can really help with this. Chatbots can also be used to provide real-time customer advice, taking the pressure of busy service periods and giving guests the individualised help and attention they need.
When customers log in to your guest WiFi, they can access chatbots that offer personalised food or drink recommendations, answer common restaurant FAQs, work to upsell menu items and capture further customer data automatically to improve future service.
To wrap up
Automating restaurants is a great way to keep operations profitable and efficient, as well as giving your restaurant guests a great experience that makes them want to come back. From automating essential guest reviews, to creating automatically updated and personalised loyalty programs—it's important restaurants embrace automation technology.
Hannah Hambleton is the Content Manager for Beambox. Hannah writes about marketing trends and technology for hospitality and restaurant businesses. Beambox is a guest WiFi provider, combining WiFi with an innovative marketing platform that gives businesses lasting customer insight to drive engagement and growth.