5 Marketing Tactics to Push You Past the Competition
Many new restaurateurs believe that the key to a successful restaurant is great food. That is important, but it’s only one ingredient. While great food is a leading contributor to success, learning how to improve restaurant ROI is at the top of the list.
With nearly 60 percent of new restaurants failing within the first year and an alarming 80 percent shuttering before the fifth year, it’s imperative you learn how to improve restaurant ROI with a few key tactics. Implementing just one or two of these tactics, especially if your competition has not, could push you to the top of your customers’ list of favorite restaurants. Plus, the beauty of these tactics is that all of them allow you to easily track the effectiveness through data, which shows you exactly the impact each has on your restaurant ROI.
But first, in order to learn how to improve your restaurant ROI, you need to learn how to calculate two equations: restaurant ROI (return on investment) and CPA (cost per acquisition):
- Profit/marketing spend = ROI, which tells you the return on investment of your marketing efforts;
- Marketing spend/number of new customers = CPA, which tells you how much it costs to acquire a new customer.
Using these two key measurements and the following tactics, starting with the back-of-house, could dramatically help you improve restaurant ROI and keep your customers coming back for more.
1. Install Back-of-House Technology
Even though your customers don’t see it, back-of-house technology is vitally important to their experience at your restaurant. Improved efficiency is just one byproduct of installing back-of-house technology, and it can also impact everything from employee safety to food quality.
KBP Foods, which operates more than 360 KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s restaurants in 14 states, utilizes a comprehensive oil management system from Restaurant Technologies and has seen dramatic results. This type of system automates the delivery, storage, handling and disposal of fryer oil for the restaurants, which contributes to employee safety and better food quality.
The oil management system handles the entire oil process for your restaurant so your employees never have to worry about transporting hot oil. And management doesn’t have to worry about employees not following proper oil management procedures.
The Restaurant Technologies system features the Total Oil Management (TOM) portal, a web-based communication tool that tracks usage and filtration data, which helps managers understand and control oil quality and cost. These daily insights also alert managers when restaurants are not properly managing the cooking oil.
KBP Foods partnered with Restaurant Technologies nearly 10 years ago and since then has increased the life of its shortening and also removed contaminants that can affect the color, taste, and smell of the food. The company has also seen a direct correlation between their usage of the oil management system and food quality and profitability.
Oil management systems are not just for fast-food restaurants. Bar Louie, a neighborhood bar and eatery that operates 70 locations, also partnered with Restaurant Technologies to manage its oil after a franchise owner noticed employees deviating from their standard oil operating procedures, which can sacrifice the quality of the oil and ultimately food quality.
As a result of installing Restaurant Technologies’ oil management system, Bar Louie now uses approximately 100 pounds of oil less per week. The chain has also seen a 50 percent decrease in Workers’ Compensation claims now that kitchen employees no longer need to handle hot oil. Plus, food quality is up and labor costs are down.
2. Use Front-of-House Technology
In a restaurant technology survey conducted by Toast, 1,115 diners all across the U.S. were surveyed about their opinions on technology in restaurants. The results showed that 79 percent agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience.
Today, front-of-house restaurant technology comes in many forms and speeds up the process of ordering and bill paying, which resonates with consumers. The ease of use found in iPad kiosks and tabletop tablets appeals to smartphone users and can also reduce labor costs and dining times in the long run.
As labor costs continue to rise, numerous restaurants are researching ways to reduce employee headcount using this type of technology. Near the end of 2015, Panera Bread rolled out Panera 2.0, which entailed outfitting 400 locations with iPad order kiosks to replace cashiers. Panera Bread found numerous benefits to using kiosk technology. The digital interface allowed them to easily communicate ingredients and nutritional value of all its menu items, which led to more personalized orders. The kiosks also resulted in shorter lines, improved accuracy of orders and reduced employee headcount.
Other restaurants, such as Olive Garden, are testing tabletop tablets to improve the customer experience. The restaurant chain added tabletop ordering systems at select locations a few years ago to gauge the effect and found that those locations with tabletop tablets saw faster dining times and higher tip percentages. Customers are happier with the faster, more convenient service and restaurants can serve more diners per night.
3. Optimize Your Website
A recent study conducted by The National Restaurant Association titled, Mapping the Technology Landscape, found that 83 percent of adults use smartphones or tablets to look up restaurant locations, directions, and hours. An additional 75 percent look up menus, 55 percent read reviews, 51 percent order takeout or delivery directly from the restaurant’s website, and 50 percent use rewards or special deals.