Improve ROI for Long Term Success
Many new restaurateurs are so focused on cooking great food, they forget that the number one ingredient for their success is return on investment (ROI).
Nearly 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year and an alarming 80 percent shutter before the fifth year. Restaurants that focus on ROI are more likely to be their customers’ favorite place to eat for many years to come. How? By embracing technology to improve efficiencies and connect with customers.
Your customers don’t see it, but back-of-house (BOH) 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 our end-to-end oil management solution and has seen dramatic results. This type of system automates the delivery, storage, handling, and disposal of fryer oil for restaurants — contributing to employee safety and better food quality.
The Restaurant Technologies solution also features a web-based monitoring 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 has increased the life of its shortening and also removed contaminants that can affect the color, taste, and smell of the food. They’ve 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 affect the quality of the oil and ultimately food quality.
As a result of installing Restaurant Technologies’ oil management solution, 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.
Today, front-of-house (FOH) 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.
An Optimized Website
Where do customers go when they want to see your menu, location, or hours of operation? Your website. Is it mobile-friendly? Easy to navigate? If not, they might just move on to the next place.
A responsive website is a mobile-friendly website that adapts to all screen sizes including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computer screens. Not only does a responsive site keep your customers happy, but it also keeps Google happy, which is critical. In 2015, Google Search rolled out an update that increased the effect of its mobile-friendly ranking signal with a goal of helping users find websites that are relevant and mobile-friendly. As a result, a website that is not mobile-friendly will not rank as high as one that is.
Ordering food from a restaurant with a smartphone is a preferred method among most diners. And most mobile technologies can track certain characteristics of its users, including customer location, providing restaurants with valuable data.
Studies show that mobile and online ordering capabilities can improve sales by encouraging customers to spend more and visit more often due to convenience. A Deloitte survey found that 40 percent of frequent restaurant visitors prefer to order online and will spend 26 percent more per order at quick service restaurants (QSRs) and 13 percent more in casual and fast casual establishments. The number of visits tends to increase as well because the technology makes it easy to repeat previous orders. The survey also revealed the options that restaurant customers value most: online ordering, payment flexibility, and customization. These options can have a direct impact on dining frequency, check size, customer conversion and loyalty.
Measure and Adjust
Successful restaurant operators continually measure and adjust their marketing to understand their restaurant ROI. Marketing can quickly eat into your overall budget so it’s imperative to continually measure your efforts and adjust as needed.
As marketing tactics and technology continue to evolve at a lightning-fast pace, it’s often difficult to not only stay on top of the latest trends but to also know which will be most effective for your particular style of restaurant. Most restauranteurs will try many of the latest marketing tactics to attract new customers. The successful ones will use metrics to track their efforts, keeping the tactics that prove to be successful and eliminating the ones that are not.
Once you have your metrics in place, it’s important to understand this data in comparison to your competitors. Develop a standard set of metrics to use as a benchmark to gauge your success or failure. This will give you a competitive advantage with your marketing and allow you to quickly determine how effective your strategy really is in the marketplace. By doing this, you’ll begin viewing your marketing spend as an investment in your business rather than an expense.
When you embrace technology for all aspects of your business, you can improve efficiencies and make stronger connections with your customers, and ultimately, find long lasting success.