Before the pandemic, most restaurants were categorized into one of two express options “dine-in” or “takeout”. With Covid, all restaurants were forced into the same category, and dine-in restaurants had to implement pick-up and/or delivery options overnight in order to stay afloat.
For them, since their main business came from in-dining, third-party delivery companies, such as UberEats, DoorDash and GrubHub represented marginal revenue that contributed to cover their fixed costs. That is why even if those companies charged up to 40% of the ticket amount, they were willing to pay the price.
But everything changed with the pandemic. For many, revenue from food delivery became the main revenue stream, and the restaurant experience became “commoditized”. Restaurants were not able to deliver their own personalized experience anymore.
Consequently, restaurants need to adapt to this new reality not only because they need them to bring sales back up to pre-Covid levels, but most importantly, because many of these new consumer habits will still exist after Covid is no longer a threat.
Here are a few suggestions for restaurants to transition to digital and adapt to the new reality:
- Make it easy for consumers to find you and make sure to connect directly with them. Take ownership of online listings and enable customers to order from you using different channels, the most important being your own website.
- Consider developing your own mobile app for regular customers. Apps can be helpful to give perks and exclusive offerings to them directly. Customers can also place orders and pay in advance, which reduces the need for menus and staff interaction, and allows to turn tables faster.
- Consider direct delivery. It is more important than ever to own your customer data and control how you showcase your brand and customer experience.
- Communicate with your customers via SMS messaging. Nowadays, texting is the preferred way of communication and it is also the most effective to promote daily or weekly specials. It can also be a useful tool for reservations and waitlist management.
Express Orders combines digital loyalty programs (memberships and rewards) with SMS marketing, and online orders. With its all-in-one, easy to use customer engagement solution for restaurants, Express Orders is a powerful tool that helps restaurants bring in new customers and keep existing ones coming back for repeat business.
By Express Orders.