There are over 660,000 restaurants in the United States alone. That’s a lot of competition, and you may find your restaurant customers are facing related challenges: how do they differentiate themselves and grow sales? In a society filled with so many options for nearly every type of cuisine, and with seemingly limitless dining options available through smartphone apps, how do you help them increase foot traffic in their restaurant?
Growing a restaurant business during this digital transformation doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few key ways you can help your restaurant customers increase foot traffic – and lucky none of them are too complicated. They do, however, require an understanding of the restaurant’s specific needs and target audience. Read on to discover how to help grow your customers’ business through leveraging online ordering, delivering a top-notch experience to diners, and growing a digital presence.
1. Help Them Leverage Online Ordering
In the last decade, nearly every aspect of the world has gone online – you can buy almost anything online, you can hail a cab from your smartphone, and you can do the majority of your banking from a mobile device – and the restaurant industry is no different.
Online ordering for food is a huge market. For instance, did you know that digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014? Simply put, to keep up and grow restaurant foot traffic, your customers need to be active on at least one online ordering platform. Taking advantage of the millions of people using online ordering is a great way to expand your restaurant customer’s clientele from those who already know and love the restaurant, to brand new diners.
It might sound like a complicated process but helping your restaurant customers get online can be simple. First, the restaurant should choose whether they want to be present on an online ordering app (like Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.) or if they’d like to have an online ordering system integrated into their website – or both. When choosing a service, restaurants should consider the ability to customize and brand their system, the ease of integration, any associated fees and costs, and whether marketing support is offered.
Another important component of online ordering to think about is the technology behind the solution. By choosing an online ordering service that is integrated with Star Micronics, you can rest assured you have reliable, easy-to-use, and high-quality hardware on your side. For example, CloudPRNT technology (which is available on the mC-Print2, mC-Print3, TSP654II, TSP743II, TSP847II, and SP742) allows the printer to directly communicate with the online ordering service server, meaning there is no need for an additional tablet, software, or SSL certificate at the local level. The printer simply automatically retrieves and prints online orders from any service integrated with Star’s communication protocol. CloudPRNT is compatible with receipt, label, linerless label, and kitchen printers, meaning the options for streamlined printing are endless.
2. Give Them the Tools They Need to Deliver a Top-Notch Customer Experience
“Have it your way.” Does that slogan ring a bell? Like one notorious QSR brand once said, to grow restaurant foot traffic, establishments should encourage customers to enjoy their dining experience on their own terms. One good reason for this is that if you aren’t offering a personalized, convenient experience, someone else most certainly is.
So, what does a top-notch customer experience look like? Here are a few examples:
- Convenience: We are living in the era of convenience. Diners want to order exactly what they’d like, in a quick and seamless fashion. To cater to this preference, your restaurant customers should consider implementing self-service kiosks, which not only provide a positive guest experience but also have been shown to increase profits. Another modern convenience that diners are coming to expect is mobile payment opportunities, such as paying at the table.
- Reliability: Downtime is a bad time. If your systems go down thanks to an unstable network connection, that means lost time, lost money, and potentially lost business, which is the opposite of what your restaurant customers are looking to achieve. Avoid the stress of downtime by helping your customers choose reliable, connected restaurant point of sale (POS) hardware. For example, Star’s mC-Print2 and mC-Print3 includes SteadyLAN™ technology, which provides wired Ethernet service to an iPad connected to a networked printer via the Lightning cable. A stable connection means more money, more happy customers, and more restaurant foot traffic!
- Know Your Audience: To grow and strengthen your audience, you must know your audience. By adopting a loyalty program, restaurants can put valuable diner data to use and reward diners at the same time. With a loyalty program, restaurants can see which diners come in the most, what they order, and more. Restaurants can then use this valuable data for marketing purposes; for example, on their receipts, restaurants can promote happy hour specials for the days that get little foot traffic to supplement those low-volume days. With Star’s PromoPRNT, restaurants can create custom promotions from templates that get printed on the bottom of the receipt, improving customer acquisition, engagement, and retention.
Aesthetics: Last but not least, aesthetics play an important role in building restaurant foot traffic. First impressions really do make a difference, and if restaurants create a memorable ambiance, diners are likely to tell their friends about it both in person and through photos posted to social media. According to Westchester Magazine, successful restaurant design includes many things: “the bar, playlist, tabletops, menu, hostess desk, and everything else you see, hear, taste, and smell.” Be sure to choose a stylish, modern POS system to complete the look. Star’s mCollection includes a full lineup of receipt printers, scales, cash drawers, stands, and more – all designed for the modern mobile POS environment.
3. Encourage Them to Grow A Digital Presence
In addition to offering online ordering, in order to grow its foot traffic, your restaurant customer should also be sure to maintain an active website and social media accounts. A website can be useful for customers to browse a menu in advance, share the restaurant with friends and family, check business hours, and more. Social media is useful in several ways: it can give restaurants a public personality, provide diners with a “behind the scenes” look at food preparation, and promote upcoming specials. In a nutshell, the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their smartphone. Take advantage of it! Catching a person’s attention online can certainly lead that person through a restaurant’s doors.
Together, offering online ordering, delivering a stellar dining experience, and maintaining an active digital presence can help your restaurant customers grow their foot traffic. Contact Star Micronics now to learn more about how we can help you make your restaurant customers’ goals come to life.
Are your customers ready for online ordering? Find out now!
Heidi Orpilla is the Digital Content Specialist at Star Micronics where she creates and manages content for Star’s blog, social media, website, products, and more. Heidi has a passion for writing and has worked in the B2B marketing space for over five years. Prior to working at Star, Heidi worked at a large reseller for six years.