In order to survive the past year, the restaurant industry underwent a digital transformation that restructured the way many businesses operate. The technology that was implemented ended up being instrumental in keeping businesses afloat.
Many restaurants only recently came to rely on these solutions, however most of them have been in the works since long before the pandemic. The industry was already heading to a more mobile, less fixed format. The pandemic made the shift more aggressive.
Whether you’re jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon, or looking to expand your existing restaurant technology to take your business to the next level, it’s important to ensure the tech you invest in will have a maximum impact that can last for years to come.
Here’s a look at the upcoming technology trends for 2021 specific for quick-service businesses:
Hone the Power of Curbside for Colossal Profits
The savviest restaurateurs were quick to adopt curbside pickup. Those that lagged behind have found it difficult to compete with larger chains. It proved to be even more difficult to compete with businesses that have both drive-thru and curbside pickup operations.
The reason for this is simple: customers are busier than ever these days. Many have only a few minutes to spare on their commute or lunch break to grab a quick bite and are choosing to eat on-the-go. Combined with an increased focus on no-contact options, curbside pickup serves as an ideal solution.
As long as you have the dedicated staff to handle an influx of orders, implementing multiple channels through which customers can order and receive their meals can be a major profit boost. Using holistic technology like an online ordering solution and tablet POS solution allows you to serve more customers at one time. More importantly, these solutions paired with curbside pickup reduces wait times, and increases order accuracy for customers. The stronger your customer satisfaction, the better.
This can help smaller independent and regional quick-service establishments stay competitive in the face of larger national chains.
Text Messages Support the Customer Experience
If you’re looking to build a stronger relationship with your customers, now is the time. Customers are more focused than ever on building relationships with brands they trust. Trust requires communication. Amp up your communication efforts by connecting with customers on the devices they use the most—their phones.
Not only is text ordering and marketing integration crucial for an efficient curbside operation, it also provides customers with easier ordering. With this solution comes an opportunity to share personalized, promotional messages unique to your customers’ preferences. The more you personalize your marketing messages, the greater the chances will be that your customers redeem the offers that you send them. These orders can also be saved for easy repeat orders.
According to research by smscomparison.com, 75 percent of customers want offers sent to them- via text message. On top of that, 98 percent of text messages are open and read within the first three minutes.
Investing in a text ordering and text marketing solution is one of the fastest ways to yield tangible results. It adds another ordering channel to your business, improves your customer relationships, and even streamlines your curbside operation.
As soon as a dish is prepared, you can send text messages alerting customers their orders are ready for pickup. This translates into a quick, seamless experience that leads to better customer satisfaction.
You also benefit from gaining valuable data for your customers that provides superior insights. When customers place orders via text, it will auto-populate your customer data to your restaurant management system, helping you tailor your text marketing strategy to each customer’s unique preferences.
Quick Quick-Service Restaurant Delivery Dollars
Many quick-serves relied only on dine-in and drive-thru for their operations. It wasn’t until recently that they started implementing delivery operations so they could compete with larger chains.
While many customers are comfortable driving and picking up their food through the drive-thru window or curbside, there will always be a percentage of customers that opt for delivery instead.
Convenience will continue to remain a crucial driving force for customers, and few channels are more convenient than delivery. There’s an entire industry now dedicated to delivering food to consumers, though third-party delivery services usually tack on hefty fees. It’s best to implement your own delivery service to maximize profits.
Delivery integration for your restaurant pays for itself over time. By offering this option, you open your business up to a wider market. Ticket sizes are usually larger with delivery orders as well, so you can leverage this to drive even more revenue.
Integrated text ordering also comes into play here. This helps keep consistent communication with your customers throughout the entire process, from the moment they place their order, to the moment it arrives at their doorstep.
Quick-service restaurants are at a critical point for their industry. They have the opportunity to invest in technology that will transform the guest experience and take their restaurant to the next level.
With solutions like curbside pickup, delivery expansion, and text ordering and marketing solutions, you can’t go wrong. These technology solutions will help your business accelerate customer approval and drive revenue.
The key to implementing these trends lies in your ability to capture and centralize your customer data. With these crucial insights, you’ll be able to understand preferences, market effectively, and increase the potential for profits. To do that, it’s important to have all of your restaurant technology integrated seamlessly with a holistic, innovative platform like a restaurant management system.
Matt Martini leads HungerRush’s Enterprise and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) by creating premium, hyper-personalized experiences at scale. Matt executes unique marketing strategies for quick-service restaurants. Learn more about HungerRush at www.hungerrush.com.