The very first restaurant in the world was opened in Paris in 1765. A tavern keeper, Monsieur Boulanger, served a single dish -- sheep’s feet simmered in a white sauce. (Yum?) The restaurant was different then any other establishment at the time because it's business was primarily centered around the food, while taverns and coffee shops were centered around their respective beverages. Over 200 years after the first restaurant opened, not much has changed in terms of how restaurants attract customers. Restaurants are still centered around their food and they get most of their business from word of mouth. Most restaurants have a website with their menu, address, and phone number. But how do these technologies drive customers to their restaurants? Well....they don't.
Technology can be the most valuable asset to restaurants for driving customers to your restaurant. With the correct use of a website, Facebook page and a mobile application your restaurant could see a dramatic change on how customers interact with your restaurant.
All restaurants should have a website by now, it's 2012. Most restaurant put their phone number, address and menu up on the site and haven't touched it since 2005. You can do much more with your website today then you could in 2005. Websites can have e-commerce solutions that would allow customers to order their meals right from your website, process the payment, and automatically have a slip print out for the kitchen to make the meal. You can post customer recommendations to persuade customers to eat at your restaurants. You should also incorporate a mobile website into your website strategy mainly due to the fact that nearly 10% of all US web traffic is from a mobile device. Your website should also have social integration. It should have a "Like us on Facebook" button, and "Follow us on Twitter button" on nearly every page of your site. Which leads me to...
Social media has become a standard within any business in today's world, much like websites were in the early 2000's. For a restaurant, having a Facebook or Twitter account is crucial. Facebook is a great tool to show off how great your restaurant is and a great way to promote your business. You can post pictures and a list of the daily specials, run promotions for upcoming deals and events, and show off your overall friendly and inviting attitude to customers and potential customers. Beyond that, you can give customers and incentive for being a fan on Facebook like "Facebook fans get 10 percent all lunch items" or something like that to express your gratitude. Check out the 13 Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook for the best ways to engage with fans on Facebook.
With the boom in smartphone sales and the rise of the mobile application it has become possible to, quite literally be in the pocket of your customers at all times. Mobile applications are a businesses dream. A customer can download an application directly to their mobile phone that would allow them to receive promotions. It is possible to send a message out to people who have downloaded your app that will notify customers of your promotion. You can also have an app do things like order meals directly from the user's cell phone, allow customers to write reviews of the restaurant and specific meals, or allow customers to pay directly through the app by either entering their credit card information or using NFC (near field communication) on select devices.
These are 3 helpful ideas to get your business on the right path with technology. Restaurants, and other business, need to embrace technology and the new ideas that come along with it in order to be as successful as possible in today's market. These 3 ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about how technology will benefit your business, contact AndPlus today for a technology consultation.