More and more business owners are making use of technology to ensure the effective running of their restaurants. It’s no surprise, people are constantly on their smartphones nowadays snapping pictures and sharing their experiences on social media. People also expect service to be speedy and one of the best ways to achieve this is via the use of technology within restaurants.
This infographic explains exactly how diners use technology to improve their experience of visiting restaurants i.e. what is expected from many diners as far as technology is concerned. And thereby how restaurants can use technology to draw in customers and improve diners’ experiences.
Take a look:
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Now let’s take a deeper look at how restaurant owners can make effective use of technology in running their restaurants:
Create social media pages
Each social media page has its own benefits when it comes to promoting a restaurant and communicating with customers. For example a Facebook page allows for customer reviews. A Twitter account would allow the restaurant to share news and bulletins (about special offers for instance). While you can share images of your mouth watering meals via Pinterest and Instagram.
These are just examples of the ways in which restaurants could make effective use of social media. Here are a few great resources which provide further information on using social media for business purposes:
- Social Media Marketing for Restaurants: 21 Tips
- How to Set Up a Facebook Page for Business
- Food Photography: 7 Tips For Instagram
- Essential Twitter Marketing Resources: A Complete Guide
Set up a website
A website can become your business hub. Diners will expect any professional establishment to have its own website. In fact, a lack thereof could put off potential customers. This is because customers like to use websites to peruse menus and wine lists before they visit. Gone are the days in which people are willing to walk around and find a restaurant, they want to know what they’re in for before they even leave the house.
Here’s some more information on what setting up a website for your business:
- 5 Benefits of Having a Website for Your Small Business
- The quick and easy guide to setting up a website for your small business and getting it ranked on Google
- A Detailed Look at Restaurant Web Layout Design Trends
Register with review sites
As you can see in the infographic, almost a third of people in the UK read restaurant reviews on a regular basis. A positive review could be what sways them to choose your eatery above another. That’s why it’s important for people to see online reviews – if they don’t see any reviews at all they might not trust your establishment.
There are a few particular sites you’ll want to add your restaurant to. Here are the five of the best restaurant review sites:
Set up a blog
Your website can house your blog or you can set up a blog via a blogging platform. This is another way to garner attention for your business. The way the internet works is that one blog post with a good number of shares can really put your restaurant on the map. It’s a brilliant marketing tool.
Blogging is also a hugely enjoyable hobby. Lots of chefs enjoy sharing their top tips and recipes online. A blog post could even be coupled with a cooking video. There are lots of ways you can go with blogging.
Here are some of the best blogging sites you can use to share posts related to your business, as well as a few tips for getting started in the blogosphere:
- Checklist: How to Start a Business Blog
- 35 Blogging Tips to Woo Readers and Win Business
- 7 Blogging Mistakes That Small Businesses Make
Make it a wi-fi hotspot
Again, for some reason we all need to be on our phones all of the time. That’s why almost half of all Londeners will consider whether a joint has wi-fi or not before choosing whether to eat there. But to be honest, by offering up free wi-fi you’ll also attract people that, for example, need to stay in touch with work or follow their business emails while out and about.
In some instances you don’t need to do much to make your restaurant a wi-fi hotspot. You can simply set up guest access on your existing equipment. Here’s some more information on your other options:
Register with dining apps
Many people won’t go direct to a restaurant’s site to find the information they’re looking for. They’ll browse dining apps instead, with which you can take a look at several restaurants in one space. It’s much more efficient for them to do so.
We already mentioned OpenTable as a review site, but it’s also a dining app. It’s an app too that allows users to look for free tables and times and then make reservations. For dining apps like this one you just need to go their site and register your restaurant. Using this technology more people will find you!
Here are a few dining apps you might want to register with:
Introduce mobile ordering
Fast food and takeaways are making headway with this kind of technology. There are also a few platforms that work with restaurants to help them provide a mobile ordering service. An example of how it can work goes as follows: customers pre-order their meal, it’s tracked as they enter the restaurant and they’re alerted as soon as their meal is ready. It’s a bit like having a virtual waiter.
Here are a couple of examples of restaurants that are already using this method:
Send out digital coupons
This is one of the best ways to entice customers into your restaurant using technology. They will continue to subscribe to your emails if you give them something in return. They will obviously continue to come into your restaurant if you give them something in return too.
Consumers are absolutely crazy for coupons these days. It might be a good idea to register your business with a company like Groupon to take advantage of this fact.
Here are some tips for getting started with digital coupons:
- Which are the best discount voucher websites?
- How to Advertise on Groupon
- 14 Ways to Use Offers, Coupons, Discounts and Deals to Drive Revenue and Customer Loyalty
Use tablets for self checkout
Similarly to using a mobile ordering system, self checkouts speed up the entire transaction. You can make use of this technology through the customers’ own smartphones or by handing over tablets for them to use to checkout.
This has another added bonus, the customer puts more trust in this payment method. Not everyone is comfortable with somebody wandering off with their bank card to process a payment.
Here are some examples of self checkout technology:
There are so many ideas here. Why not set the ball in motion and try at least one forms of technology at your restaurant today?
Bonus Tip: Great images will set you apart
The quality of image you use can make or break the public perception of your restaurant online, so this not a place to cut corners.
Hire a professional with experience in photography for your field and make sure the photographer understands your goals/business aims/branding etc along with how the pictures will be used for the by you and your team.
Here is some great advice to help you get your imagery right:
- Food photography tips
- The rules of restaurant photography
- If you're on a budget here are some great DIY tips