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4 Ways Fast Casual Restaurants Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences

4 Ways Fast Casual Restaurants Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences

Your counter service or fast-casual restaurant (FCR) may have amazing and unique menu offerings, but great food is only part of what makes a customer experience exceptional, especially when there is no wait staff to interact with customers. The experience begins with the ordering process and continues even after the bill is paid and the food eaten. Here’s how fast casual restaurants can leverage the features of their point of sale (POS) solution to create an experience that customers will remember fondly and will encourage them to come back.  

Seamless Mobile and Online Ordering for Fast Casual Restaurants

It’s expected that your restaurant will have either a website and/or a mobile app where customers can order exactly what they want. With the majority of website users coming from smartphones, the mobile and online ordering experience may be the only experience customers have. Marketing and research firm, The NPD Group, found that restaurant visits via mobile app increased 50 percent between 2017 and 2018 and that number will likely continue to rise.

Since online and mobile app orders are placed directly by the customers, they can review their orders and be confident they’ll get exactly what they want. It’s important that the point of sale software becomes an integrated piece of the process from placing an order to getting it made just how the customer wants it. Be sure the POS system for your fast-casual restaurant allows submitted orders to go straight into the queue in the kitchen so that they are prioritized with the in-store visitors. This ensures that online or mobile orders aren’t forgotten.

Your POS should also include specials or add-on options for those who use your online ordering process. Since customers tend to order more food through online or mobile ordering than they might in-store, these options can grow your counter service restaurant’s bottom line.

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Integrated Customer Database and Personalized Offers for Fast Casual Customers

The point of sale software for fast casual and counter service restaurants should have the ability to automatically create a customer database. A customer database will allow you to track customer purchase history and contact information. This feature is invaluable as it will grant you the information you need to send personalized offers to customers. For example, your customers are more likely to return for a 10% off coupon on a menu item they’ve ordered consistently.  Additionally, low-priced add-ons can be offered if the customer orders their favorite dish within the same week.

All of this valuable data should be recorded within your customer database to be used for future offers. Your fast-casual restaurant POS should also allow you to use robust reporting tools that coordinate customer data from across multiple locations. This means you won’t have the same customer in the database several times over.

Loyalty and Reward Programs for Fast Casual Restaurant Customers

Customers have a connection to brands they like. They want to feel that their business is valued, and they enjoy being rewarded for purchasing things they enjoy. A loyalty or rewards program can provide that extra push a customer needs to choose you over the competition nearby. Using your point of sale software, you can configure rewards based on dollar amounts, number of visits, or specific items purchased. These rewards can be redeemed for  monetary discounts or free food. Every time the customer buys online or visits you in-store, they can earn towards their reward. This requires your restaurant’s online ordering system and the POS to talk to one another. Otherwise, customers will be aggravated with you for not tracking all the ways they make purchases.

With the insight gained from order histories and preferences in the point of sale software, you can create customized and relevant rewards and special offers that make your customers feel like you “get” them and increase positive associations with your brand.

Tablet POS to Increase Mobility

Tablet POS gives you the mobility you need to give your customers a better experience. Tablets can shift from a fixed-based POS workstation to a mobile solution, allowing your staff to service customers standing in-line to cut wait times. With line busting, you can quickly serve more customers, and potential customers won’t be deterred by long lines.

Being mobile also means taking orders tableside, effectively upselling, cross-selling, and minimizing order errors. With a tablet POS, your staff can open up all areas of the restaurant, so you can be ready for patio season and special events. The added mobility of a tablet POS allows you to provide the time and attention that will keep customers happy.

Interested in learning more about a tablet POS can improve your quick service restaurant’s operations?

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Using Your POS to Enhance the Overall Restaurant Customer Experience

The ideal customer experience encompasses several factors: ordering convenience, speed and accuracy of service, food quality, and positive interactions with the restaurant, which includes personalization. The right POS should be future ready so that your fast-casual restaurant can benefit from the latest in technology advancements for a better customer experience. In the highly-competitive restaurant industry, the customer experience you provide can help you stand out from the crowd and thrive. 

If you’re ready to add one or all of these features to your fast casual and counter service POS, HungerRush has POS solutions that can be tailored to your unique needs. Designed by restaurant professionals and supported by 24/7/365 service, our solutions will help you grow your fast casual restaurant.  New call-to-action  to find out more today and start providing first-rate customer experiences.  

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Top Tips for Optimizing Your Pizzeria’s Online Ordering Experience for Customers

Top Tips for Optimizing Your Pizzeria’s Online Ordering Experience for Customers

Your hungry customers want your delicious pizza—but first they need an online ordering experience that’s easy and convenient. To maximize your revenue opportunity, you should be offering multiple channels for customers to purchase from. This includes both online ordering from your website and a branded mobile ordering app. Here are some ways you can use your restaurant online ordering software to improve the customer experience and increase pizza sales.

Ensure a Consistent Brand Experience

You need to make it as easy and familiar as possible for customers to order from you. Customers should experience the same brand elements and user interface, across all ordering channels. You need to provide a seamless ordering experience regardless if it’s in-store, your website, or mobile app.  The goal is to provide a familiar, easy, and reliable experience that customers will want to repeat.  Moreover, a survey by AlixPartners showed that 71% of the people who order delivery would prefer to receive it directly from the restaurant, rather than from a third-party delivery service such as GrubHub or DoorDash, which makes having a consistent brand experience that much more important in your mobile and online ordering solution.

Integrate Online & Mobile App Ordering With Your Point of Sale (POS) System

Your restaurant online ordering software should integrate seamlessly with your point of sale system. By doing so, you can minimize order errors and improve the customer experience. Any orders from your website and mobile ordering app platforms will be sent directly to the POS. They are added to the prep queue alongside in-house orders so the kitchen staff can begin fulfilling them. This seamless integration ensures your pizzeria can fulfill all orders on-time and nothing is dropped or missed.

Busy, noisy environments and paper tickets make it easy for orders to be misheard or misread. Mobile and online ordering eliminates this issue by allowing customers to enter their orders directly.  This positions you to deliver prompt and accurate orders, which increases customer satisfaction and fosters loyalty.

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Sync In-Store and Online Menus

Restaurant online ordering software should integrate with your POS for central menu configuration. This ensures your in-house and digital offerings are consistent. With this feature, you can make menu changes on your POS and apply them in real-time across all ordering platforms to ensure the most up-to-date menu is available to your customers. As you may already know, one of the worst customer experiences is placing an online order only to find out that selection is no longer available.

Make it Easy to Reorder Their Favorite Pizzas

The more convenient ordering processes are, the more likely you’ll retain customers—that goes for reorders, too. You can achieve this with online ordering software in a number of ways:

  • Offer multiple login options. Allow for a single login on your website and mobile app. Some restaurant POS systems allow customers to login with their Facebook account which avoids creating another username and password. Take advantage of the options that make it easy to login. Also include the option to order as a guest. This encourages orders from those who aren’t comfortable creating an account or linking their Facebook account to your online ordering system.
  • Make setting up a customer profile easy by offering the ability to save multiple delivery addresses or payment methods.
  • Allow customers to save preferences using past or frequent orders so reorders can be placed with just a few simple clicks.
  • Allow customers to place future orders. Give them the convenience of ordering their pies anytime and schedule delivery or pickup when they want it.

Serve Up Better Pizzeria Experiences With Mobile App & Online Ordering Options

The success of your pizzeria depends on whether or not you can meet customer demands and expectations. Online and mobile ordering is one of the biggest customer demands for pizzerias. Leveraging the right online ordering software allows you to not just meet these demands, but exceed them.

HungerRush offers a complete restaurant point of sale solution that’s hand-tailored to the pizza industry and built with your needs in mind.  New call-to-action  to learn more about how we can help you create the online ordering experiences that will keep your customers coming back time and again.

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3 Restaurant Technologies Driving the Evolution of the Restaurant Industry

3 Restaurant Technologies Driving the Evolution of the Restaurant Industry

We live in an era of unprecedented connectivity. The increased internet usage of today’s consumers provides abundant customer data that smart business owners can leverage to drive revenue. The restaurant industry is no exception, and restaurant technologies are moving quickly from “nice-to-have” to “must-have” status in order to stay competitive or even survive.

Here’s how restaurant technology can help you create a better customer experience, foster closer customer relationships, and increase repeat business.      

1.   Mobile and Online Ordering

Consumer smartphone use is at an all-time high, creating new opportunities for the restaurant industry to reach out to customers through additional digital ordering channels. Carry-out and delivery sales can be a substantial portion of your revenue stream, and smartphones provide fast and easy ways for customers to make such purchases. Online ordering from your website or your branded mobile app should integrate seamlessly with your point of sale (POS) and will give your customers the convenience and flexibility they expect.  In fact, online ordering solutions generate more revenue, with online checks averaging 15% higher than in-store.

If they choose to set up an account, information from past and favorite orders will be available to make re-orders a snap. Customers can also use their smartphones to connect with your loyalty program, checking balances and earning and redeeming rewards regardless of which ordering channel they’re using.

2.   Loyalty Programs

Harvard study revealed that increasing repeat visits by just 5% can increase profits anywhere between 25% and 125%. Repeat customers can spend up to 67% more, and it costs less to keep existing customers than to recruit new ones. Loyalty programs are a proven way to build stronger relationships and keep people coming back. Customers like feeling connected to their favorite businesses and knowing their patronage is valued. Data gathered from loyalty program accounts, including purchase histories, can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns and promotions to encourage return visits. A 2018 marketing research report from SevenRooms revealed that 79% of consumers said they are only likely to act on an offer if it’s personalized based on previous transactions, so use this restaurant technology to reward your customers’ loyalty to the food they love, and watch your sales grow.

3.    Tablet POS

Whether they’re used as self-order kiosks for line-busting or used tableside by wait staff or patrons, tablet POS solutions are another form of restaurant technology that creates a better customer experience. Tablets streamline operations by sending orders directly to the kitchen, which has major advantages over a paper ticket system. It increases order accuracy by eliminating errors caused by illegible or misplaced tickets, and it decreases customer wait times as the server doesn’t have to run the tickets back and forth. Tableside payments also speed up the process, leading to increased table turnovers, and make customers feel more secure because their credit or debit card never leaves their sight. All of these factors contribute to happy customers, who are more likely to become repeat customers.

The best tablet POS solutions share a common code base with your POS software. This ensures that 100% of functionality is retained between the fixed and mobile stations. The cross-functionality between fixed and mobile stations will make training staff on the tablets simple and fast.

Technology’s Role in the Restaurant Industry

The relationships you foster with your customers are the foundation upon which your entire business rests. When you understand your customers and what they need, you will be able to deliver the experiences they want. Restaurant technology plays an increasingly important role in helping you achieve this. With it, you will be armed with data to help you make business decisions that align with customer demands, and equipped with the tools you need to meet them. Mobile and online ordering, loyalty programs, and tablets are all critical tools that the smart business owner should leverage to elevate the customer experience as the industry evolves.

When you’re ready to start reaping the benefits of implementing these restaurant technologies, you’ll want solutions that will integrate seamlessly with your POS. HungerRush is a fully integrated, complete system. It’s designed with customers in mind, backed by our thorough knowledge of the restaurant industry and our 24/7, U.S-based customer service. See how our solutions can increase your revenue, New call-to-action

Must-Have Pizza POS Features that Will Grow your Pizzeria

Must-Have Pizza POS Features that Will Grow your Pizzeria

Pizzerias rely much more heavily on technology today than they used to. Pizza POS software developers are always innovating and adding new features as needs arise in this ever-evolving industry. As customer demands grow and preferences change, you need to make sure your pizza POS is equipped with the right tools for the job.

Here are must-have features worth considering:  

Mobile and Online Ordering

Are they worth looking into?

Mobile and online ordering services have become quite popular additions to the standard pizza POS system. Should you look into implementing these?

Short answer: Yes.
A mobile and online ordering service offers a wide range of benefits:

  • It creates additional revenue channels for your business.
  • It helps build your online presence, putting your business in front of more eyes.
  • It puts you on the same playing field as larger, more established pizza chains.

As with any key business investment, do your homework to make sure it’s the right one for you. Find a partner that will allow you to configure and brand the user interface. This will allow you to deliver a seamless and familiar customer ordering experience across all your channels.

Beyond that, it should also be fully integrated with your pizza POS system, for a few reasons:

  • It reduces order errors.
  • It provides better customer information and management.
  • It offers insightful reporting across multiple locations to make real-time, informed decisions.

In addition, a mobile app supplements the online ordering experience for customers on their smartphones, making reorders as easy as possible. Any changes they make to their orders can be set up to appear in real-time on the mobile app.

The best options will align with your branding for your website and mobile app, and will sync incoming orders with your pizza POS system. You should also look for one that can seamlessly integrate with your inventory management and reporting capabilities, so you can manage inventory, compare sales across platforms and stores, and build campaigns to further increase revenue.

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Loyalty and Reward Program

Can they help your pizzeria?

If you don’t already offer a loyalty and rewards program, you’re leaving money on the table. Successful programs keep customers coming back for more pizza and more frequent orders. Some programs are easier to manage than others, however. An integrated loyalty program is one of the easiest and most beneficial for both you and your customers and it is what your customers expect. A good loyalty program retains, and grows, customers by delivering targeted offers to segments of your customer base to drive repeat business.

You’ll know when you’ve found the right solution if it offers these three functionalities:

  • Fast and easy customer sign up.
  • Integrates with your pizza POS, including online and mobile app access.
  • The ability for customers to accrue points/rewards based on dollars spent.

Some Thoughts on Third Party Food Delivery Services

To use or not to use at your restaurant?

When you consider implementing any new offer you have to look at the potential benefits and drawbacks. Take third-party food delivery services, for example.

One the one hand, you have the potential to compete more effectively with larger pizza brands and increase your reach. On the other hand, you could possibly tarnish your pizzeria’s reputation if the delivery service doesn’t provide the level of quality and service both you and your customers expect.

But then again, handling food delivery entirely in-house means you risk:

  • Wasting too much time and resources on managing drivers
  • Cutting into profit margins
  • Paying for drivers during non-peak hours

So how do you solve this?

Consider implementing a hybrid solution used only during peak times or for deliveries that are out of your standard service area.

“If your store doesn’t really have an online presence (online ordering, website), then it’s (third-party service) a good fit for you.”

–RobT, Think Tank member

It’s better to be flexible and adapt to new customer demands, rather than risk stagnating and stifling your own growth. As the world shifts to be more mobile, your pizza POS should align with that. Consider investing in a solution that includes these features so you can better meet the needs of your customers.

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3 Reasons Why Pizzerias Need an Integrated Point of Sale, Mobile & Online Ordering, and Loyalty Solution

Remember that moment when you opened your next location (or first pizzeria)? Or when you realized that your customers loved the modification you made to the menu or the tweak you made to the sauce?  Those moments were awesome because it was a sign you were growing. And that led you to some logical next questions related to growth.

One of the common questions for pizza shops is how to make all the various software systems work together. An integrated point of sale system with mobile and online ordering as well as a loyalty solution gives growing pizzerias like yours an opportunity to provide an efficient and personalized customer experience which in turn you will boost revenue through increased sales volume and repeat business.  Integrating all of these features with your point of sale system will give your customers a favorable and familiar experience regardless of where they placed their order.

Creating a similar experience whether your customers are visiting your pizzeria, ordering from your website or mobile app or utilizing a reward system where points, offers or discounts accumulate is critical for growing your pizzeria’s brand. It also provides a unique opportunity to communicate brand value to your customers, learn about your customers’ preferences, and enables you to create and deliver a personalized experience. Having all of these features incorporated with your pizza shop’s POS will make your life easier too, giving you fewer things to manage.

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There are three things to consider if you are researching the best pizza POS system that will also allow you to incorporate loyalty programs.

1. You can better control your customer experience and your costs

A lot of pizza shops relay on third-party delivery and online ordering services, which are not free. If you haven’t already, you will feel the effect of their service fees cut into your profits and your customers will pay more through service charges tacked onto their bill. When the third-party provides poor service, screws up an order, or experiences technology glitches, it can reflect negatively on your pizzeria and tarnish your reputation even though it’s outside of your control. Don’t rely solely on these third-parties for pizza delivery. The other options is controlling the online ordering process and reinforcing the brand and the positive relationship you’ve worked so hard to build with your customers. With an online and mobile app ordering system integrated with your pizzeria’s point of sale system, you will take customers to your nicely branded experience where they won’t pay the extra delivery service fees charged by the other guys. With less hassle and fees for the customers, they are more likely to place an online order from your website than a third-party service.

2. Pizza lovers like their experience personalized like their favorite pie

There are hundreds of ways to customize a pizza. The same applies to the things that motivate your customers to order more items per purchase and order from your pizzeria more frequently. If you can’t collect data on your customer’s ordering habits how can you entice them with specific offers designed to increase engagement? Offering the right incentives at the right times to the right person can make a big difference in where and how often people decide to dine. Oh yeah, you also control the data, can make decisions on the data, and nobody else is marketing to your customers (a good thing in today’s competitive market). Be sure your pizza shop’s POS is capturing information that can help you increase customer loyalty by building custom offers that will increase sales.

3. One throat to choke 😉

And lastly, who has the time to manage multiple vendors when you are busy making the best pizzas and serving your fans? You deserve ONE partner who understands the intricacies of how a pizzeria operates – from the POS to the customer loyalty offers to capturing orders online and through a mobile app. That’s a lot! But by providing a seamless customer experience across all ordering points you’ll benefit from the consistent branding and an ordering experience that you can control.  Plus, you don’t have to play middleman trying to coordinate across vendors or worry about version control. Now you’ll have the time to do what you do best – creating the best pizza and customer experience in town! For more information on making these tools work for your pizzeria.

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Chain Sees Online Ordering Up 25% with Standardized POS

HungerRush helps pizza chain increase sales while improving customer experience management.

It was 2004 when Hungry Howie’s Pizza (www.hungryhowies.com) was looking for a solution to standardize its menu and technology. Dan McKay, director of IT, explains that this was the key to help drive many of the company’s plans and initiatives. Unification of accounting, operations and marketing – with better automation and more timely insight – ”was the primary goal. HungerRush (www.HungerRush.com) emerged as the leader in helping the brand bring those goals to fruition and the POS solution was installed across a subset of locations. A decade later, the chain made HungerRush the standard platform throughout its entire brand.

“We wanted to give data back to our franchisees and provide them with real-time reporting,” McKay explains. From a marketing perspective, the team needed a better way to manage the customer experience. Hungry Howie’s used the partnership and data from HungerRush POS to restructure how it marketed to its customers, provide a more streamlined online ordering process, and track consumer trends across the entire brand. “Without standardizing we wouldn’t be able to do any of that as effectively,” McKay says.

Tangible benefits from a standardized technology approach  HungerRush customized its software to support the brand’s comprehensive data collection and aggregation needs. “The benefit of having a single platform is that we can look back and, in doing so, we’re able to give our franchisees access to real-time reporting for their current sales, product mix, current labor cost, and out-the-door-times,” McKay says. The Howie’s corporate team also has plans to use the data from HungerRush to provide franchisees with the ability to forecast what order volumes will look like hours ahead of time.

Hungry Howie’s recently launched their Howie Rewards™ program – built on the integrated HungerRush loyalty platform. This new program acts as a data capture mechanism that feeds the HowieMail marketing database, and vice versa. Unifying marketing efforts ensures that every customer can be reached with an easy-to-redeem offer that facilitates customer retention. “We can reach out and engage them either via e-mail or do digital marketing blitzes with displays and banners,” McKay says.

Prior to the transition, online ordering accounted for over 15 percent of sales. McKay says the organization was eager to move the needle on online ordering, but a number of challenges stood in the way, including a lack of a standardized mobile application for ordering or an online ordering website and the existence of multiple POS platforms and three different online ordering platforms. The HungerRush online ordering solution empowered the brand in the online market with 28 straight quarters of same-store sales growth. Online orders now comprise 40 percent of sales.

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