REQUEST A DEMO

How to Set Up and Train Your Staff to Optimize Restaurant Delivery During COVID-19

How to Set Up and Train Your Staff to Optimize Restaurant Delivery During COVID-19

With  the COVID-19 pandemic causing restaurants in most areas to close in-house dining facilities, choosing to add online ordering and delivery has become critical for business survival. Third-party and/or on-demand delivery services can be beneficial if they are integrated into your systems to help streamline ordering and retain ownership of your customer’s information. However, increased reliance on third-party delivery services impacts restaurant profitability, driving restaurant owners to set up their own delivery services to protect profits and reach more customers. Additionally, it’s more profitable to cut out the middle-man. When setting up in-house delivery, restaurant owners need to consider the following five things to protect and optimize their business—and their staff—during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Properly Allocate Staff to New Delivery-Oriented Functions 

Since dine-in traffic is nonexistent during the pandemic, analyze the best way to reallocate your staff to offer delivery. First, determine the volume of delivery staff needed and what your schedule will look like (are you keeping the same operating hours, expanding, or reducing them?). Next, determine which staff members have the best fit, experience, and compatibility for what you are looking for in the new roles. Next, determine your top-performing staff and ask if they would be willing to switch job tasks until dine-in traffic resumes. Set up and execute a training program to teach these employees their new job functions and expectations. They will likely appreciate the hours and their skills being used in other ways until the pandemic passes.

If delivery demand is greater than what you can execute with current staff, hiring new delivery drivers may be necessary. Look for people with delivery experience, a good driving record, and the flexibility and willingness to work the hours you allocated

Ensure Protection with Insurance

New business avenues and staff requirements mean new risks and liabilities. Review your insurance policies to make sure you are covered for changing job tasks and expanding delivery options. Insurance that will be crucial for delivery operations includes:

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance: It’s important to cover a wide range of common liabilities such as slips and falls, property damage, and personal and advertising injury.
  • Auto Insurance: It’s critical for delivery since this is how your staff will fulfill orders. You’ll need to protect your business when using company vehicles, to cover any potential accidents or injuries. 

Provide Training and Security Measures to Protect Delivery Drivers

Staff training should include best practices to ensure that delivery is as safe as possible for your staff as well as your customers. 

  • For Delivery: No contact delivery is a growing trend amid COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Offering this option is not only appealing to customers but helps protect the health of your staff. Train staff fulfilling orders in this way—leaving the items on the doorstep or in the apartment lobby and letting the customer know when it has arrived via text or call. 
  • For Payment Collection: As with the delivery hand-off, customers and staff should avoid as much contact as possible when collecting payment. The best way to do this is by no contact payment: requesting that the order be paid by debit or credit card when it is placed. If this isn’t an option or you are also still collecting cash/curbside payments, train your staff on the best way to handle the process: wearing gloves, keeping their distance, keeping cash in a separate sealed container, and sanitizing the payment processor after each use.

Discuss and Encourage Delivery Driver Etiquette

Drivers should be sensitive to customer concerns over safety and remain as careful as possible. In addition to contactless delivery and maintaining social distancing, staff should be willing to wear masks and gloves if/when necessary. They should also make sure food is handled and packaged safely—with the smallest possible number of people involved in handling each order. Use wrapped silverware, napkins, and sealed drinks whenever possible. Look for label printers that can be used to seal orders to ensure it is secure and untampered with. Finally, have them wipe and sanitize their devices, packaging, and car after each shift. Providing masks, gloves, wipes, and sanitizer is a great way to ensure the safety of your staff and customers, as well as strengthening the message that you are doing everything you can to maximize safety. 

Encourage your staff to be patient and flexible with customers during this time of uncertainty. They need to be willing to make adjustments as the situation evolves. 

Streamline the Delivery Process with Technology

With the restaurant industry being impacted heavily by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to remain as efficient as possible. To best optimize delivery, leverage technology that will give you the visibility and control needed to maximize productivity. An integrated restaurant management system with point of sale (POS), online ordering, delivery, and loyalty built-in is the best choice. If it also integrates with third-party provider platforms, that’s even better. 

Another useful feature is Google Maps integration, which can provide an operator view of all drivers, give drivers the fastest and shortest routes, and triage/speed up deliveries in real time. An integrated system will not only help you maximize needed revenue during the current crisis, but will also set you up for continued success when life becomes more normal again.

But even the best tech is only useful if you have good employees to do the work. Show your appreciation for staff who are willingly and diligently working during this national pandemic. A little appreciation goes a long way in retaining talented staff

HungerRush is a leading provider of technology solutions designed specifically for restaurant needs. To find out more about how our solutions can keep you afloat through the pandemic and help you thrive afterward, request a demo today. And for more tips on getting your business through these changing times, check out our free Restaurant Survival Guide e-book. 

Request a demo and get ready for the rush.

New call-to-action

Related Resources

Post By Tags

Schedule A Demo Now

How to Set Up Online Ordering for Restaurants: A Crucial Component During COVID-19

How to Set Up Online Ordering for Restaurants: A Crucial Component During COVID-19

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, online ordering was already a huge and lucrative opportunity for restaurants, with over half of restaurant spending projected to take place off-premise in 2020. Now, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a shift in consumer behavior, whether mandated by the government or a self-imposed decision to stay away from dine-in restaurants. As the stay-at-home and social distancing directives continue, online ordering and delivery may be the only options restaurants have to remain open and serve guests.

As overall economic activity slows, you have the opportunity to catch up on restaurant technology. Here’s how to set up online ordering for restaurants to future-proof your business. 

Assess Your Restaurant Needs

Every restaurant is different, and before you decide on the specifics of an online ordering system, it’s important to determine your individual needs. Some questions to consider:

  • What will I need to purchase in order to launch online ordering? At a minimum, you’ll need to-go packaging and online ordering technology (including a website and mobile app). If you add in delivery, you’ll need transport bags, drivers, and vehicles (and insurance for them).
  • How much staff will I need to execute an online ordering system? You’ll need people to prep, cook, package, and fulfill the orders (in-store take-out, curbside pickup transactions, or delivery, or all of them). If your dine-in facilities are closed because of the outbreak, you can reallocate staff such as servers or bussers to new positions as needed. As your online business accelerates, you may need to hire more people.
  • Will the online ordering channels integrate with my restaurant point of sale (POS) system? Integration is crucial for efficiency, accuracy, and data capture.

You’ll also need to evaluate your online ordering options:

  • Integrated online ordering with your POS and delivery vehicles branded with your restaurant’s name
  • Pros:  The majority of consumers prefer to order directly from a restaurant. By doing so, you can control all touch points with the customer to ensure you’re creating stronger loyalty and a better experience. Integrated online ordering allows for less order errors and greater revenue per order for owners. You’ll also get to keep 100% of your customer data. 
  • Cons: You may need more staff to handle delivery in-house. However, as online orders increase, phone orders may decrease, freeing up resources and labor. You also may have to devote more attention to marketing in order to promote your online availability and capture a wider audience. 
  • Third-party online ordering using providers such as DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, etc.
  • Pros: You can reach more consumers who may not be aware of your restaurant until they see it on the third-party site or app. Additionally, delivery tasks are out of your hands with third-party providers—they’ll pick up and deliver the food for you.
  • Cons: You’ll keep less of your profits—some third-party providers take as much as 30% in fees. You may have technology integration issues. For example, if your systems aren’t integrated, you may receive orders through Uber Eats and have to manually enter them into your POS system. Juggling multiple systems or doing double entries during peak hours is not ideal. And, if your systems aren’t integrated, you often don’t own the customer data, making it harder to grow  loyalty.

There are good and bad aspects for each option. Ultimately, you need to choose the one that’s right for you. The best solution may be to partner with a third-party for overflow during peak hours when you are short on drivers, or to help expand outside of your normal delivery areas.

Request a demo and get ready for the rush.

New call-to-action

Plan to Maximize Your Exposure 

When determining if and how to set up online ordering for restaurants, owners should know that one of the main benefits is the increased audience and opportunities for sales. To maximize your exposure and online ordering strategy when offering it through your restaurant, be sure to:

  • Optimize Your Website: Make sure your website is set up to have an updated, detailed digital menu that reflects your brand and showcases your food—especially because there is more space online for appealing photos, descriptions, and nutritional information. Set up and test the online ordering process prior to launch to ensure it’s working smoothly and delivering the best user experience. The process should be responsive, secure, and require minimal steps for the customer to place their order and checkout.
  • Consider a Mobile App: Branded mobile apps complement your website to provide an optimal online ordering strategy and is  especially important if you operate a franchise or multi-unit business. Not only does an app give you an even greater online reach, it also strengthens customer relationships, accessibility and enhances brand loyalty. 

Establish an Integrated Customer Loyalty Program

If you don’t have one already, launching a customer loyalty program integrated with your online ordering platform is a great way to motivate customers to try it out. If you do have one, now is the time to encourage customers to log in and collect/redeem rewards online. With an integrated loyalty program, you can better collect and manage your customer data, which is crucial as you add more ordering channels. You want to maximize data collected from customers no matter which ordering path they choose in order to create and execute more personalized marketing messaging

A loyalty program also keeps customers even more connected with your brand, and increases the chance they will order again—even up to four times more per month. It can be a crucial tool in encouraging online ordering by rewarding customers for doing so (by offering discounts and specials online for rewards members). It’s especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, since you can only interact digitally for now. 

The Next Steps Toward Restaurant Online Ordering Implementation

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way restaurants operate. Without the proper online ordering platform, your restaurant could have difficulties getting your food to your customers. Amid anxieties about grocery shortages and food availability, customers are flocking to restaurants that are offering online ordering for takeout, curbside pickup or delivery. They’re especially interested in restaurants who can offer unique fulfillment options during this time, such as contact less delivery and curbside pickup. Because of these new needs, this is an opportune time to assess technology investments that will help your restaurant or chain survive and take it to the next level when the pandemic has passed. The best strategy is to implement an integrated point of sale, loyalty, and delivery support with the HungerRush online ordering solution. When you use the same provider for all of your restaurant tech needs, everything is automated and efficient, making it easier than ever to scale your business to address the current situation while preparing for the future. 

To learn more about the HungerRush online ordering solution, request a demo today. You can also download our free ebook of strategies to protect your revenue and reduce costs while surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join us on the morning of April 14 for a free webinar on how restaurants can protect their revenue and profitability during these unexpected times. Click here to save your spot! 

Demystifying the Cloudiness in Cloud-Based POS Systems

Demystifying the Cloudiness in Cloud-Based POS SystemsA recent article from Reforming Retail discussed the reasoning behind a recent acquisition of Cloud POS provider.  The reasoning was to make the provider more competitive and address market needs.  As I read through the article, I was reminded that the ambiguity surrounding the Cloud moniker has now reached the Point of Sale industry.

There are many Venture Capital-backed upstarts and “Next Gen” POS solution providers claiming to be cloud based. It is becoming the buzz in the industry.  Just like Cloud Computing became an overused reference and everyone jumped on that bandwagon, the idea of having a Cloud POS system is becoming one, too.  What we are forgetting, and should be talking about, is the customer experience, not just the platform or method of delivery.  Let’s break it down a bit further….

Restaurant owners don’t wake up in the morning and say “Wow, I need to go to the cloud today!” (at least I hope they don’t).  What they are asking for is a better customer experience.  When considering a POS system, this means better availability and performance, a system that is easier to manage, and one that delivers key functionality needed to not only run part of their business but help them grow.

This makes complete sense and sounds reasonable, right?  Like many other industries have experienced, technology is helping transform the restaurant space and the Point of Sale experience is prime for disruption.  At HungerRush, we are not alone in this thinking. All you have to do is look at the volume of VC money pouring into startups, the investments from PE firms, and the competitive landscape in any category.  You’d think that all these resources should help drive a better customer experience.  Of course, companies want to consume it as-a-Service (SaaS), which lends itself to the software being delivered using modern technologies as opposed to outdated software and tools. 

Cloud is a platform and SaaS is a delivery model.  Talking to our customers and prospects, three consistent themes come up

  1. Mobile capabilities (tablets)
  2. Better availability and performance (user efficiency)
  3. Lower overhead associated with running the solution (cost management) 

 And, by the way, a nice modern user interface helps too.  The SaaS delivery model helps enable this.  With SaaS, updates are delivered in real-time and the software runs on a highly available and powerful computing environment.  Total cost of ownership is reduced as the customer does not have to invest expensive resources in supporting the solution on-premises like hardware, upgrades and local support while getting a faster time to value/benefit. 

These are all great things, but none really gets to the core of features that make software productive.  These core features allow restaurant owners to not only run their business but manage their costs while doing so.  At the same time, they are not having to work around the software – the software is working for them.  The software delivery model does not outweigh the need to focus on features and to know your customer.  We think a combination of functionality that is aligned with the right delivery model produces the best business result. 

At HungerRush, we believe that the right delivery model happens to be SaaS.  We also believe that every good SaaS model must have well-designed pricing and packaging options. Our customers, the restaurant owners, tell us they want software costs that are affordable and predictable.  They want to ensure access to new functionality as we implement it, and new technology as it evolves.  

We are fully committed to the SaaS delivery model and continue to invest in making our portfolio of solutions robust, scalable, easy to integrate with and easy to use.  In response to our customer’s desires, our 2019 and 2020 roadmap is focused on SaaS enablement, mobility, online ordering, and integrations.  We are excited to be continually innovating and delivering more value to our customers.

Related Resources

Post By Tags

Schedule A Demo Now

How Restaurants Can Identify Savings Opportunities to Maximize Profits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

How Restaurants Can Identify Savings Opportunities to Maximize Profits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many industries hard, particularly the socially-oriented ones such as restaurant dining. The urgent need for social distancing to avoid spreading the virus is driving people to stay home and causing mandatory closing of dine-in facilities in many areas. Restaurants are now analyzing their business to find ways to survive and thrive during this change in consumer behavior. With the sharp declines in dine-in sales, maintaining profitability is a real concern. Keeping costs down and optimized is crucial, and now is the time to consider your options. Here are some strategies for reducing your expenses during COVID-19.

Analyze Your Restaurant Costs

There are two types of costs for restaurants: fixed (unchanging), and variable. It’s worth the time to analyze where your money is going, and identify which costs are variable and can be adjusted to help maintain your profit margin. Top costs for restaurants include:

  • Labor: This category includes staff wages, tip distribution, health insurance, and sick leave. Restaurants are a high-turnover industry, so recruitment and training are also labor cost factors.
  • Inventory: As one of the biggest costs besides labor, inventory is where you should focus next. Food accounts for the majority of inventory costs, but there’s also operational supplies (tableware, napkins, straws, cleaning supplies, packaging for takeout and delivery, and more). 
  • Occupancy: The costs you pay to occupy your building space include your rent (or mortgage payment), insurance, maintenance (garbage pickup, landscaping, parking lot lighting, etc.), property taxes, security, and any safety regulation compliance costs. 
  • Utilities: This category covers power (gas and/or electric), water/sewer, phone, and internet/Wi-Fi connection to run your point of sale (POS) and back-office equipment.
  • Equipment: Everything from stoves, grills, dishwashers, and refrigerators/freezers to POS and kitchen display system (KDS) terminals and back-office computers falls into this category.

Request a demo and get ready for the rush.

New call-to-action

Identify Savings Opportunities for Variable Costs

Restaurant variable costs can be adjusted by making operational changes to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic circumstances.

  • Labor: It may be necessary to cut back on employee hours, at least temporarily. A beneficial option during this time might be to reallocate your staff as you shift your operational focus. With dine-in facilities shuttered, emphasizing online order fulfillment and delivery services can keep you going. Servers and hosts can help out with kitchen prep, become delivery drivers or assist with curbside pickup and distribution. Your POS should have labor scheduling and management features you can leverage to optimize your staff costs.
  • Inventory: Your first priority is to use up the food you have on hand to minimize waste and spoilage—especially with specialty items that have shorter shelf lives. You may also need to temporarily reduce your menu offerings and focus more tightly on your core menu. Identify a reduced selection of ingredients and plan meals based on those, creating a limited menu from these choices. To keep it interesting, restaurants can offer a “menu of the week” to rotate different meal options and promote through digital marketing avenues

You could also create meal deals based on the most popular items to offer families for quick “grab and go” service: spaghetti dinner for four, or a family burger bundle. Another option is to package the ingredients for a meal and let customers prepare the dish themselves at home with instructions you provide.

  • Utilities: Energy efficiency is key in keeping these costs down. Reducing your operating hours will help to lower these expenses, and you can conserve by not needing to run lights, air conditioning, etc. in dining space you aren’t using—just essential areas such as the kitchen and pickup/delivery areas. If you do adjust your operating hours, make sure that is reflected online wherever customers will be seeking information about your restaurant: Google maps and local search (or third-party partner) sites, social media channels, and on your website and mobile app. Customers need to know that you are still open, and when.
  • Equipment: Only using the equipment you need and cutting back on what is less necessary (dishwashers, for example, or laundry equipment for cloth napkins and tablecloths) will help trim the utility bills as well. You can also try strategies such as prepping and cooking meals in bulk to reduce equipment running time. This becomes easier with a scaled-back menu.

Stay Optimized with an Integrated Suite of Technology 

Technology is one cost that is vital to success during the COVID-19 crisis. Make sure you are leveraging a suite of restaurant tech that includes POS, KDS, online ordering and delivery management, website, and mobile app. The best tech choices will have features that can help you manage and streamline online orders and maintain communication and engagement with your customers. 

Keeping restaurant costs down is just part of the puzzle. Restaurants need to understand the big picture of COVID-19 and have a plan in place to not only reduce costs, but maximize profits. Download our free restaurant survival guide to learn how to protect revenue and profitability during these unexpected times.

HungerRush is a leading provider of restaurant technology designed by industry experts. For more information on how our integrated solutions can help your business survive and grow, request a demo today. 

Restaurant Survival Guide

Learn more about protecting revenue and profitability during unexpected times with HungerRush’s free restaurant survival guide ebook.

New call-to-action

Four Restaurant Marketing Strategies That Will Open New Doors During COVID-19

Four Restaurant Marketing Strategies That Will Open New Doors During COVID-19

The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a major impact on all sectors of public life. The need for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has led to voluntary and mandatory shutdowns in many industries. As people avoid contact with each other (and especially crowds), restaurant dining has declined. Sales have decreased anywhere from 32% to 90% in some cases. Concern over losing major revenue during this time of unexpected change in consumer behavior means restaurants must re-evaluate their business and marketing strategies and focus on the areas that they can control. Here are four restaurant marketing strategies to help you survive until this crisis has passed.

1. Heavy Focus on Online Ordering and Delivery 

Although some restaurants have closed, most have guidelines stating that they cannot offer dine in, but delivery and take-out are still allowed. Capitalize on this lifeline by putting a heavy focus on your online ordering and delivery services. Delivery options can include in-person delivery and “no-contact delivery,” where the driver leaves the order at the customer’s doorstep or in their apartment lobby. Take-out options can include in-person pickup or curbside – having the order brought out to the customer’s car. 

Many consumers are worried about (or are currently experiencing) grocery store shortages as “panic buying” peaks. One restaurant marketing strategy is to use this concern in your messaging: assure consumers that you are still in business and can provide the delicious food they are used to having. For customers who are self-quarantined, a reliable food source can be a great relief; and income from delivery can be a great relief for your business.

If you don’t have in-house delivery, or if you find you need to cut staff or reduce overhead, you can partner with a third-party provider such as DoorDash. Having an integrated restaurant point of sale (POS) system will allow you to leverage third-party drivers to get your food to your customers while still retaining control of your customer data. 

Request a demo and get ready for the rush.

New call-to-action

2. Encouraging Gift Card Purchases

Another way that patrons can infuse cash into restaurants while still adhering to social distancing guidelines is to purchase gift cards (preferably online) for future use. These purchases act almost as a “microloan” for consumers to support their favorite restaurants during this time of need. And the cards can stimulate additional income when they are redeemed: one survey found that 59% of consumers spend more than the card’s face value. Digital gift cards are the perfect way for your most loyal customers to support you without leaving the safety of their homes—and to help ensure you’re still operating normally when they can resume normal dining-out activities. 

3. Modifying Your Restaurant Loyalty Program 

A restaurant marketing strategy that can encourage customers to use online ordering and delivery and to purchase gift cards is to modify your existing loyalty program and ramp up rewards for these behaviors. For example, you could offer double points for gift card purchases, or a free drink with an online order. This tactic will help businesses reshape how patrons do business with their organizations and encourage them to continue supporting you during this abnormal time.

4. Leverage Digital Marketing to Spread the Word

Before the pandemic, you may have used a combination of traditional and digital marketing for your restaurant. Now, however, traditional methods such as in-store signage, billboards, and flyers will be less effective. Social distancing and self-isolation will make consumers even more dependent on their smartphones and devices to stay connected to the world and seek some form of normalcy. Digital will be the best restaurant marketing strategy to keep in touch with your customers and promote your new focuses. You can use a combination of social media and email marketing to spread the message that you are still available to provide customers with their favorite meals. Make sure your website and mobile app are up to date (especially your online menus!) and optimized for an exceptional customer experience. Do not forget to update your Google My Business listing with current hours of operation. Businesses may also adjust their services to reflect their current state of business. You may also leverage GMB posts to share important updates that customers will find helpful.

Stay Prepared with an Integrated Restaurant Management System

All restaurant marketing strategies can be made easier with the right technology. An integrated restaurant management system is the key to keeping your restaurant prepared no matter the changes in consumer behavior. 

HungerRush is a leading provider of restaurant technology that is continually tailored to meet evolving customer needs—such as our latest “no-contact delivery” feature updates available in our POS and online ordering platforms and coming soon for our mobile app customers. Request a demo today to learn how HungerRush can help your restaurant get through the Coronavirus pandemic and continue to grow beyond it. 

Survive and Thrive

The Next 30 Days and Beyond

Offer online ordering and on-demand delivery services with this limited time starter bundle to keep your restaurant running today and future-proof for tomorrow!

New call-to-action

How Restaurants Can Diversify to Account for Unexpected and Sudden Changes in Consumer Behavior

How Restaurants Can Diversify to Account for Unexpected and Sudden Changes in Consumer Behavior

In the restaurant business, sometimes unpredictable events can occur that disrupt everyday life. Things like pandemics, natural disasters, and other types of crises can turn everything on its head and present significant and unforeseen challenges to both consumers and businesses, not to mention a further toll on the economy. 

When unexpected events like this arise and restaurants are caught without a plan in place, it affects more than just profits. You can face a loss of customers, food safety concerns or serious inventory waste. If it is serious enough, you could end up unable to pay employees who depend on you for their living, or unable to serve customers who depend on you for meals.

In 2016, 55 people were infected in two E. coli outbreaks after eating at Chipotle. While the outbreaks were confined to those two locations, the widespread public fear caused significant losses in profits to the industry, let alone that particular chain. It resulted in significant damage to the brand, leading to a long and difficult recovery process.

Now is the perfect time to consider how your restaurant can operate should an unexpected event hinder or discourage people from visiting your store.

Consider the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and previous outbreaks of unfamiliar diseases. While the current chances of being infected by the virus are low, the fear of the unknown is causing a consumer panic that may have very real repercussions upon the economy. 

Are you prepared for what can happen when consumer confidence is low and unexpected issues cause sudden changes in consumer behavior? If not, here are a few ways you can diversify your business and be prepared:

Request a demo and get ready for the rush.

New call-to-action

Offer a Variety of Ordering and Delivery Options

Regardless of the scenario, customers today want options. Providing these options not only makes your customers happy, but also protects your business should unexpected events arise that cause changes in consumer behavior. Protect revenue and drive customer loyalty during these uncertain times with these changing guest ordering expectations. View our on-demand webinar now.

The more options and different avenues you offer, the more of a chance you have in case of a sudden incident disrupting your restaurant.

Ordering

The goal here is to reach the widest audience possible, and offering a variety of ordering options does just that. Customers should be able to order their food:

  • In your restaurant
  • Over the phone
  • On your website
  • On your app
  • On third-party ordering platforms

The more options you offer, the more likely you are of not only increasing sales and broadening your audience, but also protecting your businesses in case sudden shifts in behaviors arise.

What would happen if your third-party partners put a halt to their services because of an unexpected event? You’d still want to give your customers multiple options so they can order from you in other ways, like pickup or take out. If you only offer one option, you will be without a solution if that option is no longer viable.

Delivery

It’s no secret that delivery is booming. Restaurant delivery is projected to grow at more than three times the rate of on-premise sales by 2023. The convenience and ability for customers to remain at home is very appealing to consumers today, and can be even more significant in case of a sudden event.

Similar to ordering, customers should have options for receiving their food:

  • Eat in your restaurant
  • Pickup at your restaurant
  • Get orders delivered

Should an unexpected event arise that causes customers to not want to leave their homes—like in the case of poor weather or an outbreak of a disease—you need to have a backup plan to serve these customers. Offering delivery both in-house and through third-party services can also help increase your reach and protect your business.

As the coronavirus becomes more of a nuisance, HungerRush has implemented a  “no-contact delivery”  feature updates available in our POS, Online Ordering platform and soon available for our mobile app customers, we also partner with DoorDash – which offers restaurants the ability to leverage DoorDash drivers to deliver to their customers as a white labeled service – this is especially helpful for those that may have to let go staff or need to reduce overhead due to the current crisis. The best part is you retain your customer data.   

Leverage a Restaurant Mobile App

An integrated mobile app provides an additional ordering avenue for your customers. It also is a great way to stay connected with your customers and remain top of mind. You can use it to send push notifications when you have important announcements or updates, like letting customers know your business is still open and operating during a crisis.

For example, after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in 2017, many customers struggled to find information on which restaurants were open for business. Push notifications and app updates can ensure your customers are never left guessing if your business is open or closed during abnormal times.

You can also use this method to send personalized promotions and offers to customers and stay relevant to strengthen your relationships with them. Loyal customers will want to do business with you when times are both good and bad.

An Integrated Restaurant POS is Crucial

The more options you offer to customers, the more important it becomes to implement an integrated restaurant point of sale system. Without an integrated solution, orders can be difficult to keep track of and customer data can be lost.

Make sure your POS system integrates with necessary solutions, like:

  • Online ordering platforms
  • Delivery services and delivery drivers
  • Your website and mobile app
  • Tablet POS
  • Kitchen display systems

Disorganization can wreak havoc upon your operation. It’s critical that you invest in an integrated, comprehensive system that allows you to manage all of your different avenues from one platform. An integrated system helps you stay organized, remain in control, and can safeguard your business from disruption. With these tools you can overcome unexpected or unforeseen challenges and keep yourself afloat during even the hardest times.

The experts at HungerRush are ready to help you prepare for the future of your business. We offer technology that is hand-tailored to fit the needs of your restaurant. Request a demo today to learn how our industry-leading technology can benefit your restaurant in good times and in bad.

Survive and Thrive

the Next 30 Days and Beyond

Offer online ordering and on-demand delivery services with this limited time starter bundle to keep your restaurant running today and future-proof for tomorrow!

New call-to-action

5 Tips for Training and Maintaining High-Performing Restaurant Employees

5 Tips for Training and Maintaining High-Performing Restaurant Employees

Keep these 5 “Rs” in mind to help reduce staff turnover

I was leaving a restaurant recently and noticed a reserved parking spot right in front with a sign that read “Reserved for Employee of the Month.” An employee parked her car in the spot and when she jumped out of the car and headed inside, I noticed she looked really excited to start the day. She had obviously been recognized and rewarded for a job well done.

The owner of that restaurant knows a thing or two about maintaining good employees!

Training and maintaining high-performing employees is as crucial to your restaurant as your food, location, atmosphere, and prices. Manage hard or hire smart. Getting it right can be one of the most difficult things you do.

Here are some tips:

Tip #1: Recruit Exceptional People

Start with a realistic job description. Ask for support from corporate headquarters, if applicable, ask your employees to contribute to the description, and use online resources such as WebstaurantStore to help craft job descriptions for all of your positions.

Before you post the job, you may want to first consider promoting from within—a great way to fill positions and recognize your high-performing employees. If they see growth opportunities, they’re more likely to stay with you long-term.

Another helpful and sometimes overlooked resource is simply to ask your current employees for referrals.

Here are a few restaurant-specific hiring sites where you can post jobs:

Others include: LinkedIN and Craigslist.

Tip #2: Refresh Your Training Plans and Materials

The National Restaurant Association cites “quality of training” as one of the seven attributes that people are looking for in a restaurant job.

You probably already have some type of training plan for new employees, even if it’s a very basic list of rules and tasks. But new employees will appreciate your investment of time and resources in refreshing or upgrading your curriculum. 

To get started creating or revising an employee training plan for your restaurant, make a checklist for everything employees need to know based on their role, including how to use the various components of your restaurant management system. Whether employees work in front-of-house, back-of-house, or back-office positions, be sure they are fully trained for the tasks they need to do on your POS system.

Shadowing experienced employees, assigning mentors, and role playing are all effective training methods. Consider purchasing video training modules for interactive, visual learning.

Tip #3: Reinforce Training

After employees have been on board for a few weeks, conduct brief review sessions and repeat the sessions periodically. Ask job-specific questions such as these:

  • Ask servers to tell you about their most challenging customer and how they handled it.
  • Ask line cooks how the order handoff process is going and if they have any ideas for improvement.
  • Ask your back-office staff to produce a few reports from your restaurant reporting software and explain the data to you.

Use review sessions as a learning experience for yourself too. The sessions could uncover some issues in your restaurant you weren’t aware of.

Tip #4: Respect Your Employees

Make sure you are respectful toward each and every employee, and that they are respectful to each other. Get to know them and create a personal connection so they don’t feel like just a worker.

Ask employees regularly for their suggestions for ways to improve your restaurant. You’ll probably find that they have some good ideas. They’ll feel a sense of ownership and respect when you implement one of their suggestions.

Say “Thank You” more often. This is one of the easiest things you can do to show employees respect, but we’re so busy we often forget how important it is. An employee who feels appreciated will give you their best.

Tip #5: Reward Your Employees

One of the best things you can do to maintain your star employees is to recognize their efforts and reward them with a small token of your appreciation.

Review comment cards from customers and scan social media comments to identify your top performers. Tap into the employee management component of your restaurant POS system to check their attendance and overtime hours. Sales competitions can also help identify stars. Recognize your employees in front of their co-workers.

The reward can be a preferred parking spot, a paid vacation day, a gift card, or a restaurant-branded item like a shirt or coffee mug. Ask your employees what would make them feel recognized; you may be surprised that it really doesn’t take much.

Once your team is fully on board, a robust restaurant management system makes employee labor management a breeze, with these tasks at your fingertips:

  • Manage employee profiles and assigned job roles
  • Monitor employee hours and overtime
  • View real-time employee labor cost information
  • Export payroll data for easy payroll system integration

All of us in the restaurant business know that our industry is infamous for its high turnover rates. But let’s not just accept that as inevitable. If you invest in recruiting good people, start them out with the proper training, continuously reinforce those skills, show them respect at all times, and recognize them for a job well done, you’re on your way to having and keeping a highly skilled, high-performing staff.

Learn more about how our restaurant management software can save you time managing employees and help grow your business.

See it in action, request a demo today!

Survive and Thrive the Next 30 Days and Beyond

Offer online ordering and on-demand delivery services with this limited time starter bundle to keep your restaurant running today and future-proof for tomorrow!

New call-to-action

Related Resources

Post By Tags

Schedule A Demo Now

Relationship Between Restaurant Customer Experience and Profitability

Relationship Between Restaurant Customer Experience and Profitability

Customers Expect Superior Restaurant Experiences

A restaurant’s brand is no longer just about the food. Now, the restaurant customer experience (CX) plays a vital role in which restaurants customers choose. The CX is the connection a customer has with your brand and all of the touch points included in their experience with you. It includes everything from your marketing messaging, to how they interact with your website, how your staff treats customers, how your atmosphere makes people feel, and everything in between.

As new technologies have developed and consumer lifestyles have changed, the CX has evolved. Years ago, food and price were the main things that mattered most to customers. But as competition gets tighter in the restaurant industry every year, restaurants are competing for business and are stepping up their games to stand out and provide the “wow” factor customers want. If you aren’t paying attention to these shifts in trends and expectations, your restaurant profitability could quickly fall behind. Here’s how a positive customer experience affects your restaurant profit margin:

1.   Great Customer Experiences Produce Happy Customers

The first step in creating an ideal customer experience is to reduce or eliminate pain points, such as long wait times or incorrect orders. Improving your operational efficiencies helps create a more seamless experience for your guests. For example, an improved seating layout might create more comfortable dining, or a tablet POS system can help speed up wait times and provide a more accurate ordering experience. Offering multiple ways for customers to order (onlineapp, phone, and in person) provides the convenience today’s busy diners demand. By solving your customers’ problems, you’re giving them a more pleasant experience.

Another big part of the restaurant customer experience is the way you interact with your customers. By personalizing the way you communicate with them, you’re creating stronger, more positive relationships. Consumers want to feel connected to a brand, and improved communication is the perfect way to increase their bond to your business.

Providing outstanding customer experiences can give you a real competitive advantage. Consumers today are looking for new, exciting experiences. In one survey, 42% of people said they are more likely to buy from a company that offers novel ways to experience its products and services. They don’t respond well to traditional marketing methods like they used to, so finding ways to keep the experience fresh can have a direct impact on your restaurant profitability.

2.   Happy Customers Lead to Greater Customer Loyalty

A satisfied customer can quickly turn into a loyal customer, and loyal customers can almost literally be worth their weight in gold when you consider their lifetime value. If a customer is happy with their experience, they are more likely to stick with your restaurant and return time and time again. The next time they’re craving a bite to eat, they will remember the great experience they’ve had with you in the past. Being attentive to customers’ needs allows restaurants to convert up to 95% of diners into repeat customers.

Not only will loyal customers make return visits, but they’re also likely to bring in even more customers. People who are happy with their restaurant choices will share their experiences with their family and friends.

Word-of-mouth marketing is an increasingly crucial factor in today’s environment—it’s 5 times more effective than paid media marketing, as people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a business recommended by someone they know. Online reviews also heavily influence how consumers choose brands. A 2019 study found that 72% of respondents always or frequently read reviews before making a decision on places to eat.

By providing great customer experiences, you increase the positive word-of-mouth and online review recommendations, which help draw in new customers and strengthen the loyalty of your current customers.

3.   Greater Customer Loyalty Results in Greater Restaurant Profitability

More loyal customers mean more repeat business for your restaurant, resulting in greater sales. As with any business, the probability of selling to an existing customer is much higher (60%-70%) than the chances of making a first-time sale to a new one (5%-20%). When diners return, they’ll likely spend more per transaction and will be more willing to try new menu items. Plus, the restaurant profit margin is higher for both repeat sales and sales brought in through word-of-mouth, because you don’t have to subtract acquisition costs. For these reasons, increasing your retention rate by just 5% can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 125%.

When you provide an outstanding customer experience, not only will your profits increase, but you’ll also gain a loyal following and set your business up for long-term success. If your customers are sticking around and supporting your restaurant (and bringing friends), your business will continue to thrive. 

Looking for more information on how to improve the customer experience in your restaurant and boost profitability? Download our free eBook to learn what you can do to keep those satisfied repeat diner dollars rolling in.  

HungerRush is a leading provider of restaurant POS solutions & technology that helps you create the best possible customer experiences. Our integrated, comprehensive solutions are designed by industry experts and backed by 24/7 customer support. Learn more, Request a Demo today. 

Related Resources

Post By Tags

Schedule A Demo Now

2020 Restaurant Industry Trends: What Owners or Managers Need to Know

2020 Restaurant Industry Trends: What Owners or Managers Need to Know
2020 trend concept. Hand flip wood cube change year 2019 to 2020

The coming year looks to be another healthy one for the restaurant industry. People are spending more and more at restaurants, although not all of it is dining in. There’s a huge uptick in carry out and delivery that has the industry pulling ahead of the growth rate of grocery store spending1. Consumers are living busier lifestyles than ever, and more often than not, they would rather not cook for themselves. They also have more restaurant options available, so smart owners and managers need to stay on top of the restaurant industry trends in order to draw (and keep) customers. Whether you operate a full servicefast casual, or quick service restaurant, take note of these 2020 restaurant trends for the latest insights into what your customers really want this year.

Customizable Cuisine

New diets and eating trends are on the rise and ever changing—either for health reasons or taste preferences and/or mindfulness about ecological impact and sustainability. Customers have always preferred customizable menu options in general, and now they’re looking for more healthy choices such as gluten-free, dairy-free,  Paleo-friendly options, and plant-based proteins. They want to be able to make swaps such as a plant-based patty instead of a beef burger, or a gluten-free bun instead of a regular one.

Therefore, it’s important to have a restaurant point of sale (POS) system where you can easily customize and accommodate all of the options you have available for each dish. Your staff should be able to quickly and easily make swaps or substitutions and add modifiers for menu item customization in the point of sale system. And when you want to add new menu items to meet the ever changing customer demand, having a centralized menu management tool from within the POS system will save you time and make changes consistently across locations and in your online ordering system.  

Multiple Ordering Channels

While restaurant spending has outpaced grocery spending, an increasing percentage of that restaurant money is being spent outside of the restaurant. It’s projected that in 2020, more than half of restaurant spending will be “off-premise”—i.e., drive-thru, carryout, or delivery, rather than a sit-down, dine-in experience. With customers craving convenience more than ever, a major 2020 restaurant trend is the need to have an omnichannel selling approach to capture the widest audience possible. Make sure that along with in-store orders, you can also accept orders via phone, website, and mobile app—and if you can, offer delivery (either your own, or through integration within your POS system partnership with a third-party provider such as DoorDash).  All ordering channels are necessary to maximize your reach and sales, but 70% of customers prefer to order directly from a restaurant, so keep that in mind when implementing your online ordering strategy.

To maximize these options, it’s crucial to have integrated online ordering and delivery support with your restaurant POS. This way, you can keep track of all your tickets in the order they come in, subsequently reducing customer wait times. An integrated system will also allow you to better collect and manage customer data for improved loyalty programs and marketing that will strengthen customer relationships and optimize the customer experience.

Next-Level Customer Experiences

Customized Discounts

Today’s customers are becoming immune to traditional methods of advertising. Instead, restaurants are focusing on creating personalized marketing messages and promos to attract past customers back; and your restaurant POS will play a large role in creating these messages. For example, restaurants can use customer purchasing histories to send targeted offers for similar items your customers might like. 

Fast and Accurate Ordering

To improve the in-store experience, restaurants are stepping up their game to provide faster and more accurate service than ever, with the help of innovative technology such as the use of a tablet POS

A Loyalty Program Accessible from Any Location and Ordering Channel

Finally, an advanced loyalty program can help restaurants provide a more enriched, efficient, and personalized experience. By creating the loyalty program within your restaurant point of sale system, your customers can earn points and rewards without carrying a physical card with them. Plus their rewards will be earned and tracked across multiple locations and even when ordering online.

Expansion of Restaurant Mobile Apps

Another 2020 restaurant trend is enhanced mobile app online ordering. Apps are easy for customers to download and use, and can provide several enticing benefits for them, including:

  • Mobile ordering capabilities
  • Information about menu items and nutrition facts
  • Visibility into current specials and deals
  • Personalized promotions
  • Upselling and cross-selling opportunities (which benefit you as well)

Restaurants should look for a branded app that includes the following:

  • Integration capabilities: Your restaurant’s app should connect with your restaurant point of sale so that you have one comprehensive system to store data. Integration also allows you to update the app with new menu or pricing information in real time as necessary, for a consistent ordering experience across all platforms.
  • Intuitive ordering: Make it easy for your customers to place orders and to save their information (such as contact details and previous orders for simple, fast ordering).
  • Security: You don’t want your customers to feel uneasy about paying with their credit or debit cards within your app, so make sure you choose a solution that is PCI compliant.

More Limited-Time Offers (LTOs)

With so many dining options available, it’s hard to capture the attention of customers. To increase interest and foot traffic in 2020, restaurants will be offering more dynamic limited-time offers. LTOs generate a sense of urgency and excitement, playing on consumers’ fear of missing out on a special exclusive. Offers such as new menu items, dine-in-only deals, and “buy one, get one free” promos can all help to boost your bottom line and keep customers coming back for more. According to Steve Jackson, CEO of Hungry Howie’s, key factors for successful LTOs include “unique ingredients, a novelty factor, and the right price.”

Another critical factor for the success of this strategy is equipping your restaurant with a POS system that enables you to send marketing messages via email, text, and/or in-app notifications, so you can easily get the word out when you launch a new LTO. Then, restaurants can track the effectiveness of these campaigns by pulling sales reports and comparing benchmarks. It’s also essential to have a menu management system that can quickly and easily make edits and customizations, so you can effortlessly update offers as you please.  

Staying Ahead in 2020

Keeping informed about the latest restaurant industry trends is crucial to thrive in today’s highly competitive environment. Even more important is choosing the right restaurant technology equipped with the features and flexibility to allow you to meet and exceed shifting consumer demands.

HungerRush provides comprehensive, integrated restaurant point of sale solutions for help with online ordering, mobile apps, delivery support, loyalty programs, and more. We offer the features restaurants need to stay current with restaurant industry trends in 2020 and beyond. To find out more,   New call-to-action with HungerRush today.

1  https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/19/americans-putting-more-of-their-budget-toward-eating-out.html

Related Resources

Post By Tags

Schedule A Demo Now
X