When restaurants think of food allergies, technology isn’t necessarily the first topic that comes to mind. However, technology around food allergies can make both the guest and the restaurant have a smoother, safer and more efficient experience. Traditionally, restaurants have thought that they handle food allergies well, but there is definitely room for improvement both in terms of guest safety and restaurant profitability.
How can using food allergy technology make your venue more profitable?
Faster table turns (or phone order turns, as the case may be). The average food allergy conversation to determine what a guest can safely order takes between 8 and 12 minutes. If your typical table turn is 45 minutes, that’s a 20-30% increase. Technology can make that conversation drop to around 2 minutes and it adds confidence and accuracy to the outcome.
Higher ticket prices. Food allergy guests tend to order only one thing that tends to be simple and therefore most likely to be safe (think a side or a simple appetizer). When you can confidently and easily guide them to the more sophisticated items on the menu, the ticket prices go from below average to above. Guests are more likely to order in multiple categories because they have access to the knowledge about what’s safe for them.
Less stress on your staff. Especially during a busy service, remembering every ingredient in every component and all of the cross-contamination aspects can be overwhelming and scary. It’s a big burden for a server, manager or chef to be the one to make a life or death decision about what to eat with a guest. Take the guesswork out of it and remove the burden from your staff’s shoulders by using food allergy technology to assist in the conversation.
Less risk of an allergic reaction. Using fact-based data to assist with the decision making process creates a significantly higher accuracy rate than relying on the memories and brain power of your staff, particularly on the fly in service. People make mistakes, especially when they’ve got a bunch of tasks on their plates. I’ve had fine-dining chefs tell me there’s no pork on a charcuterie board and burger joints tell me there’s no pork in the restaurant (bacon??). It’s not that they don’t know, it’s that their brains have too many other things going on at once. The better route is to eliminate the human factor in deciding what’s allergen friendly and what should be avoided.
Increased customer loyalty. Food allergic guests are often the decision makers in a party on where everyone is going to be eating. People don’t want to make them feel unsafe or force them to sit around and not eat during the meal. If you handle food allergies above and beyond your peers, you end up with more loyal, more profitable, higher tipping customers and all of their friends and family as well.
Guests with food allergies want and deserve the same dining experiences as their non-food allergic friends and family. They want to be able to order an appetizer, an entrée, a side, a dessert and a cocktail without being a burden to both their party and the restaurant staff. Your use of technology can make you their venue of choice, putting all the benefits straight into your bottom line.