Addressing the Online and In-House Restaurant Guest Experience in 2020

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Addressing the Online and In-House Restaurant Guest Experience in 2020

By Jon Levin, Director of Product Management for Star Micronics - 01/29/2020

Now with 2020 in full swing, restaurant owners are looking into their operations to see what can be improved upon, what can be cut out, and what can be transformed. Industry experts have been looking ahead at what needs to happen with the restaurant guest experience in 2020. Here’s what they’ve discovered:

Online
Customers crave convenience above all. It is a crucial contributor to what makes a positive restaurant guest experience. If it seems like you’re busier than ever, you can bet that your customers feel the same way. Online ordering is one of the biggest and most coveted conveniences in the industry this year. The restaurants that make ordering as convenient as possible are the restaurants that are going to be the most successful in 2020.  

Mobile and Online Ordering
When it comes to mobile and online ordering, the truth is in the numbers:

31% of consumers say they use third-party delivery apps at least twice a week.

Restaurants that utilize an online ordering system are able to grow their delivery revenue 30% more than those that do not.

Two-thirds of consumers say that they are more likely to visit a restaurant if they have previously ordered from them online.

What these statistics tell us is that customers don’t just want a way to order online and get food delivered. They want a convenient, intuitive system that can make the entire process easier.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: To get started, partner with a third-party online ordering service like DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats. Customers are already familiar with these services and enjoy using them regularly. They make it easier for both you and customers to do business with one another.

In-House
We are in the digital days, which means doing anything analog is going to be more challenging than it used to be. This includes getting customers into your physical restaurants. The best way to solve this challenge is to provide the kinds of convenient, fast, and streamlined in-house experiences that customers traditionally expect from digital channels.

Self-Service
Once again, the truth is in the numbers:

  • 25% of restaurant customers have used a self-ordering kiosk within the past three months—up 7% year-over-year.
  • More than 65% of customers said they would visit a restaurant more often if self-service kiosks were offered.
  • 30% of customers prefer to order from a kiosk vs. a cashier if the lines were of equal length.

It’s clear that self-order kiosks are becoming more and more popular with restaurants and consumers alike. Many restaurants hesitate to pull the trigger on kiosk for fear that they will invest too much into a solution that their customers won’t like. Customers hesitate to use them at first because this technology is newer, and they don’t want to risk embarrassing themselves if they can’t navigate the technology.

While this can be intimidating, the risk is worth the reward. Kiosks streamline the ordering process to reduce wait times. They increase accuracy by sending orders directly from the customer to the kitchen staff without requiring anyone to serve as the messenger. They improve the speed of service by cutting out additional steps between when an order is placed and when it goes into the queue. All of this helps to improve the customer experience, and boost your profits at the same time.

Internet connectivity
Downtime is a dirty word in the hospitality industry. Every restaurant owner either has their own story of how they lost money from downtime, or has heard of a fellow restauranteur who has suffered that same loss. Downtime means that you can lose out on sales and irritate your customers both now AND in the future. This isn’t a risk that restauranteurs can take in a competitive market.

Look for a solution that can solve this problem and reduce the risk, like SteadyLAN from Star Micronics. This wired Ethernet service connects directly to an iPad or tablet connected to a networked printer via a Lightning cable. For businesses where Wi-Fi connectivity is not possible or is unreliable, connecting the SteadyLAN-compatible printer to the internet via a wired LAN, and then connecting the printer and iPad with your Lightning cable allows you to use internet on your iPad even if the Wi-Fi is down.

The Coveted Customer Experience
The secret trick to success isn’t much of a secret at all. You must simply figure out what your customers value more than the time, effort, and money that they will need to spend to enjoy your business. In order to beat your competitors, you must offer an experience that provides more value, takes less time, and requires less effort. Fortunately, this is easy to do with the right technology at your disposal.  

About the Author
Jon Levin is the Director of Product Management for Star Micronics and is passionate about the future of the retail and dining experiences. He thrives in putting software solutions together with hardware to enable that future. Jon works to ensure that Star Micronics’ partners and customers are the best supported and have the best solutions to thrive in the future of point of sale. Star Micronics, a POS provider, has designated a portfolio of printing, secure cash management, and customer engagement solutions for any retail or hospitality establishment with a POS or mPOS environment. See these solutions in action at MURTEC 2020.