Running a restaurant in today’s economy can be a struggle. Competition is fierce, rent is high, and it can be costly and difficult to stay on top of emerging trends and technology. In 2017, like the retail industry, restaurants are facing increasing pressure to start selling digitally.
For years now, the retail industry has known to start meeting their customers online with social media, online shopping, and digital customer service. But today’s hospitality customers are online too, whether you’re meeting them there or not. With online ordering booming, it’s becoming harder to reach your customers when so many other providers are available.
What are your reviews saying? Is your menu easily accessible online? Are your customers able to easily make reservations? Are you offering online ordering or delivery? It’s time to stop neglecting your customers' digital experience.
Customer Experience Begins Online
Your customers’ experience of your restaurant begins online. Having positive reviews on sites like Yelp can help to shape your customers’ perception before they even set foot in your restaurant. Higher end restaurants and busy chains are learning the importance of offering digital reservations, either through their own website or through programs like Open Table.
RetailMeNot, a deal-seeking service, recently reported that more than 1 in 3 diners are researching restaurants online before they visit in person.
OpenTable recently announced a bot integration with FaceBook Messenger, allowing guests to reserve tables via chatbot right from their chat feed. It won't be long before food delivery services are following suit.
Online sales and ordering are becoming more important too, particularly in casual dining and fast food establishments. Services like DoorDash, Foodora and JustEat (and countless others!) are putting quick and easy ordering at the tip of your fingers.
According to research firm the NPD Group, orders booked online via websites and mobile apps accounted for 1.9 billion food service visits, growing 18% last year, while overall traffic to restaurants dipped a bit in 2016.
These services not only offer easy, hassle-free online ordering, but many have built in analytics that can help you understand your most popular items and busiest times. Use this information to strategize your inventory and staffing decisions, saving you money. Just like your POS system, you can integrate your online ordering with cloud-based accounting software like Xero.
If you’re in the hospitality industry, it’s time to start looking at your digital presence. Survival in hospitality is a numbers game, and managing your bookkeeping is the first place to start. Online ordering services available are simple and streamlined and don’t need to complicate your current operations.
The good news is, it’s still early enough in the game to get started. Industry giants like Starbucks and Dominos have been leading the pack with online efficiency, but fellow chains like McDonald’s and Red Robin are only just starting to embrace digital ordering this year.
There’s still plenty of room in the market for smaller chains and entrepreneurs to take advantage of digital ordering and reservations, but it’s rapidly becoming a requirement, rather than a choice.
Ready to take the leap, but don’t know where to start? Give us a call today so we can help you move forward into the digital era with an online bookkeeping service.