Top tactics for restaurants — amid rule-change uncertainty

Trying to second-guess new rules and restrictions for the hospitality sector can tie you in knots. Much better to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered, so your revenue keeps flowing. Fortunately, tech can keep you on the front foot — whatever happens next.

Here are five important steps you can follow, so can keep taking orders, protect your revenues and grow customer loyalty during times of change.

1) Enable ordering and payment via QR codes

This is a quick win and increases customer convenience dramatically. With a system like iiko, it’s ultra-easy to make take your menu online and make it accessible via a QR code, within minutes for free. Alternatively, the same content can effectively serve as a quick-build website, enabling orders for click-and-collect or home delivery.

If you wish, you can enrich your QR-linked content by adding photos, fuller descriptions, tags for dietary options, and allergen information. It’s also possible to accept secure card payments too, making the whole experiences even easier and contactless for your customers and staff (monthly charge and merchant card processing fees apply).

2) Get customers using your app

Do you have an ordering app already? It may be worth rethinking your app strategy right now, especially as this channel could become one of your main sources of orders and revenue — whether customers are ordering from their tables, choosing click-and-collect, or opting for home delivery.

You can get a new branded app and/pr website, with our digital ordering partner Qikserve — or breathe new life and capabilities into your existing one.

With the right app technology, the operational side is handled with ease:

  • Digital orders are injected directly into your iiko ordering system
  • You can get a real-time view of your menu, processes, and customer behaviour insights
  • Multiple trading zones within the app can support different opening times, products and pricing 

It’s important that customers feel your app gives them a simple, authentic and convenient experience — that’s worthy of keeping on their phone — so they keep ordering from you.

3) Offer Smart Table Service

If in-store dining is allowed but queuing at the bar is banned, then this is another ‘must have’ in your armoury. But just like QR codes and ordering apps, Smart Table Service is the kind of feature that forward-thinking bars and restaurants should be offering anyway.

Put simply, your waiting staff can take orders at the table on a handheld device — and send them to the kitchen in a click. Contactless payments can be taken just as easily. This streamlines operations and provides high levels of speed and convenience for customers. It also means your staff can minimise close contact colleagues.

4) Reach more customers via delivery apps

Even if restaurants stay open, delivery apps are likely to surge in popularity over the colder, darker months of winter — so now is a great time to reach out to new customers.

With iiko, you can benefit from direct integration with top food delivery apps, so set-up is fast and easy, and orders arrive into your system with no need for rekeying.

To take full advantage of delivery apps, you need to be fast and responsive to change. These steps will help:

  • Save time by using iiko’s onboarding experts to help you set up your menus and pricing
  • Get insights on sales — so you can see which aggregator platforms give you the best results
  • Optimise sales: Add new menu items, update specials, and watch your pricing carefully

5) Strengthen promotions and loyalty

During times of restrictions, restaurant brands need to work harder to win and retain loyalty among customers. What you can’t offer in ambience or the personal touch, you need to provide through digital personalisation, incentives and rewards. Be mindful that competitors will step up their game.

The iiko platform has a wealth of loyalty features you can access. These include:

  • Programmes you can build yourself, based around products, discounts, gifts, combos, rewards and referrals, plus combinations of these.
  • Easy integration with popular third party loyalty apps 
  • Digital loyalty cards with balance checking and account top-up options
  • Sending alerts to customers about your latest offers — with push notifications 

It’s time to act

As previous restrictions have shown, the hospitality industry is incredibly resilient — and tech can make a huge difference. Planning for change now will inevitably ease some of the disruption and enable the orders to keep flowing and businesses afloat at this critical time. As a result, you can adjust to change with relative ease and bring customers with you.