Importance of Automation in the Restaurant Business: 5 Key Tips to Make it Work

For years now, the restaurant industry has been championing the adoption of new technologies. Yet, the industry has seen drastic changes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging digital transformation to boost business success has become one of the key ways to stay ahead of the game and keep up with the latest consumer trends. Restaurant technology comes in numerous forms and serves a variety of goals.

At its core, it aims to automate as many processes as possible to elevate the customer’s experience, boost internal efficiency, and minimize the risk of error. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Investing in the right restaurant tech allows you to automate everything from order processing to inventory management and analytics, but also improve the in-house experience with automated ordering, payment, and more. 

Making your employees’ lives easier is a major perk for every restaurant owner, as employee happiness boosts retention. Not only that, but the automation also allows you to elevate the customer experience and satisfaction.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can automate these and other processes to achieve higher efficiency, minimize financial waste, and improve your restaurant’s reputation.

Synching orders directly with your POS system

One of the biggest problems that restaurants face nowadays, especially in this volatile landscape driven by the pandemic, is managing orders seamlessly and without mistakes. In reality, manual order processing and management from third-party platforms is a big challenge, and errors are almost impossible to avoid.

When this happens, your restaurant’s reputation can take a big hit, because errors in order processing and delivery will almost always lead to negative feedback and customer turnover. To avoid this, you need to automate your order processing from third-party platforms and synch it with your POS system.

Our very own flagship product, Bitebell Connect, is a comprehensive system that allows you to seamlessly sync all orders with your POS system without any manual input. Instead of having to retype every order into your system, and use several devices in the process, Bitebell Connect will automatically forward all incoming orders to your POS from all local delivery platforms. By saving time and energy, you end up retaining customers. 

This feature is invaluable to restaurant owners and managers during peak ordering hours. When the peak ordering time overlaps with the busiest in-house hours of the day, chaos can ensue without an automated and centralized system. Our software ensures this high level of efficiency and takes the stress off you and your staff during the busiest hours of the day.

Whether you’re working with Glovo, Donesi, Wolt, or anyone else, Bitebell Connect will make sure orders are punched in quickly and accurately every time. This saves you time and money, but it also ensures that your customers get prompt service.

Seamless front-of-house ordering

Technology is not only changing the online landscape, it’s also transforming the in-house experience for customers. While many restaurants have been forced to shift to online ordering and curbside delivery, there are still many restaurants that allow in-house dining during the day. Provided that they adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures on-site, of course.

To boost safety and improve the customers’ overall experience, server tablets and ordering kiosks have become increasingly popular. In fact, even back in 2017, way before the pandemic, more than 68% of surveyed customers agreed that the use of server tablets improved their in-house dining experience.

Nowadays, this tech serves another important purpose, aside from decreasing customer effort. Many restaurants are using these tools to automate in-house ordering to deliver faster and safer service to their guests while lowering operational and payroll expenses on their end.

Monitoring feedback to improve your reputation

In the online world, people will judge your restaurant by the number of five-star ratings it has, and by the testimonials left by your customers on your site, social media, and third-party platforms. You can have the best menu, the most alluring brand visuals, and the tastiest food in town, but there is no denying that one negative review can set you back significantly.

In fact, the most important factor for modern customers when choosing a restaurant is the review. People need to validate their decision to order from your restaurant and to do that, they will analyze the reviews on Google and third-party platforms.

Keep in mind that people won’t just leave feedback praising your food, they will also scrutinize your delivery process, your order processing times, and the overall online experience with your restaurant. You need to have all this information at your disposal if you are to elevate their experience.

Bitebell allows you to do this as well by automatically sorting and synching all feedback for every order to give you a comprehensive overview along with a unified ticketing system so that you can manage your reputation with ease. You can go through every rating and every review to spot weaknesses and opportunities in your processes and improve in a smart and calculated way.

Efficient reporting and analytics

Your decision-making process should be based on relevant and actionable data. Having the right information at the right time allows you to stay flexible and respond to any problem quickly, but it also allows you to strategize. Your goal should be to use the right data to identify customer pain points and invest in the right areas of your business.

After all, your current menu might be perfect, but your delivery system might be ruining the customer’s experience. This is why you need to analyze the performance of your restaurant in real-time, across all delivery platforms and locations.

Use the Bitebell platform to seamlessly analyze your performance from a centralized location, and compare your performance to your competitors and industry averages. This will ensure that you back up every strategic decision with relevant insights.

reporting dashboards

Automated inventory management

Last but not the least, it doesn’t matter if you’re managing a single location or a chain of restaurants – you can’t hope to manage your inventory manually without making a single mistake. It’s not just about ensuring product and stock availability, it’s also about enabling an omni-channel sales approach.

Selling your products on multiple channels requires that your process orders from multiple locations in the online and offline worlds. When orders start to come in from all these locations, it can be easy to miscalculate the availability of certain resources in your inventory, which inevitably leads to customer dissatisfaction.

Automating your inventory management is about the only way to avoid these pitfalls without breaking the bank, especially knowing that as much as 82% of people will check online availability before ordering or visiting one of your locations. You can use a cloud-based resource management system to automate inventory management and get notified when stocks are running low, what products are available for customers, and what’s in high demand so that you can put an order in for the right resources.

Wrapping up

It’s not a question of whether or not automation is possible, it’s a question of implementing automation in the most effective way for your restaurant. Using these tools and platforms will allow you to enhance the customers’ experience, safeguard their health, and make your internal processes more efficient than ever before.

5 Smart Tips to Market Your Restaurant Delivery Online

The restaurant industry continues to evolve year after year, driven by technological advancement and consumer trends. Even without the pandemic on your hands, you know that the only way to stay afloat and thrive in a competitive environment is to adapt quickly. In 2020, meal delivery has skyrocketed around the world, as the pandemic has forced people to stay home and resort to online ordering.

Needless to say, this has created a highly competitive online market where restaurants are constantly struggling to acquire and retain customers. Having a delivery service, however, is not enough to inspire people to keep ordering from your restaurant – you have to market your delivery online and implement the right tech and tactics to reduce customer effort.

Today, we’re putting all of this into perspective and giving you five smart tips you can use right now to market your restaurant delivery online. Here’s what you can do to ensure stability, growth, and customer retention.

Build an omni-channel experience

Integration, connectivity, POS systems, cloud-based resource planning – these and many other technologies make omni-channel marketing, sales, and management a reality. Manually managing an omni-channel structure can seem like an impossible task nowadays, but nevertheless the modern customer demands that your restaurant has an omni-channel presence.

Simply put, you need to be present at every customer touchpoint to capitalize on all sales and marketing channels. This includes a restaurant, and a digital presence on third-party delivery services like Glovo, Donesi, or Wolt, as well as having a direct-to-consumer delivery system.

The problem still remains, though, as you need a centralized system that allows you to manage omni-channel efficiently and effectively. This is a problem that Bitebell solves for your restaurant.

Bitebell automatically forwards incoming orders directly to your POS system, eliminating the risk of error and boosting efficiency. Our innovative platform allows you to optimize delivery times by routing orders to your in-house delivery or your delivery partners.

In fact, Bitebell provides your restaurant with a robust infrastructure where you can easily and automatically team up with any partner and all delivery services. These include the popular ones like Glovo, but it extends to any partners in the market, allowing you to create an efficient long-term approach.

With Bitebell, you’re also able to seamlessly sync your menus across numerous delivery platforms to keep your offers up to date, and gain meaningful insights through built-in analytics features. Our unified ticketing system also allows you to centralize and manage all feedback from every platform so that you can manage your online reputation with ease.

Last, but not least, we should not all forget that people are cooking more at home, therefore we see a lot of new companies offering subscription models and ingredients in order to help people cook from home.

Keep your menu and offers fresh

Speaking of updating your menus, keep in mind that the modern customer loves consistency but craves innovation. In other words, it’s important to keep your menus and offers fresh, but to give your customers more of what they already know and love. And you need to do it by launching special deals and promotions regularly to spark interest, increase visibility, and motivate people to come back.

To that end, keep your most popular dishes on the menu, but add a dash of innovation to the mix. Use your analytics tools, feedback, and customer reviews to identify opportunities and weaknesses in your menu.

Perhaps you have a great main course list, but you could add more dessert options to reel in more customers. Maybe people love your staple dishes but are underwhelmed by your selection of drinks – adding products to your menus will incentivize them to place an order.

Vaznost restoranskog menu

Focus on marketing consistency

To make better marketing decisions and make an impact on your customers, you have to be consistent across all channels. After all, how are you supposed to know which Instagram posts work best if there is no consistency in scheduling and posting? Merely tracking likes and comments won’t do, since one of your posts might be performing better because you posted it at a time when more of your followers were online.

This is why you need to ensure marketing consistency and continuity across the online realm. Here are a couple of key steps you should follow:

  •         Create a consistent marketing budget for monthly posting and advertising.
  •         Create a weekly posting schedule based on industry and consumer data and insights.
  •         Identify the marketing channels that are most relevant for your restaurant.
  •         Strive to be consistent with every post in order to see how it’s performing and the kind of impact it has on your audience.
  •         Optimize your posts according to your target demographic and customer preferences.

One of your top goals with marketing consistency is to generate actionable insights so that you can make better decisions month after month. You can only make better marketing decisions if you’re consistent and if you know which posts have the highest reach, engagement, and impact.

Create and disseminate engaging content

How many times a year do you post new, original content online? One of the key mistakes restaurant owners make is that they typically organize one photoshoot and keep reusing old content throughout the year. This not only makes your content stale, but it also lowers your customers’ engagement online.

People want to see that your restaurant is keeping things fresh and innovative, they want to see new content posted frequently. To improve your influence online and keep users engaged, you should organize a photoshoot every three to four months, even if you don’t have any new products on offer.

This keeps your menu fresh and shows your users that your brand is always doing something interesting.

While you’re at it, be sure to capitalize on video content. Along with new images, you want to produce short 20-30-second videos and simple video sequences that showcase your dishes, how you prep the food, and how you package and deliver it to the customers.

Leverage influencers and user reviews

On a final note, keep in mind that people trust other users and influencers more than they trust your brand. To build social proof and earn the customers’ trust, you need to leverage user-generated content and brand advocates across the web.

To that end, make sure to:

  •         Find influencers that share your brand values and love your food.
  •       Tell your story about the product through three to four posts on their FB and IG Stories showcasing your food, their experience, and promoting your brand.
  •         Provide a promo code or special deals for influencers to give to their followers.
  •         Analyze all your user reviews and extract relevant insights.
  •         Look for patterns that point to problems and opportunities.

Most importantly, use your reviews to give the customers what they want. Listen to the users and act on the data, and you will have no problem making an impact in this competitive market.

Wrapping up

Your restaurant has the potential to grow and expand in 2021, but only if you implement the right tools and know how to market your online delivery. You have the quality, you have the brand, now be sure to integrate these tips into your strategy to take your restaurant to new heights of success.