Now that everyone and their dogs seem to be online, it’s no surprise that the success of your restaurant very much depends on your ability to build a thriving online presence. But what makes an amazing online presence in the restaurant industry? A beautiful and functional website? A social media presence? Food ordering across a variety of first-party and third-party channels? The answer is a firm yes to all, and more.
Building a thriving restaurant business in a digital world means capitalizing on all customer touchpoints and creating an omnichannel experience for your customers. Having a physical location or a virtual food brand is not enough to succeed in such a competitive market anymore, rather, you need to make sure that your brand is engaging your audience and customers across the online realm.
This elevates your visibility and allows you to rise above your competitors, it builds authority and trust, but most importantly, it caters to the needs of your customers. And as all know, the customer’s needs come first.
What they need is for you to provide them with a seamless omnichannel experience, so let’s take a look at how you can build one for your restaurant and thrive together.
Omnichannel vs multichannel experiences
First things first, let’s draw a clear line between omnichannel and multichannel and consider why one is ultimately better than the other. Almost every restaurant starts its online journey by:
- Building a single channel, such as a website.
- Embraces a multichannel approach by adding channels to its strategy.
- Eventually gets stuck using only a couple of channels without ever building a true omnichannel presence.
If you want to break that status quo and transition to the next level online, you need to know the difference between omnichannel and multichannel. Here’s what that looks like:
|Brand Focus||Focusing on targeting as many customers as possible across a maximum number of communication channels.||Focusing on delivering a stellar customer experience on every channel and every platform.|
|What the customer
|Your brand has a presence on every channel, but the messaging can be inconsistent and confusing.||The brand messaging is consistent and strong on every channel.|
|Benefits||Multichannel is a fine approach for targeting as many people as possible.||Omnichannel is the best approach for customer retention and high conversion.|
|Challenges||Not maximizing the true potential of every channel to engage and convert.||You need to monitor the KPIs and collect the right data to optimize the customers’ experience.|
|The results||A highly fragmented and inconsistent customer experience.||An optimal and high-converting customer experience.|
As you can see, a multichannel approach does have its perks, as it allows you to generate results quicker. However, you’d be sacrificing quality for quantity with multichannel, and ultimately you’d fail to achieve your goals.
That’s why focusing on building an omnichannel presence from the start is a great investment in the future of your brand. Omnichannel delivers the kind of results that will propel your restaurant forward, so now let’s focus on the crucial steps to set up an omnichannel structure.
Getting everyone in your restaurant to work together
To deliver a seamless omnichannel experience to your customers, it’s important to inspire and empower everyone in your restaurant to work together. In a typical corporate setting, different teams will work in silos, which means that the team is working on its own and pursuing its own goals without really collaborating with the other sectors.
Sure, different teams are looking to achieve certain goals, but it’s also important to work with everyone else in order to create a seamless customer experience across all channels. This is a typical problem that you can transform into a big advantage for your restaurant.
Imagine what you can achieve in the digital realm if only everyone in your restaurant worked together. Eliminating any type of isolated work will allow you to create a true omnichannel structure.
Keep in mind that your level of service needs to be the same whether you’re communicating with customers online or offline. It should be the same whether you have an in-house delivery system or if you’re partnered with third-party delivery platforms like Wolt, Donesi, and others.
If the communication in your restaurant is efficient and seamless, and if the level of services is high as well, then that will help build brand consistency, and boost customer trust and loyalty across all channels.
Focusing on the customer, not the channel
The point of omnichannel is not to maximize your revenue, even though that is probably your ultimate goal. Rather, the key focus is on the customer and their journey. By focusing only on how you can use the channel to maximize conversions, you’ll fail to deliver the experience the customer wants, and you’ll inevitably alienate people from your brand.
But if you focus on designing your omnichannel customer experience around the customer and their needs, you will have no problem building deeper and more meaningful relationships. Here’s what this journey looks like from their point of view, step by step:
- Promise me something I need and want.
- Accommodate my basic needs and satisfy my base expectations.
- Engage me online and get to know me.
- Make it easier to satisfy my needs over time.
- Be in tune with my needs and guide me on my journey.
- Be aware of my evolving needs, provide a solution preemptively.
Managing crucial data in a centralized system
To run an efficient and effective omnichannel structure, you need to have the right data at your disposal, automate certain processes to avoid human error, and run your operation from a centralized platform. After all, managing an omnichannel restaurant manually is next to impossible nowadays, both from a logistical and financial standpoint.
To make omnichannel management sustainable and stay on top of the right data at the right time, you can use a handy tool like Bitebell. This multifunctional platform allows you to automate order management and processing, sync up with all third-party couriers like Wolt, Glovo, and Donesi.com, and streamline your entire operation seamlessly.
Additionally, consider your own online delivery system as an integral part of your omnichannel strategy. Combine all of this with a thriving offline presence, including offline communication and marketing channels, and you have yourself a true omnichannel structure that covers all customer touchpoints.
To achieve all of this and make it sustainable, though, it’s crucial to have a centralized reporting platform, monitor reviews and feedback, and monitor market insights. Bitebell enables all of these features in a centralized location and gives you a unified ticketing system to easily manage your reputation online on every channel.
With such a comprehensive and efficient backend operation, you’ll have no problem delivering a consistent omnichannel experience every time.
Enabling flexibility to deliver true omnichannel experiences
Your omnichannel strategy needs to evolve with the industry shifts and the latest consumer trends. This is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal, rather, an omnichannel approach requires continuous management to deliver the desired results. Don’t worry, the rewards far outweigh the investment, you just have to remain dedicated and consistent.
With that in mind, it’s important to ensure that your omnichannel strategy is flexible. Digital channels come and go, some stick around, some fade with time, and new channels reach unprecedented heights in a matter of months. We’re looking at you, TikTok.
It’s a fast-paced digital world out there, that’s for sure. So, you need to be able to add and remove channels quickly in order to:
- Capitalize on new opportunities.
- Minimize financial waste.
- Secure your brand’s position in the competitive market.
- Maintain a high level of customer engagement.
- Deliver an amazing experience on the right online channels.
Defining the goals and monitoring the KPIs
Every decision you make and every plan you set into motion needs to have a set of goals and a clear set of parameters you can monitor. Firstly, goal-setting allows you to give structure to your ideas, put things into perspective, and work your way back through the tactics and steps you should take.
Secondly, only by monitoring the right KPIs can you hope to stay flexible and on the right track. That’s why an omnichannel approach demands that you standardize your processes, determine clear goals, and list KPIs everyone can track with ease. Again, this is where cross-department collaboration can make all the difference.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Define goals for each channel in your strategy.
- Define the customer’s journey.
- Know what satisfaction means for your target demographic.
- Define the KPIs for every channel.
- Enable all teams to work together on a centralized platform.
- Make sure that people are working towards the same goals and monitoring all KPIs.
Omnichannel is your ticket to success
Well, that’s a lot of ground we covered today. Congrats, if you’ve made it this far, it means that you’re eager to make your restaurant business successful in this competitive market.
Now that you know how omnichannel can help you thrive, the only thing left to do is to act on what you learned today and build your own omnichannel structure to provide unforgettable experiences across the digital realm.