Anyone who ran a hospitality business in 2020, and survived, deserves a medal. I’m afraid we don’t have any actual awards to give out. What we do have, however, are some pretty useful insights into how to grow your business using interactive restaurant menus, QR code menus, or whatever you want to call them.
This new technology is here to help change the hospitality sector for the better and here’s how:
It’s part of the future of restaurant service
Eateries that use interactive restaurant menus are pioneering. Spending money on shabby paper or dated-looking wipe-clean menus really is a thing of the past.
During 2020, the average customer became familiar with checking a digital menu on their phone or tablet. Many realised how much easier and convenient it is to do this – especially when a digital menu is truly interactive, offering the ability to place an order without having to wait for service.
Like anything, once you’ve had a taste of something new and better, you rarely want to go back to the way things were. Opting for an ordering system based on an interactive menu is the way forward for any contemporary, progressive hospitality business.
They allow you to make your emenu design really pop
Consumers are visual creatures and we often make purchasing decisions based purely on how things look. Whether you want a full-colour menu, rich with well-styled images of your dishes, or a pared-back minimalist menu reflecting your branding and ethos, interactive menus let you create something that reflects your vision.
Give your chef more freedom with an easily-changed digital menu
Adding new dishes to your menu can be a headache as it inevitably means yet another reprint of your menus. Or maybe you feel like you can’t change things up as much as you’d like because you just spent a fortune on your menus. This is no longer a concern when you have easily adaptable interactive menus to play around with.
They super-charge your waiting staff
What do your waiting staff spend most of their time doing? Most restaurant owners will say that their waiting staff’s time and effort is taken up with handing out menus, waiting for guests to decide, taking orders and delivering these orders to the kitchen. Actually talking the food to the table is a tiny part of their function. With an interactive menu, things change drastically.
Once customers are in complete control of their own dining experience, in terms of when they look at menus, when they order items and how they order, waiting staff are free to focus on other things. Here are some examples of what your new, super-charged and liberated waiting staff can focus on:
- Maximising front of house cleanliness and order
- Ensuring dining areas are always ready for diners
- Welcoming each guest
- Creating the right atmosphere
- Assisting kitchen staff
- Assisting bar staff
- Creating relationships with diners
- Paying attention to returning customers
- Delivering food to tables as quickly as possible
- Turning tables over efficiently and quickly
- Assisting guests who are waiting to be seated
- Helping any guest who struggled with the technology to learn how the system works
It’s not difficult to see why opting for an interactive restaurant menu can help you deliver better service, increase sales and lower costs is it?
You can up-sell like you’ve never up-sold before
Digital menus can provide you, as a restaurant owner, with a new tool for upselling items. Awkward exchanges between a waiter told to upsell and a customer who just wants to eat and go, can leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouths … which is never a good thing in the restaurant business!
What’s great about interactive menus, is that you can upsell through the menu itself, using notifications and clever menu design. You no longer need to train staff to ask ‘shall I get you some bread and olives while you wait?’ Instead your new digital team-member does it for you!
As well as creating fewer awkward exchanges, up-selling through your interactive menu also means never missing the chance to suggest an extra, or a second round. Staff can easily forget to check if a table needs more drinks if they’re rushed off their feet serving large groups. A digital tool will never forget and the experience will never be awkward for anyone involved.
It’s an easy way to retain distance between your staff and your customers
In the Covid and post-Covid age we are all more aware of our personal space. Management is likely to come across the odd guest who will remain cautious of contact with strangers for a significant period after the risk of contracting covid is a distant memory. So it’s great that guests can control the amount of contact they have with waiting staff by choosing to order items through the interactive food ordering system instead.
Customers might find that they appreciate the opportunity to order items from the comfort of their own table, in their own time, and with complete autonomy over the process. I mean, who wouldn’t prefer this option when popping out for a relaxing lunch?
You’ll get more feedback on dining experiences
Every hospitality business owner appreciates the importance of great reviews. We all want to make sure our customers leave having had a great experience when dining with us – that’s why we’re in the hospitality business.
Whether we like it or not, businesses can live or die by the reviews and feedback they receive online. Genuine positive reviews can mean a full restaurant and healthy profits and your emenu can help you achieve this.
Did you know that, with Leslie’s technology you can continue to send notifications to your customers up to eight hours after they’ve left your restaurant? Imagine sending this the evening after a lunch visit: ‘Did you enjoy your visit with us earlier today? Click here to let us know what you thought’.
You an use interactive menus to incentivise return visits
Not only can you use the handy notifications tool to encourage customers to leave reviews, you can also incentivise repeat visits. For example, sending guests a notification with a discount voucher for a future visit just a few hours after a dining experience is a valuable marketing tool.
Getting this type of incentive to guests without the ability to send them notifications would be much harder. And remember, guests receive these notifications without having to ever download an app or visit a website and go through a boring log-in process – it’s like magic!
Your staffing costs will fall
We know restaurants, and we know that the bottom line is super-important. Maximising profits is tough in the hospitality game and every little thing you can do to cut costs and up your earnings is worth doing. Well this isn’t just a little thing … it’s a big thing, with the potential to turn a struggling restaurant’s fortunes around.
We’re not necessarily talking about laying off staff. We think that the right interactive menu tool will fit into your team, not replace it. It’s all about working smarter. When your staff are liberated from having to take orders, upsell items and repeatedly check whether a table wants their cheque, they can become super-servers.
Staff members can work more efficiently and more cohesively as a unit. Fewer staff on each shift without compromising on service quality is a real possibility and the cost savings should become clear very quickly.
So what’s the take-home here? Offering interactive restaurant menus can enhance your business in a number of ways – all of which are difficult to achieve without this technology. The way consumers want to dine out has been forever altered. It’s up to restaurateurs to realise this and embrace the evolution happening in the industry. Your staff (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.