Over the past few years, the term ‘foodie’ has become a normal part of day-to-day slang. The expanding number of young working professionals living away from home has brought about a lot of traction and attention to the food and beverages industry.
More than 65 food-tech companies came up in India last year. Success of the likes of Zomato and FoodPanda has also strengthened the sentiment for the FnB industry in India. In fact, FnB is already being termed as the next big thing in the Indian startup ecosystem.
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As a traditional restaurateur or a restaurant startup, it becomes necessary to keep up with this trend, and to interact with technology in such a way that you not just survive, but flourish in this food-tech boom.
Here are a few ways in which restaurants can do so:
Some POS softwares also allow the possibility of integrating with third-party online order-taking mechanisms, which can come in handy once you start taking orders online. Some even have social media integration options. Choosing the right POS software will thus bring about a lot of efficiency in the long run and, therefore, it becomes necessary to exercise caution while choosing the same. Some of the leading POS softwares for the food industry are listed here.
The rating and review system on such platforms help you get real-time feedback from your customers and getting to know where you are going right or wrong. Again, responding to customer reviews and complaints on such platforms is very crucial because most customers do their final screening based on peer reviews and ratings.
What becomes important here is not just presence, but active presence. Number of likes, check-ins etc. for your restaurant are a good indication of your popularity. Regular updates from your social media pages help you stay in the memory of your customers, thereby increasing the likelihood of them coming back to you. Running discount/complementary campaigns for check-ins etc. are a popular way of increasing social media presence.
It gives a sense of professionalism and establishment to a restaurant and having a basic website is not a lot of effort either. The website need not be very complex, and a lot of time and money may not be spent on it; but having one giving at least minimum details is still advisable. Service providers such as Limetray (Limetray.com) help restaurants establish their presence online.
One, this gives you a lot of room to focus on your core-business and at the same time ensures that you do not lose out on customers due to lack of in-house order-taking and delivery capacity.
The most important part of this process is to analyse your customer data and frame your loyalty programmes/schemes/discounts in such a way that the net result of the same is higher sales. (Read http://www.forbes.com/sites/baininsights/2012/11/15/calculating-the-economics-of-loyalty/ and http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/the-economics-of-loyalty.aspx to understand how customer loyalty programs help you increase revenue).
In case your POS software does not allow for customer loyalty and engagement, there are various service providers that can put the mechanism in place for you. Capillary Tech (capillarytech.com), for example, is a market leader in Customer Engagement and Loyalty Management Services. You can also try your hand at newer service providers such as Shoperk (shoperk.com), which offer similar services with affordable prices and customised options.