In last week’s blog we examined three automation technologies: kiosks, kitchen display systems and robotics, and how these are set to change the way that restaurants run in the future. As restaurants and food operators begin to experience the benefits these technologies provide, we will see more and more automation platforms in use.
Every person that has ever eaten in a restaurant or bar has experienced a longer-than-ideal wait for the check at the end of their meal. Once you’ve finished eating and drinking, you spend time flagging down a server and then take your position in a queue of tasks that your server has to perform before bringing a bill to your table. There’s then another wait for a staff member to return to take your cash – and deliver change – or bring a payment terminal across. It can be a long process – which is why automated billing is such a time saver.
Using either an order and pay, or a pure payment platform connected to the POS, brands can automate the billing and payment process. Guests can use their devices to scan a QR code or enter a URL to visit their bill online. From there they can pay it, split it between people at the table, and even choose to leave a tip. As there’s no need to call or wait for service, team productivity is improved, and tables are turned faster.
Gone are the days when every reservation had to be handwritten in a big book and table plans plotted out manually for each service. By using an automated reservation system customers can book their table in advance for the exact time and date they want (if there is space); the system will allocate the guests to a table on the floor. They can be sent automatic text and/or email confirmations of their booking, and reminders closer to the booking date. This makes for a much easier process for customers and gives staff back the time they’d previously spent taking bookings over the phone or email.
With an automated reservation system it is simple for operations to review and see how busy their restaurant will be at a specific time. If they note that there’s an upcoming quiet period they can put marketing in place, offering discounts and incentives for last minute or on-the-day bookings.
In 2021, loyalty is more vital than it has even been for businesses. It is the loyalty of customers through the last year that has kept thousands of companies afloat. Without it, many more would have failed. Brands should want to nurture that loyalty, grow it and attract fresh loyalty from other prospective customers.
Loyalty programmes can now be automated through native and online apps tied to personal customer profiles. Quite often, these digital loyalty solutions are integrated with ordering apps so that the money customers spend can trigger loyalty points/stamps or rewards. Similarly, customers can use the loyalty points they’ve collected to pay for their goods during the ordering process.
Dunkin’ was an early adopter of automated loyalty. It first launched its Dunkin’ Donuts app, tied to its Dunkin’ Donuts DD Perks® Rewards Program, in 2012. It went on to launch On-the-Go Mobile Ordering exclusively for those reward programme members (since 2019, mobile ordering has been extended to all customers). Dunkin’ currently has more than 12 million members in its DD Perks Rewards Program that awards five points for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases at Dunkin’. Members get a free drink reward coupon at 200 points.
With a digital, automated loyalty solution like Dunkin’s, customers benefit every time they spend, while the brand builds a strong source of repeat, reliable revenue.
At Theravada, our goal is to help your business improve the customer experience and raise brand awareness. One of the ways we do this is to consult and implement automated solutions that drive efficiencies, reduce OpEx and ultimately, grow revenue. To discuss how we can work with your brand, contact us today.