Restaurant Tech Gets Personal: 6 Ways to Boost Customer Engagement

Posted: Dec. 21, 2018

It’s all about me! At least, that’s what your customers are thinking. Today, they expect restaurant experiences to be convenient, compelling, and built around their unique preferences.

In fact, 24% of Americans won’t return to a restaurant that didn’t create a “memorable and special” visit with a personal touch. So how can you increase customer engagement and make every guest feel like a VIP? Turn to the latest restaurant tech…

1. Start with a Smarter POS (The Most Important Restaurant Tech)

Think that POS systems only impact BOH operations? Not anymore. The latest and greatest POS restaurant tech can drastically improve the guest experience.

A few years ago, the focus was on ePOS (electronic POS)…now it’s all about mPOS (mobile POS). With mobile POS restaurant tech, servers take orders tableside on mobile devices – and send customer selections straight to the kitchen.

Accurate orders arrive faster, which we all know makes customers happier. Waitstaff spends less time running orders, and more time bonding and engaging with guests.

2. Touchscreen Tablet Menus

You could also put the power to order into your customers’ hands with touchscreen tablet menus. Tablet menus make it easy for guests to create and customize their dream meal in a few clicks.

Unlike printed menus where space is limited, tablet menus allow restaurants to list every possible customization option for dishes.

Some tablet menu restaurant tech even includes automated prompts that gently upsell by suggesting popular add-ons and extras for each menu item. Meal personalization matters now more than ever, especially to millennials. A 2017 Accenture Loyalty Study found that 54% of those ages 24-35 are more loyal to businesses that let them “create something unique to me.”

Another advantage of tablet menu restaurant tech? Tablet menus are meant to stay at the table throughout the meal. When customers are hungry for more appetizers or thirsty for another round of drinks, they just hit “reorder” instead of waiting for a server.

3. Pay Your Way

If you really want to engage guests, simplify their payment experience – and let them pay the way they want. According to the BRP Consulting 2018 Restaurant Research Report, 74% of guests want an “easy and frictionless” payment process. Yet, only 45% of restaurant operators admit they’ve got the restaurant tech to make it happen.

Again, your POS system comes into play. If you’ve upgraded to mPOS restaurant tech, you can process credit cards at the table as well as the most secure form of payment: NFC mobile or “contactless” payments. Using a mobile POS device, the server can scan the guest’s smartphone and accept ApplePay or SamsungPay.

Restaurant tech can also help you speed up the entire payment process. Because when a guest is ready to leave, they hate waiting for the check! Tablet menus empower guests to call the shots when it’s time to leave. Without waiting for a server, customers can pull up their bill then pay immediately on tablet menus equipped with an EMV (chip) card reader or mobile payment scanner.

4. Best Seat in the House

You can begin to boost customer engagement before guests even set foot in your restaurant. Use online reservation software so guests can pick their seats and alert you in advance of dietary preferences or allergies. In fact, in a 2017 Toast POS Technology Report, guests ranked the ability to make online reservations as the most important type of restaurant tech.

To set up online reservation restaurant tech, first ask your POS provider if they offer software you can add to your website. You should also consider utilizing reservation apps like OpenTable, which doubles as a marketing tool. OpenTable claims that 70% of its users choose restaurants they haven’t visited before.

5. Show Love with Loyalty Restaurant Tech

Just like POS systems, loyalty programs are going mobile. Today, 85% of guests who have redeemed rewards using their mobile device say their experience was improved by that type of restaurant tech. That statistic is from the largest-ever loyalty study of over 50,000 consumers by VISA and Bond Brand Loyalty.

The study also found that 83% of consumers were happy to receive automatic offers on their mobile devices while they were in the store or restaurant. Talk about boosting customer engagement through restaurant tech! You can surprise and delight guests by triggering an automatic reward if they stop in on a weeknight, or reach a certain number of visits.

Today’s loyalty restaurant tech also gives you unprecedented access to customer information. And an astounding 87% of customers in the VISA/Bond Brand Loyalty Study are perfectly fine with that…if you use those insights to shower them with personalized rewards. For example, if you use a POS system with a built-in loyalty program tied to a customer’s credit card, you can get personal with rewards. If you see that a guest typically orders a certain beer, the next one is on the house.

6. Put Fun in the Hands of Every Guest with Restaurant Tech

One of the best ways to engage with your customers is through entertainment. More than just a good time, entertainment adds value to every guest’s visit – and keeps them coming back. Want proof? A Facebook Loyalty Study asked 14,000 customers to describe businesses they love most. The top word used was “quality.” Number two? “Fun.”

Restaurant tech comes to the rescue again, putting fun at your customers’ fingertips. Thousands of bars and restaurants nationwide offer digital entertainment on restaurant tablets. If a customer is in the mood for friendly competition, they can join in a real-time trivia game 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. Or, maybe they prefer a little solo gameplay. The same restaurant tablets function as a virtual arcade full of games for all ages.  

When it comes to boosting customer engagement, now is the time to serve up more restaurant tech. After all, one in 4 guests consider a restaurant’s technology offerings when deciding where to dine. Embracing technology doesn’t mean robots will start running your restaurant. The opposite is true: the right restaurant tech makes dining even more personal. It’s a customer-focused experience that’s “all about me.”

Author Bio

This guest post was contributed by our friends at Buzztime, an interactive gaming company known for bringing the best trivia, cards, arcade and sports games to tablets.

Posted: Dec. 21, 2018 | Written By: lavuadmin

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