In today’s day and age consumers want what they want, when they want it. And they don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to get it.
This demand is driving what’s called omnichannel. It’s an approach to sales that utilizes multiple channels simultaneously and aims to provide customers with a seamless consumer experience, whether they are shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, from a desktop, or on a mobile device.
For restaurants, this means providing multiple ways for your guests to order, receive, and pay for their meals, while ensuring a consistent, high-quality experience.
According to a report by Zendesk, the expectations of customers for restaurants to create omnichannel experiences have risen to 87 percent. They believe that brands need to work harder to give them the smooth experience that they no longer simply want, but demand. And, as consumers’ expectations continue to shift alongside evolving technologies, they will continue to expect various ways to interact with restaurants and their services.
To offer a better understanding of what exactly an omnichannel restaurant is, we’ll take a brief dive into what makes a restaurant experience omnichannel, and what restaurant brands can do to implement this type of operation themselves.
What an Omnichannel Restaurant Operation Looks Like
Here, we’ll look at a few situations that make for an omnichannel customer experience and restaurant operation. Some are fairly common and widely used, while others are a little more in-depth and require some form of technical implementation.
- A customer places an order by phone, online or in-app, and pays for their order when they pick it up at the restaurant. Additionally, when paired with curbside pickup or a dedicated takeout counter inside the restaurant, these self-service orders can save your customers time and prevent a lot of hassle.
- Restaurants utilize a payment processing solution that allows them to accept payments in multiple ways through one provider, rather than separate financial organizations. For example, whether an order is paid online for takeout using a debit card or in cash at the restaurant when a customer is dining in, a single payment processor is used to handle both types of sales.
- Giving guests the ability to reserve a table online or through a mobile app, then allowing them to seamlessly check in with a host at the restaurant or by scanning their devices at the front desk.
- Placing tablet menus into the hands of guests, giving them more control over their ordering experience. They can peruse menu items that include details on ingredients, nutritional information, and photos. Additionally, they can customize their orders themselves — specifying things like how they want their steak or substituting an ingredient. Guests can also add more items to their order using the tablet, reducing their need to summon a server, which makes for much more efficient service. And when equipped with a payment capability, guests can use the tablet to pay for their meal, speeding up the closing of checks and allowing for quicker table turns.
- A loyalty program that spans online and offline channels can let customers earn points that turn into rewards. Additionally, restaurants can track valuable information about how customers engage with the restaurant and what menu items would suit their taste based on their order history, using this insight to help them offer relevant deals or upcoming promotions on something they order often or that might appeal to their individual palate.
How to Successfully Execute an Omnichannel Restaurant Strategy
Some omnichannel approaches, such as online or phone ordering with dedicated pickup counters, can be implemented pretty easily.
When it comes to more technologically in-depth methods, however, like tabletop ordering and payment, restaurant brands do need to proceed with a little more caution. It’s important for a restaurant to utilize the right solution—one that can meet their specific needs.
OneDine’s single solution, for instance, offers dozens of features and functions that elevate a restaurant brand’s service, including:
- Allowing guests to place an order at their table using a tablet or tabletop kiosk
- Helping guests seamlessly peruse items based on their allergen or dietary needs on a professionally-curated digital menu
- Letting guests pay at the table when they’re ready, which means no waiting for a server to bring their check or process their payment. Guests can also easily split the check, pay per item, and add a tip.
Plus, OneDine runs on a common tablet (that means a super low cost of entry) and seamlessly interfaces with a restaurant’s POS system and existing software. And an easy set-up allows restaurants to be quickly off and running with more revenue.
The need to afford customers the type of conveniences that come with omnichannel services and features is now a necessary step in helping new consumers become repeat, loyal customers. And when it comes to creating an omnichannel ecosystem, the key to success lies with ensuring you have the right tech solution in place.