How Restaurants Can Use Technology to Keep Customers Coming Back

As restaurants reopen and transition back into a more recognizable business model, and as customers begin walking back through the dining room doors, many restaurants are doubly focused on how to keep customers coming back  Fortunately, recent and continuing advances in technology are creating innovative new ways to offer the kind of convenient, safe, and contactless service that it’s going to take to welcome guests back in this new post-COVID reality.

Mobile/online access

Today’s customers want easy digital access and ordering. A survey from MGH found that 77% of diners will visit a restaurant’s website before they dine in or order out. Over 80% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on their mobile device, and that number is only going to rise as time goes by. The majority of consumers (53%) are adding more mobile dining apps to limit their contact with on-site staff. More than half (51%) of those have downloaded at least one new app to purchase food and essentials, with 37% adding more than two.

Put simply, if you haven’t already begun to embrace mobile apps and digital access, you’re at a competitive disadvantage, and that disadvantage is only going to grow the longer you wait.

Luckily, OneDine offers an array of technological solutions for streamlining the ordering, payment, and overall dining experience for a convenient, customer-centric process that increases overall guest satisfaction.

From online ordering at home to ordering, paying, and picking up curbside to ordering and paying at your table by tapping or scanning a sensor, OneDine can help you out with guest satisfaction and retention. Check here for all the info!

E-coupons, gift cards, and loyalty programs

One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to reward them for doing so. Use POS or online ordering technology to collect information like email addresses, birthdays, customer preferences and buying patterns, and offer targeted coupons, birthday special offers, and even onsite discounts generated as diners peruse electronic menus.

Social media

Social media is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to get your brand out there in a fun, engaging way. What’s more, it makes your audience feel like they’re personally connected with you. It’s timely. It’s interactive. They can talk to you and get a real response from a real person. If they’re staying or dining with you, they can share their experience with others through pictures and reviews, and that brings in even more business.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp (or, ideally, all those and more), the simple fact of the matter is that you’ve gotta be out there.

Be informative, creative, and update your profiles often. Encourage guests to share their dining experience with their online followers by giving them hashtags to use and rewarding them for doing so with specials, coupons, or other incentives.

And be interactive. Show appreciation for shares and positive comments. Just as importantly, make sure to address any negative comments by requesting the customer’s contact information and then taking the conversation offline to get the full details; then outline how you’ll prevent such situations in the future.

Web presence

Possibly the most effective way to promote your business and bring people through the doors is a well-made, informative, useful website. Consumers today have come to expect a certain level of sophistication when it comes to the web presence of the businesses they patronize.

They expect to find your address, phone number and hours front and center along with your social media profiles. They’ll also want to see a current menu, a photo gallery, online ordering capability, and online reservations. They want to know your story. They want the site to be well organized and easy to use.

Oh, and don’t forget: make sure it’s mobile compatible. Studies show that over 80% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on their mobile device.

More than ever (and even more as time continues to pass) technology is your friend when it comes to attracting and keeping customers. The more you embrace it, the more of an advantage you’ll have in the uncertain arena of today’s dining world.