Beyond The App: How Tech Can Deliver Better Results for Restaurants and Customers

By Brian Hickey, CEO and Co-founder at VROMO (https://vromo.io/)

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that successful businesses will depend on happy customers and this is abundantly evident within the restaurant space where there are direct links between the percentage of positive reviews and the rate of new customer acquisition, says Brian Hickey, CEO and Co-founder at VROMO (https://vromo.io/)

Finding success in the restaurant industry is becoming more challenging than ever. Labor shortages and cost increases across energy, raw food materials, fuel, insurance, and more, mean profitability is harder to sustain, particularly when it comes to a restaurant’s delivery channel. Add to the mix severe fees from marketplace delivery platforms (with many of them charging an additional 30 percent onto the basket total) and extremely limited support from the government – it’s not difficult to see how independent restaurant operators as well as small chains face a daunting future.

One thing that remains consistent throughout the last few years however, is the continued growth of consumer appetite for convenience and value. With this comes the responsibility of restaurants to keep up with their consumers’ increasing demands in order to meet their needs. Technology has a huge part to play here and there are many examples of new, innovative solutions gaining traction such as QR code payments, automated delivery management, Kitchen Display Systems, marketing automation and robotics for food preparation. All of these solutions help restaurant brands to offer a superior customer experience but they will only achieve widespread adoption if they help to improve the restaurant’s bottom line. In turn, restaurant brands must embrace these new technologies to ensure a more profitable future.

Consumer demand for convenience, speed, and value will also manifest itself in a channel shift as we head into a recessionary environment. There is solid evidence to support the fact that the restaurant food delivery channel will experience heightened growth at the expense of the on-site dining-in channel as consumers attempt to reduce spending on babysitters, transport costs, and inflated alcohol prices while at the same time refusing to give up the luxury of the meal occasion.

This presents both an opportunity and an obstacle for restaurant brands. The opportunity is to develop their delivery channel by adopting measures such as adapting their menu, expanding their delivery areas, and listing with all the key marketplace platforms. At the same time, they need to make sure they have their own website and an app to be able to influence consumers. According to the National Restaurants Association, 60 percent of customers said their dining choices were shaped by marketing communications. The obstacle however is that delivery can be loss-making if it’s not managed sensibly. Many restaurant brands outsource their delivery needs to the marketplace platforms that provide them with most of their online orders. While it might make sense for restaurants to accept these online orders as it helps them to reach more customers, in the same breath the cost of the delivery service is usually prohibitive. Many feel locked in as if they cannot have one without the other. As a result, they don’t realize that there are other options available such as in-house drivers or third-party delivery companies. There is even the option to use your preferred delivery fleet and call in the marketplace platform fleet only when you hit delivery capacity issues. In order to do this, restaurant brands will need a software solution to automate and manage everything under one roof which brings us back to the importance of embracing technology for survival.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that successful businesses will depend on happy customers and this is abundantly evident within the restaurant space where there are direct links between the percentage of positive reviews and the rate of new customer acquisition. Restaurant brands that recognise this and indeed the damage of negative reviews, are investing in customer experience personnel to ensure the entire journey is one you would recommend to a friend. Taking this a step further, successful restaurant brands will take control of every aspect of the customer journey and leverage technology to increase speed and value all with a view to securing that lucrative five-star rating.