Your restaurant is growing. Congratulations! Now is the time to streamline your operations, ensuring your growth is measured. You don’t want your growth to stagnate because you don’t have the right systems in place.
Wondering how to make this type of steady, long-term growth happen?
To encourage measured growth, here are five things you need to streamline.
#1. Optimize Your Websites
Dining habits are changing post-pandemic, and people have an evolving level of comfort with eating indoors and eating at your restaurant. A streamlined website makes things easier to create an easy user experience, whether diners order takeout or visit you in person.
The best restaurant websites are highly responsive and optimized for mobile viewing, so customers get the same great experience on desktop or smartphone. To provide clear menu navigation so site visitors can easily find what they need, add your contact information in a visible location on every page.
It’s also essential to provide a seamless online ordering option, so carry-out customers don’t have to pick up the phone. For example, if you built your website, you could use an online ordering software to let customers order directly through your site. Or opt for a third-party service like GrubHub or DoorDash. In this case, you’ll receive the order and enter it into your point of sale system. Then the app’s drivers will pick up and deliver the meal.
#2. Utilize Self-Storage
Is your restaurant looking a little cluttered? You now can purchase new restaurant equipment to replace the old — and if your backroom is too full, you may be wondering what to do with it all.
As you get bigger, you’re going to acquire more stuff. Self-storage is a great way to manage the flow of that stuff. The right self-storage option allows you to keep that old equipment and sell it at a later date rather than having to offload it entirely. In addition, self-storage facilities will keep your things safe and secure while providing 24/7 access so you can drop by and swap things out whenever you want.
#3. Automate Your Marketing
The faster your restaurant grows, the busier you become. Automating your marketing can help you save hours per week, gaining back valuable time to invest in tasks that need a human touch — while still putting out top-notch marketing to help your restaurant grow.
Use a social media scheduler to pre-schedule social media posts. Create a chatbot to respond to messages with frequently asked questions. And track your analytics (how your marketing is performing) via automation, too — no need to spend hours slogging through your marketing data.
Simple automation can make a massive difference in your restaurant’s daily marketing operations, opening up time for other growth tasks.
#4. Uplevel Your Customer Service
When prioritizing better customer service experiences, businesses can grow their revenue between 4% and 8% — meaning it’s not difficult to see why up-leveling your customer service made the list. (Plus, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people.)
Streamline your customer service by creating self-service resources. These can be as simple as an FAQ page on your website or as complicated as a full self-service platform where they can create an account and place their orders time after time.
In today’s day and age, it’s also important to integrate your customer service options with social media. Make sure to respond to all comments and messages with questions or concerns. (Some of these efforts can be automated, such as using a chatbot on Facebook.)
#5. Hire Proactively
Maybe you don’t need a pastry chef or that extra waiter right now. But if your restaurant continues to grow, how soon will you be ready to hire again?
As you figure out what kind of help you need next, craft a job description over time that clarifies what kind of skills, talent, and experience you need. Then, when you’re ready to hire, you can hit publish without stopping. You’ll be able to quickly hone in on the best candidate for the job— no scrambling needed. Proactive hiring gives you the time and space to discover the employees you need. And when these new employees do get on board, they’ll be the ones to help you reach your restaurant goals.
#6. Invest in a Payment System
Is your payment system up to speed? An integrated payment system can streamline this part of the dining experience and help your staff save some time on the job.
Look for a system that allows diners to continue to pay with their debit or credit cards, just like they used to. You should also be able to track total sales and individual consumer spending. And although high-tech systems are nice, you don’t need too many bells and whistles — make sure your employees can easily learn how to process transactions using the new system.
Another benefit of an integrated payment system is that it provides data to help you learn more about your customers. These learnings will bleed through to your marketing so you can make contact with past customers when the timing is right.
#7. Use Digital Tickets
The final thing you should streamline for restaurant success? Orders. More and more restaurants are transitioning from paper tickets to digital ones, and there’s a clear reason: Using digital tickets can drastically reduce the number of mistakes made.
Have your waiters take a diner’s order and put that order into your point of sale system. Importantly, staff members in the kitchen will be able to view all orders on one screen — table number, order, time, and all other details included.
Paper tickets with scribbled handwriting increase the likelihood of an order being sent back to the kitchen. Be proactive by tweaking your ordering system to rely on digital tickets instead.
#8. Use SMS reminders to prevent ‘no shows’
Customers who don’t show up for their table booking can force a restaurant to close.
In big cities, up to 20% of diners fail to turn up for their table booking and in the UK it’s estimated that the industry loses £16 billion annually through no shows.
SMS reminders are an ideal solution to dramatically reduce non-attendance and have proven to reduce the problem by up to 70%. If a customer cancels their booking, having received their reminder, the table can then be made available to another customer.
Growing into a successful restaurant takes a lot of work. It’s important to grow the right way. By streamlining your marketing, customer service efforts, and hiring process and using a self-storage facility, you can future-proof your business to enjoy measured growth into the restaurant you’re meant to be.