The Menu – the latest insights on restaurant technology trends, customer successes, and best practices.

Why This One Thing Is Key To Keeping Your Restaurant Customers Returning

Rom Krupp
OneDine® Founder and CEO
When it comes to attracting and keeping restaurant guests in today’s marketplace, there isn’t one single winning strategy.

Should you be digitizing orders? Improving guest service? Investing in mobile apps?

Certainly, you should. But the reason these things are so important isn’t what they bring to your restaurant on their own. It’s because they are all elements of something larger: a frictionless customer experience, or CX.

An excellent CX is the key to increasing sales, increasing guest satisfaction, and even reducing staff turnover. In other words: it’s what every restaurant should be striving for, day in and day out.

Technology is a critical tool for improving restaurant brands’ CX in 2020

Before the world went digital, CX was reliant on person-to-person interactions. Maybe you had a great experience with your server at this restaurant, so you kept going back. A friend told you another restaurant had amazing food and a good atmosphere, so you gave it a try.

That basic setup is still there, except today, you can Google a restaurant brand and within a few seconds, hear from thousands of “friends” about their experiences with it. From Yelp, to Google reviews, to Facebook, customer feedback is plentiful—and it’s directly influencing whether or not diners decide to give your brand a try.

This is especially true now that so many brands are offering features like self-service kiosks, mobile ordering and delivery apps, and order pickup at designated spots either within or outside the restaurant location.

Take Chick-fil-A, for example. They’re one of the top 5 most trusted brands according to a recent Harris Poll Reputation Quotient that ranked the top 100 well-known brands. In fact, only five restaurant brands even made it onto the list, and Chick-fil-A was the only one to break into the top 50.

So what’s behind their massive success?

It’s frictionless CX, enabled by strategic uses of technology at multiple touchpoints within a customer’s journey.

The Chick-fil-A mobile app allows customers to walk into a restaurant, sit down, and both order and pay directly from their table. Associates then bring customers’ food to their table, differentiating it already from most fast food experiences. Customers can even use the app to request additional service, speak to a manager, or order more food.

What this does is smooth out the “friction” points in a customer’s journey: waiting in line (gone), choosing their items while others wait for them to finish, standing at the counter waiting for their food to be ready.

Instead, all customers have to do is walk in, sit down, and leisurely select their food items from their own mobile device. It makes the entire experience faster, easier, and more enjoyable. And technology is at the heart of it all.

How can you employ top-notch tech without a Chick-fil-A-sized budget?

Of course, the kind of proprietary mobile app that Chick-fil-A uses doesn’t come cheap.

But that doesn’t mean that smaller restaurants with smaller budgets can’t reap the benefits of technology in creating their own frictionless CX.

The problem most restaurant brands come up against is that when they begin implementing technology for ordering, delivery, or to improve guest service, they find themselves with multiple systems that everyone has to learn—and which usually don’t integrate with each other.

In an industry with already tight margins and high staff turnover, this often creates more harm than help.

That’s where a comprehensive, server-to-guest solution like OneDine comes in. From guest-side ordering and payment to better data intelligence, it offers a single, simple, cost-effective solution for increasing restaurant sales, elevating service, and creating an overall frictionless dining experience. Merchants don’t even need to change their POS. What’s more, OneDine immediately eliminates fraudulent chargebacks.

Restaurants don’t need MORE technology to improve their CX—they just need smart, strategic technology. When that’s in place, the kitchen and back-office can operate far more efficiently, customers are able to devote more time to enjoying their dining out experience, and—perhaps most importantly—servers are freed up to focus more on creating a memorable, standout guest experience.

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