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5 Steps To Franchise Your Restaurant

Do you operate a restaurant and wish to expand? Do you want to become part of a distinct brand? Then franchising is definitely the way to go! Starting a franchise restaurant is a means to expand a business by allowing independent owners (franchisees) to sell or provide services under a specific brand name using a trademark, business strategy, and most importantly, a process.

 According to the most recent data from the United States Census Bureau, franchises accounted for almost 54 percent of fast-food and fast-casual restaurants in America. And trends suggest these numbers are only going to increase in the coming years. 

Franchising may appear to be complex due to the extensive planning and paperwork required, but the process is easier than meets the eye. 

We’ll break down this topic into two parts: the first will focus on the operational steps that you need to take to franchise your restaurant. In the second part, we will cover the marketing & development for franchises. 

Step 1- Assess your situation- Are you ready?

Before you rush into franchising, there are a few aspects you should consider. Your role when running your restaurant independently was drastically different from what it will be when you become a franchisor. Always start with asking yourself a few questions- 

  • Is your business scalable?
Is your business scalable?

Is your restaurant concept different? What sets you apart from other pizza places? Why would people choose your pizza place over the other mom-and-pop diner right across the street? Execution also must be flawless. If you are planning to open ten similar restaurants, then the replication process should be easy to execute. 

  • Are your finances in place?
Are your finances in place?

Once you have decided whether franchising is the ideal path, you need a robust financial plan. There are numerous expenses that you’ll have to bear, so plan strategically. Divide the early setup fees according to your restaurant’s business plan.

  • Do you know your competition?
Know your competition

Yes, optimism is a nice thing, but at the end of the day, numbers mean everything. Always conduct market research prior to establishing a business to determine who are the competitors, how you are superior to them, and how you may outgrow them. This must be prioritized before beginning the franchising process.

Step 2- Legal Requirements

Legal requirements for restaurant franchise

Below are the legal documents you are required to fill out before being able to franchise your restaurant:

FDD- Franchise Disclosure Document:

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is designed to inform potential franchisees about the franchisor, the franchise system, and the agreements they will be required to sign so that they may make an informed decision. The FDD is divided into 23 sections, each of which the prospective franchisee must read before signing.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, franchisors must present the franchisee with the FDD at least 14 days before it is due to be signed or any money is exchanged. After the franchisor has received the application and agreed to consider it, the franchisee has the right to a copy of the FDD.

Check out the detailed requirements for the FDD here- https://bit.ly/3LTTsza

 Franchise Operations Manual:

A franchise system’s DNA – the basis that regulates franchise unit performance, processes, and conduct – is a franchise operations handbook. It details the requirements, rules, and procedures that franchisees must follow in order to operate their franchised businesses and deliver on the franchisor’s brand promise consistently.

The length and substance of franchise operating manuals vary. In general, a well-prepared franchise operations handbook will cover at a minimum, the following categories below:

  • The objectives of the franchise system;
  • The day-to-day procedures that the franchisee must follow 
  • Payroll 
  • Customer service, which includes things like welcoming customers and dealing with complaints, as well as personnel issues like training.

While working on your franchise legal paperwork, prepare notes on important things like how your franchise will run. Geographical areas to target, franchisee qualifications, royalty percentages for franchisees, and marketing strategies are just a few of the other details to iron out. To accommodate a franchise concept and make operations more practical for franchisees, you may need to change some of your current practices. 

Trademark and Logo Registration:

When you franchise your restaurant, you grant another person the right to use “your” logo and trademark. As a result, registering your brand’s logo and obtaining a trademark is the most important, yet frequently overlooked, step in franchising your restaurant. To protect their intellectual property, franchisors should register everything to avoid being duped by a fraudulent Franchise party.

Step 3-Issue FDD And Register As a Franchisor

Franchise your restaurant

Once all your important decisions are made, it’s time to complete all the legal paperwork. Issue your FDD and register it inside the franchise registration states.

After receiving an FDD, you can begin offering and selling franchises in non-registration states (i.e., states that do not require a special filing or registration) while filing your FDD for registration in registration states.

Step 4- Make Hires And Work On Training

Make hires and work on training

As you prepare to become a franchisor, you’ll usually need to hire several people who will be solely responsible for assisting franchisees. Staff training is essential in order to maintain the same product standards as the original franchise restaurants. The franchisor should train the entire staff, from the Head Chef down to the busboy’s wait staff. The induction and training of new employees should begin well in advance of the opening of the Franchise Outlet.

Step 5- Support And Grow Your Franchises

Support and grow your restaurant framchise

It is here, at the point where you start supporting your franchisee network. To minimize any future misinterpretation, support should be included in the agreement. Some Franchisors provide solely infrastructure development, operations, training, and software support, while others also provide raw materials. 

You must accomplish a few things in order to expand your restaurant franchise business to many locations. You must develop an ecosystem in which you must collaborate with people from the real estate, produce, and point-of-sale vendors, as well as other aspects that we will address in future blogs.

Wrap up-

Running a franchise can be a terrific way to get started in business, but you need to know why you’re doing it, what you’re getting into, who you’re getting into it with, and, of course, what you have to gain. The better you are able to answer these questions, the more likely you have the chance to excel. 

Metaverse And The Restaurant Industry

Metaverse and the Restaurant Industry– The metaverse often referred to as the meta or web 3.0, is one of the hottest talking topics in our modern-day society. Questions upon questions about the meaning, value, and impact are asked by many. The interest in the metaverse is unmatched, and in this article, we’ll touch on why and the relation between Metaverse and the Restaurant Industry.

So, where did it all begin? Neal Stephenson’s dystopian cyberpunk novel Snow Crash is credited with coining the term “metaverse.” The novel was published in 1992 and is considered a canon of the genre, along with William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which describes the matrix, a virtual reality dataspace.

It’s a hybrid technology that blends virtual reality, augmented reality, and video to let people “live” in a digital world. The metaverse is made up of two technologies: virtual reality, which is characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist, and augmented reality, which combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds. It does not, however, imply that those locations may only be visited via VR or AR.

In a nutshell, it is thriving within the internet, where one has the ability to party, buy, sell, attend events, and socialize.

What is the difference between Facebook and Metaverse?

Facebook and Metaverse

Facebook is a social networking website where users can post comments, share photos, and share links to news or other interesting web content, as well as chat and watch short-form videos.

Shared content can be made public, or it can be restricted to a small group of friends or family, and sometimes it is even directed towards a single person.

Meta, on the other hand, is an online world in which people can interact with one another, collaborate, and communicate virtually without having to be in the same physical space. For example, you could be in New York while your family is in Texas, but you could all watch a movie together in the same room. Envision Zoom or Google Meet, but on a much more technologically advanced scale. Your family members would be more than just a face on a screen; they’d be seen across from you on the dinner table.

Facebook is simple to use and accessible to anybody. Even those with the least technical knowledge can sign up and start posting on Facebook. Although it began as a way to stay in touch with long-lost acquaintances, it quickly became the darling of businesses that we’re able to target an audience and deliver adverts straight to those most likely to be interested in their products or services.

The VR, or virtual reality, headset appears to be the device of choice for the metaverse at the outset, at least according to Facebook.

“You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more. It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful,” In a September blog post, the company made the familiar pitch about time spent on its platforms.

What does it mean for the restaurant industry?

Metaverse and the restaurant industry

Talking about the Metaverse and the Restaurant Industry, this concept is not totally new for the restaurant industry, Metaverse and the Restaurant Industry have been together for a long time now. Sublimotion in Ibiza, Spain, has been operating as one of the most exclusive, luxury VR food experiences for the past seven years. The multisensory space provides guests with a futuristic, interactive audio/visual event. While the price tag, unfortunately, puts Sublimotion out of reach for the average consumer, as technology advances, less expensive options have become more readily available to foodies who want to see food as an experience rather than just a source of nourishment.

Mark Zuckerberg gave a “feast for your eyes” presentation to show how restaurants may incorporate this strategy easily.

It allows guests to swipe through a virtual reality menu, which allows them to explore options such as finding ingredients and witnessing the menu items being prepared and cooked. Restaurants might even allow guests to order directly from the virtual menu while dining in or ordering for delivery, according to Zuckerberg.

AR/VR and Avatars may replace physical staff or even manage a front office, with abilities ranging from bookings and service provision to property sales. If this is made possible, the industry’s labor challenges could hasten the adoption of the metaverse faster than expected.

Restaurants can also create a Metaverse universe that allows guests to virtually experience the restaurant with their friends and family. This will allow people to have the experience of dining in a real restaurant while remaining in the privacy of their own homes.

“Often restaurants experience a tug of war between experience and convenience. The metaverse is the ultimate marriage of these two elements. Customers can look at and order food without leaving the house, whilst still having the experience of going out for a meal with others,” says Joseph Schumaker, who is president and CEO of foodservice consulting start-up FoodSpace.

What is unknown is how the normal mom-and-pop restaurant will deal with these massive technical advances and their financial consequences.

The most concerning aspect is that the Metaverse and the Restaurant Industry prefers chain restaurants with large creative and technical budgets. Some independent operators might be excluded from the benefits the metaverse provides.

How can one prepare for it?

Prepare for the Metaverse

When it comes to evolving technology and applications, the possibilities are endless, and restaurants have complete control over what they choose to do as the meta world expands.

Food will be integrated into virtual experiences by brands. Restaurants will be able to recreate their physical space in the metaverse and invite guests from all over the world instead of using traditional email marketing. The metaverse will provide new opportunities to test promotions and loyalty programs.

As more people begin to participate in the metaverse experience, apps will no longer be the primary ordering channel. Companies such as Doordash, UberEats, and GrubHub will need to reconsider their strategies as ordering and discovery become more integrated into more interoperable experiences. Someone would have to deliver the food after all!

While we expect restaurants to always accept cold hard cash, we believe that over the next five years, a few large cryptocurrencies will emerge at the top of the metaverse. A restaurant’s branding and marketing activities will be influenced by the money it accepts.

Wrap-up:

Metaverse

In the real world, most of us enjoy sitting down with friends at a relaxed restaurant and having a great conversation. That desire will not be impacted by the metaverse as restaurants will continue to offer those one-of-a-kind experiences. However, through the metaverse, restaurants will be able to reach more customers who may not be able to attend in person and still provide them with a memorable time.

All restaurants should begin to prepare for the metaverse as the future is near!

If you have something to add about the Metaverse and the Restaurant Industry, please add yourself to our Facebook community, the link’s above, let’s start connecting!

Why Do You Need An In-house Online Ordering Solution For Your Restaurant?

Why Do You Need An In-house Online Ordering Solution For Your Restaurant?

The convenience of enjoying our favorite food from the comfort of our home is undeniable. Especially, on weekdays when we are too tired to go out, isn’t is great that we can place an order on-the-go from our favorite restaurant and pick it up on our way home.

In the digital era where everything is available at our fingertips, customers have come to expect the ability to order food online. Online ordering also provides customers the luxury of perusing the menu at length and trying out new dishes. In fact, restaurant industry stats point out that the order value of online orders is higher than that of in-store orders on average.

By adopting an online ordering solution for your restaurant, you don’t just simplify the lives of your customers, but also ensure that your business is able to hold its own in the competitive restaurant industry.

Why Do You Need An In-house Online Ordering Solution For Your Restaurant?

What are advantages online ordering for your restaurant?

  • Online Ordering drives revenue: You can reach more customers online. The average order value of online orders is higher than in-store orders
  • Free up your employees to provide a superior customer experience. Taking orders over the phone interferes with in-store services especially during rush hours and over the weekends. With an online ordering solution, employees do not waste time taking orders over the phone. 
  • Improves Order Accuracy: Disturbances while taking orders over the phone, can result in incorrect orders. On an online ordering solution, customers can easily enter the orders to the last detail improving order accuracy.
  • Losing customers: You will no longer lose orders during rush hours/ weekends due to busy phone lines.
  • Accurate estimates of pick-up and delivery times.

As a restaurant owner, you may already be convinced of the necessity of providing the convenience of online ordering to your customers. At this juncture, many restaurant owners decide to tie up with third-party aggregators. However, there are several distinct advantages to an in-house online ordering solution integrated into your point of sale system. In this article, we will discuss why do you need an in-house online ordering solution for your restaurant.

What are the advantages of online ordering for your restaurant?

1. Online Ordering drives revenue: You can reach more customers online. The average order value of online orders is higher than in-store orders
2. Free up your Employees to provide a superior customer experience.
3. Improves Order Accuracy
4. Losing customers: You will no longer lose orders during rush hours/ weekends due to busy phone lines.
5. Provide accurate estimates of pick-up and delivery times.

What features should you be looking for in an Online Ordering Solution?

1. Ability to work across different browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Bing.
2. Availability on Mobile Platform
3. Multiple Payment Options including wallets like Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
4. PoS integrations

What are benefits of having a native online ordering solution for your restaurant?

1. Full Control Over Customer Experience
2. An extension of your brand identity: You can customize your online ordering platform to align with your brand identity; upload food pictures, add specials and offers, make instant and real-time changes to your menu.
3. Collect Crucial Customer Data to create customized experiences, and personalize your marketing messages and encourage repeat visits. Further by integrating your loyalty program to your online ordering solution, you can ensure that your loyalty customers can redeem their offers and coupons on online orders.
4. Keep Your Profits: By opting for an in-house solution, you can do away with commission charged by third party services on each order. All profits from online orders are your own.

How to increase your revenues with online ordering?

1. Go for an in-house Native Online Ordering Platform
2. Optimize User Experience On Your Website and Online Ordering Platform:
3. Optimise your menu for online ordering
4. Provide Multiple Ways To Order
5. Make it easy to reorder by ensuring that your online ordering system has the ability to save previous orders based on the timings, delivery address, and card information.
6. Offer Delivery
7. Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the checkout counter.
8. Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
9. Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
10.Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
11. Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
12. You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
13. Online promotions: If you are running any offer exclusively for promoting Online Orders, you must ensure that you are posting about these offers on your networks or running ads to reach a larger audience
14. Run contests to promote online orders.

Advantages of In-House Online Ordering Solution For Your Restaurant

Why Do You Need An In-house Online Ordering Solution For Your Restaurant?

1. Full Control Over Customer Experience

Having an in-house online ordering solution provides you with complete control over the online ordering experience from the look and feel of your menu to the way the order is packed and delivered. An in-house online ordering platform is an extension of your brand and you can customize each aspect to reflect your brand identity.

Customers usually blame the restaurant for a delay in delivery or the state in which the food is delivered even if the order is placed via a third-party app. With an in-house solution, you can personalize the pick up the experience by training your staff adequately and ensuring that the food is packaged in proper containers and is handed over at the right temperatures. 

With third-party aggregators, clients have no way of getting in touch with you which can be frustrating. When a client places an order via your in-house online ordering platform, they can reach you directly if there’s an issue with the order or the food. You can also receive feedback from customers for each order placed on your platform with an integrated feedback mechanism. This helps you in improving your services and providing a better dining experience.

Pick up orders provide an excellent opportunity to engage with your customers meaningfully and upsell your menu. To reinforce your brand, you add personalized thank you notes or coupons to takeaway packages of your regular customers. 

If you choose to provide delivery, you have more control over the hiring and training of delivery riders and the time and state in which the food is delivered. By using a delivery app powered by real-time navigation, you can update customers in real-time with the order status and expected delivery time.

2. Fully Customizable Solution 

Why Do You Need An In-house Online Ordering Solution For Your Restaurant?

When customers place an order via your online ordering solution, they are interacting with your brand directly which builds customer loyalty. You can customize the online ordering platform to align with your brand identity. Most in-house online ordering solutions allow you to upload food pictures, add specials and offers, make instant and real-time changes to your menu and provide accurate wait times to enhance the customer experience.

With an online ordering system integrated with the POS system,  any updates made on the POS are directly reflected on your online ordering platform in real-time.

3. Collect Crucial Customer Data

In the restaurant business, we already know that having access to customer data has several advantages. Most third-party aggregators do not share customer information with the partner restaurants.  Customer data allows you to create customized experiences, and personalize your marketing messages. Without this data, you have no means of knowing your regular customers or the most popular items on your menu.

By having your own online ordering solution that is integrated with your POS system you’ll be able to save and access all your customer data. You can use this data to guide your menu decisions and craft your marketing strategy.  This personalized approach to marketing helps you to retain customers and generate repeat orders.

4. Build Customer Loyalty

Customers ordering via a third party app owe their loyalty to the app instead of individual restaurants and easily switch between apps in search of better offers and deals. Your brand is vulnerable to competition as you are one of the many restaurants available on the app.

Another sore point for restaurants is that in spite of having better ratings and reviews they are often pushed down in searches on the app if they have not opted for the promotional package. There is no way to build loyalty towards your brand as there is no direct engagement between you and your customers.

With an in-house online ordering solution, you are engaging with your customers directly and can take measures to build customer loyalty such as offering a discount on their next online order through your own online system.

Customer data from the online ordering solution can be used to customize your marketing messages and encourage repeat visits. Further by integrating your loyalty program to your online ordering solution, you can ensure that your loyalty customers can redeem their offers and coupons on online orders.

5. You Keep the Profits

Most third-party aggregators charge hefty commissions between 20 to 28 percent for each order placed through their platforms, which is a huge drain on revenues. The increase in revenues due to the number of orders received via these apps is usually diluted by the commission.

By opting for an in-house solution, you can do away with charges on each order thereby boosting revenues and profits.

Wrap Up:

To succeed in the crowded restaurant space, you must keep up with the trends and cater to changing customer demand. Providing the convenience of online ordering to your customers is imperative and by opting for an in-house online ordering solution for your restaurant, you can ensure that you provide a consistent experience across all channels that customers have come to expect from your brand while generating incremental revenues for your business

Increase Your Restaurant Revenues with FoodKonnekt Online Ordering

How to select the Best POS for Your Restaurant

How To Select The Right Point of Sale Solution For Your Restaurant?

The Point of Sale (POS)  solution is the most crucial software for your restaurant, which helps you to manage and track your restaurant operations efficiently. Modern Restaurant POS technology can take care of almost all your restaurant management needs with features such as automatic billing, inventory management, real-time reporting, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

The restaurant POS market is fast evolving and there are tonnes of options in the market with varying capabilities and prices. It often becomes difficult for restaurant owners to keep pace with the latest in point-of-sale technology and select a system that is flexible and can adapt to their growing business needs. In this article, we will help you to choose the best Point of Sale solution for your restaurant.

What Does a Restaurant Point of Sale Solution Do?

 Selecting a Restaurant POS System

The main function of a restaurant point of sale system is to accept customer orders, send orders from customers to kitchen staff, and process payment. However, with the recent advances in technology, POS systems come with many advanced features:

  • Menu Management
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Analytics & Reporting
  • Employee/Labor Management
  • Table & reservation Management
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
  • Loyalty/Rewards Program Management
  • Online Ordering and Delivery

What Are The Benefits Of A Restaurant POS?

1. Cloud based POS solutions let you check your store data  from virtually anywhere giving you the freedom to manage your store remotely,
2. You track the various transactions that occur on your POS minimizing theft and wastage
3. Accurate order processing and streamlining staff operations translates to better customer service.
4. You can avoid shortages and overstocking by tracking your inventory including  menu items and ingredients.
5. Reduce wait time  by  faster order processing, better table management and increase in overall efficiency of kitchen operations.
6. Better Staff management
7. Built in loyalty program and online ordering to boost sales
8. Smart analytics and real time Reports can help you make informed business decisions

What Does a Restaurant Point of Sale Solution Do?

The main function of a restaurant point of sale system is to accept customer orders, send orders from customers to kitchen staff, and process payment. However, with the recent advances in technology, POS systems come with many advanced features such as
a. Menu Management
b. Inventory Tracking
c. Analytics & Reporting
d. Employee/Labor Management
e. Table & reservation Management

What are the Must-Have Features In a Restaurant POS system?

The nature and size of your restaurant business ultimately determine which POS solution will work best for you. However, there are certain key features that help you to maximize efficiency
Ease of Use
Flexible Payment Options
Real Time Reporting and Analytics
Offline Availability
Customer Data Recording
Third Party Integrations
Table Reservation System
Employee Payroll Management

How To Select The Right Point of Sale Solution For Your Restaurant?

1. Establish your Pos Needs by creating a personalized checklist
2. Compare Solutions and evaluate costs
3. Take the opinion of your friends in the restaurant business to narrow down your list.
4. Always ask for free demos to help you understand the features and determine the ease of use. 
5. Remember to talk to your staff and management before finalizing any system.

How Much Does A Restaurant POS Cost?

The cost of a restaurant POS system is largely dependent on the nature of your restaurant and the functionalities that you are looking at. It can be anywhere between  $600 for handheld tablets to around $2,600 for a fully-featured pos system with terminals.
You may also need to purchase additional hardware depending on your requirement such as a barcode scanner, additional tablets, receipt printer(s), a router, networking cables, or even a server. Besides the hardware you would also need robust software to run your system. Prices start from $69/month and can go up to $150/month per terminal again depending on the size of your business and the additional features that you would like to include.

Must-Have Features In a Restaurant POS system

The nature and size of your restaurant business ultimately determine which POS solution will work best for you. However, there are certain key features that help you to maximize efficiency. 

1. Ease of Use

One of the first things that you need to consider is the time and resources required for the on-site installation of the POS solution. Most efficient solutions nowadays are more or less plug n play. The system should be up and running in under an hour. 

You should also ensure that the solution is fast and intuitive. Remember that your staff will be using the system on a regular basis and they should find it straightforward and efficient. It should be easy to set up and update your menu and create coupons or take orders.

2. Flexible Payment Options

With changing times, more and more customers do not carry cash and prefer to have options while paying their restaurant bills. Your POS solution should have multiple payment options including credit cards, debit cards, and also support virtual wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. It should allow you to manually edit items and modifiers in an order, cancel charges or carry out operations such as splitting or merging invoices between two people/tables.

3. Real Time Reporting And Analytics

Real-time reports and analytics can give you a clear picture of your restaurant business and help you in making insightful decisions. A good restaurant POS system allows you to view and compare reports for selected time periods enabling you to track growth and build your strategies over time. 

Most systems come with pre-built reports for all incoming and outgoing expenses of your restaurant including

  • Store summary
  • Sales report
  • Online order report
  • Special pricing
  • Labor and inventory reports
  • Sales comparisons between locations or across time periods
  • Peak performance by day of the week, holidays, and promotions
  • Trends of sales vs. guests by day and top-selling item reports

However, if you are looking for more, you should opt for systems that allow you to generate custom reports according to your specific requirements and allow third-party integrations for more granular reporting. Auditing reports are also a useful addition to help you keep track of your sales and taxes.

4. Offline Availability

Your POS solution should be able to function smoothly and efficiently even when it is not connected to the internet. You should be able to accept credit card transactions safely and securely and continue normal operation even if your internet crashes and update all data on the system as soon as your internet services resume.

5. Customer Data Recording

To distinguish themselves from the crowd, restaurants must focus on delivering experiences that are specifically tailored to the needs and preferences of individual customers. Gathering customer data is the first step towards providing a personalized experience to your customers and streamlining your marketing messages. For instance, insights about popular menu items and coupon/offer redemption can help you optimize your menu and specials. By analyzing customer purchase history you can gain valuable insights including customer preferences, preferred time, and day to order or preferred mode of payment. This data helps you to craft targeted marketing messages. 

Your POS solution should help you to save, organize, and analyze customer data. 

6. Third-Party Integrations

You may already be using several technologies at your restaurant such as order, payroll management solutions, online ordering, or loyalty programs. You should choose a POS system that can be easily integrated with these tools to make efficient use of your existing technology and to ensure that you don’t have to manually transcribe data from one system to another, In either case, the ideal Point of Sale solution for your restaurant should be open to third-party integrations.

7. Inventory Control

There is a definite advantage in having the inventory control feature in your restaurant POS. Everyone in the restaurant industry is well aware of the problems with manual tracking and forecasting of inventory. A regular inventory management process can help you keep track of your individual inventory items and control and manage to eliminate pilferages/wastages.

8. Table and Reservation Management

Although not an essential feature, it is undoubtedly desirable to have Table and reservation management functionality in your POS.

The Table and Reservation management feature in your POS helps you provide a better customer experience by allowing customers to reserve tables online or through mobile apps. Customers can also leave reservation notes like food preferences and allergies making it easier for front staff to serve tables.  

In addition to providing a smoother dining experience, the table and reservation management also enables you to track  and manage reservations easily and effectively and streamline operations at the back end by enabling you to perform a diverse range of activities including:

  • Seat customers faster
  • Track guest status to provides an accurate estimation of wait times
  • Ensure faster table turns 
  • Enable front staff to assign tables
  • Optimize floor plans
  • Track staff performance

9. Employee & Payroll Management

Managing restaurant employees can be challenging. One of the best features of a good solution is employee and payroll management which can help you manage your labor efficiently. Ensure your restaurant POS solution includes features that allow you to

  • Manage or create new employees or set wages
  • Track employee hours and calculate both regular and overtime pay.
  • Control permissions so you can decide the nature of access or permission you want to provide to different categories of your employees.
  • Capability to run payroll.  

10. Additional Features and Functionalities

While these are the key features to look for in a Point of sale solution for your restaurant, there are several additional features that you may want to include:

  • Reliable customer service and technical support
  • Cloud-enabled features for effortless access from multiple locations
  • Integrated feedback mechanism An integrated feedback mechanism enables you to send feedback forms to your customer’s mobile phones after they complete their meals. 
  • Security features
  • Customer Relationship Management CRM integrated with your POS allows you to send customized marketing messages to your customer base.  

How To Select A Restaurant POS Solution?

1. Establish Your POS Needs To Create A Personalized Checklist

You may already have a budget in mind, but before you consider costs you should create a list of features that you definitely want and another list of additional features that you would like to have after considering associated costs.  The items in these lists will primarily depend on the nature and concept of your restaurant. Here is a generic list:

Must Have
  • Simple User Interface
  • Flexible payment processing
  • Gift cards management
  • Multiple payment Option like split and merge checks
  • Offline Credit Card processing
  • Insightful reporting
  • Reliable customer support
Nice To Have

Now that you have your checklist in place, you can start comparing solutions and evaluating costs.

2. What’s the Cost of the Point of Sale Solution for Your Restaurant?

There are two main categories of costs for restaurant POS costs; the upfront costs and the recurring costs. 

Upfront Costs include 

  • Hardware costs
  • Setup, installation, and training costs
  • Software licensing costs
  • Cost of Additional features
a. Hardware costs

includes the cost of all hardware that you will need to acquire for setting up the POS solution and depends on the type of POS you are planning to purchase

  • Cloud-Based Systems: These systems store data on remote servers and you can access data from anywhere provided you have an internet connection.
  • Legacy Systems: Legacy systems store data on internal back-office servers and run on a closed internal network.
  • Front of House equipment: This includes equipment such as terminals, stands, credit card readers, printer, guest-facing display, and others
  • Backend Equipment such as A kitchen display system.
  • Internet hardware such as routers, modems, and cables.

You may have some of these products in place so you need to consider the cost of acquiring the others.

b. Software Costs

It’s necessary to have reliable, durable POS hardware, but it is equally important to invest in robust software that is updated on a regular basis to save you time and money in the long run. 

Cloud-based POS systems usually have a monthly or yearly subscription fee and it may vary between vendors. Legacy-on-premise software, on the other hand, usually charges you per station/user basis. Here are a few things you should look for in a POS software

  • How often is the software updated and does the subscription include free updates and feature releases?
  • Does the software subscription include prompt customer support?
c. Cost of additional features:

This includes the cost of software integrations and any additional features that you may want to purchase such as online ordering, delivery app, team management system, and loyalty program.

Ongoing Costs

  • System maintenance
  • Updates and upgrades
  • Monthly or annual service fees
  • Credit Card processing rates

3. Compare Options

With a budget in mind, you can start comparing the options available in the market. Take the opinion of your friends in the restaurant business to narrow down your list. Always ask for free demos to help you understand the features and determine the ease of use. Remember to talk to your staff and management before finalizing any system.

How To Write A Restaurant Business Plan?

The restaurant industry operates on thin margins and competition is cut-throat, to say the least. According to the stats, 60% of restaurants shut down within the first year of operations, and up to 80% of the restaurants close their operations in the first five years. Opening a restaurant in itself is a daunting task, there are so many costs and factors that need to be weighed in before actually starting out. So, how do you ensure success in such a scenario?

Like some would say, a good concept and great food are all you need to get started. But, the truth is that it may be enough to get you started but to keep you in business in the long-term you need a good plan and foresight.

A restaurant’s business plan is the blueprint of what your future restaurant will look like, how it will operate, breakeven, and finally be the profit-making venture that you envisioned. It lays down your goals for your restaurant and the path you must take to achieve them. 

Why Does Your Restaurant Need A Business Plan? 

1. Helps You Define Your Vision

Having a business plan helps you give shape to your ideas. When you sit down and put your vision on paper, it helps you put your ideas to test and analyze each aspect more fundamentally. This exercise can also be very helpful in getting your ideas across to your team or partners.

2. Builds A Road Map

A restaurant business plan not only defines your visions but also lays down the detailed path that you can follow to execute your ideas.

3. Accounts For Operational & Financial Expenses

A restaurant business plan enables you to consider all the expenses that will be incurred for the first six months of operation including fixed costs and re-occurring expenses. Projecting these expenses and comparing them to your expected revenue streams helps you gain a better understanding of your financials. It also gives you an opportunity to plan your investment and loans while controlling and managing expenses.

4. Evaluates Your Roadmap

A business plan not only helps you create a roadmap to follow, but it also helps you set benchmarks for your business and assess the on-going progress. Setting up timelines helps you adhere to your plan.

5. Reduces Risk Factors

There are many factors, internal as well as external that could impact your restaurant business. It is essential to plan and be on top of opportunities and the risks that are involved in running a restaurant. A restaurant business plan helps you stay on course and prepares you for contingencies.

How to open a restaurant?

1. Decide on the concept of your restaurant
2. Decide The Location For Your Restaurant
3. Design A Stellar Menu
4. Arrange Suppliers & Vendors For Your Restaurant
5. Evaluate All Restaurant Costs
6. Prepare A Business Plan
7. Work Out Investments To Fund Your Restaurant Business
8. Choose Your Restaurant’s Name and Legal Structure and Procure Licences
9. Get Restaurant Insurances
10.Get Manpower For Your Restaurant Business
11. Install Right Technology At Your Restaurant
12. Create a Restaurant Marketing strategy

How can I get a loan to open a restaurant?

There are several types of loans available for opening a restaurant
A term loan from a “brick and mortar” bank.
1. SBA Loan.
2. Working Capital Loan
3. Merchant cash advance
4. Business line of credit
5. Equipment financing
6. Crowdfunding

How much does it cost to open a restaurant?

Opening a restaurant can cost you anywhere between $95000 to 2 million depending on the nature of your restaurant and also on whether you want to own the building or lease it.

How long does it take for a restaurant to become profitable?

Restaurants operate on a thin profit margin with the average profit margin after removing all other costs hovering at around 6.2 percent only. Very successful restaurants are able to break even after approximately two years of operation while average ones may take 4-5 years.

How much profit should a restaurant make?

The average profit margin for the restaurant industry is somewhere between 3-6 percent , however for individual establishments it can vary between 0-15%.

How much does a successful restaurant make in a year?

Successful restaurants can make anywhere between $29,000- $160000 per year while the national average is at around $65,000 per year.

How to create a restaurant business plan?

Here are some of the key elements of an effective restaurant business plan:
Executive summary
Business overview
Industry analysis 
Marketing plan
Operations plan 
Financial analysis 

Key Elements Of a Restaurant Business Plan

Key Elements Of a Restaurant Business Plan

Here are some of the key elements of an effective restaurant business plan:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Business overview
  3. Industry analysis 
  4. Marketing plan
  5. Operations plan 
  6. Financial analysis 

Now let us take a deeper dive into the specifics 

1. Executive Summary of Your Restaurant Business

The executive summary of your restaurant acts as a summary introduction to your business. It should cover all aspects of your restaurant including the concept, your target audience, and the financials. 

The executive summary is essential in business plans that are being presented to outsiders, say bankers or investors. A lot of investors make their decision based only on this summary, so it falls on you to grab their attention from the word go! Start with a mission statement and the concept behind your restaurant and include the legal structure and ownership. Add a short overview of your target market, your team, competition, and your financing needs. Mention your previous experience in the restaurant industry, your areas of expertise, and your plans for the future of your current restaurant venture. Remember people have short attention spans so your summary should be persuasive but also to the point.

On the other hand, if the executive summary is only for internal purposes then you would be better off spending your time on Business overview and operational plans.

2. Business Overview

The Business Overview is like a description of your restaurant. It should talk about the concept behind your restaurant and what makes it unique or stand out among the competition. Focus on the following aspects:

  • What is your restaurant’s USP
  • How is it different from other similar restaurants in the market
  • Who will be your target audience?
  • What service/product will you provide to your target clientele?

Once you have explained the concept of your restaurant, you can move to other specifics.

  1. Management Team
  2.  Type of Service and Interior layout
  3.  Sample Menu
Restaurant Business Plan: Business Overview

a. Management Team

The business overview should include the details of your Management Team and the responsibilities assigned to each member.

b. Type of Service and Interior layout

Based on the concept of your restaurant, you may already have a service type in mind; fast-casual, fine dining, or others, so you can start working on particulars like restaurant layout, interiors, and other details. 

The layout and the interiors of your restaurant should not only be in-sync with the brand identity that you want to project but should also be practical keeping in view the service type. The colors and the imagery you use inside your restaurant should be a reflection of your brand. Adhere to your brand theme while designing your menu and deciding on the uniform of the waitstaff.

c. Sample Menu

It goes without saying that if your customers like your food, your restaurant will be able to survive the competition. So, thw menu should be the focus of any restaurant plan. Discuss each item that you wish to include on your menu with your head chef before finalizing it. Analyze details like recipes, raw material sourcing, and price points. Once you have come up with an initial list with prices, compare it with the menu of other similar restaurants in your vicinity. Check what items they are offering and how your prices compare to them.  After you have weighed up all aspects, prepare a sample menu including only those items that meet both the popularity and profitability criteria.

The right way to go about menu additions is to optimize your menu over time.  Menu items that are not popular and less profitable can be replaced with new entrees that you feel have a higher chance of success.

3. Industry Analysis

The Industry Analysis primarily consists of 

  • Target Audience Analysis
  • Location Analysis
  • Competition Analysis
Restaurant Business Plan: Industry Analysis

a. Target Audience Analysis

 Based on the concept of your restaurant, you would obviously have an understanding of the type of customers that your food and restaurant would appeal to. Analyze the customer demographic including their income level, education, interests, and behaviors such as specific food habits, and spending habits. This study will help you understand your customers and serve them better.

b. Location Analysis

Finding the ideal location for your restaurant is one of the biggest challenges that you will face. While selecting the location keep the concept of your restaurant and your target audience in mind. You should select a location that has ample space for the layout you have in mind and is in an area that is frequented by your target audience. Here are a few things you should consider while selecting a location for a restaurant.

  • The location of your restaurant should be easily accessible and should ideally have a parking area.
  • Figure out how you plan to manage the supplies in the future. 
  • If you have plans to offer delivery through third-party services, you should consider a waiting space for delivery drivers.
  • Also, consider if there is adequate space for any expansion plans that you might have in the future.

c) Competition Analysis

The restaurant industry is a highly competitive industry. Analyze the competition in your area. Identify and create a list of all the restaurants in your vicinity both with similar concepts and those with an entirely different concept catering to a different target audience altogether. Study each of your competitor in detail:

  • Restaurant type/ their target audience
  • The kind of cuisine they serve
  • The strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
  • Promotional/marketing strategies
  • Their growth rate 

You should also check their website, reviews on their pages, and their other social media profiles to get a comprehensive view of their business.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats) Analysis must be included in your Restaurant Business Plan as it helps you identify all factors that can impact your restaurant. 

a) Strength- Focus on the key strengths that distinguish you from your competitors. Something that you do better than anyone else- it could be your food, your competitive pricing, prime location, superior service, low-cost resources, etc.

b) Weakness- Weaknesses are inherent features of any organization. These are the weak links that you need to work upon. Analyze each aspect including your staff, resources, procedures, training, and equipment to check where you might be falling short.

 c) Opportunity- Opportunities are upcoming trends in the market that your competition has failed to capitalize on. If you are able to spot and exploit these opportunities at the right time, it can help you leverage your restaurant’s growth. 

d) Threats- Threats are external factors that you have no control over yet they can affect your business. It could be anything from new competition, a shortage of supplies, or a natural disaster.  The best way to deal with threats is to have a contingency plan in place.

5. Operations Plan

The Operations Plan covers every aspect of the daily operations of your restaurant

  • Restaurant Licences and Permits
  • Technology Stack
  • Staff Management
Restaurant Business Plan: Operations plan

a. Restaurant Licenses and Permits

There are several licenses and permits that you need to acquire to open any kind of restaurant.  The nature of licenses and permits that you require depends on the kind of restaurant that you are planning to open and the costs to acquire them may vary from state to state. 

Here are some other licenses and permits you’ll most likely need:

  • Restaurant Business License
  • Restaurant Food Service License
  • Food Handler permit
  • Employer identification number
  • Certificate of occupancy

Licenses may take time and money to acquire so you should start procuring them beforehand.

b. Restaurant Technology Stack

Over the past decades, we have seen a huge growth in restaurant technologies that assist almost every aspect of the day to day functions of a restaurant. Investing in some basic restaurant technology is crucial to the success of your venture. Create a list of technologies that you consider essential to your restaurant and research the different options available in the market before investing in anything.

Some of the essential restaurant technologies should be looking at are

  • Point of sale system
  • Kitchen Display Screens
  • Guest Management Systems
  • Tabletop ordering and mobile payment
  • Online ordering
  • Customer loyalty and gift cards

c. Staff Management

The success of any restaurant depends on its food and customer service. Your staff is an extension of your brand so you should take utmost care while hiring employees. It is best to create certain guidelines for hiring staff and adhere to them as closely as possible during the recruitment process. 

Work on an outline framework of the staff you would need including the number of employees you would need in each area of operations; kitchen staff, waitstaff, and management staff. You should also work out details of the recruitment procedure and job descriptions for each category of employee. 

Training the Staff

Every restaurant should have a training manual in place for each category of employees. While it is important to provide training to all new employees it is equally important to organize training programs on an ongoing basis. You can maintain service standards at your restaurant by keeping your employees up to date with the latest guidelines for food preparation, healthy kitchen practices, and smart waste management.

While training your staff you should lay down structured guidelines on what you expect from them in terms of customer service. Make a list of all tasks that a server goes through in a day, for instance greeting guests, pre bussing tables, taking orders, making menu suggestions, serving food, taking orders by the phone, and the like. Provide clear guidelines for each task in your training program. It is critical to train your front staff in dealing with customer complaints and queries.

Technology has completely changed the way restaurants work and function. Training your staff to use the full stack of restaurant technology that you may have invested in helps you increase their efficiency and productivity and make full use of the available resources.

6. Financials

While writing the business plan for a restaurant, you must include financials including a balance sheet, cash flow statements, revenue projections, and cost analysis. This will help you to keep track of your cash flow and control expenses. 

Restaurant Business Plan: Financials

a) Cash Flow Statement

It is the record of where the money is coming from and where it is going. 

Capital:

Opening a restaurant requires substantial capital and you need investors or partners, so it becomes important to plan financials. Your restaurant business plan should include details of your finances and how much you are ready to invest.

  • How much capital you are investing and where it is coming from?
  • Allocate funds to operating expenses, fixed expenses, marketing, and other departments of your restaurant.
  • How long can you support the system? 
  • When do you expect to break even?
  • Apart from that also set up a contingency fund for unforeseen events. 

Expenses:

Capital and Operating expenses give you the details of where the money is being spent.

  • Capital expenses are long-term investments that are non-recurring in nature. It includes the cost of equipment and machinery, cost of utensils, interior designing cost, furniture, cutlery, crockeries, and other fixed expenses.
  • Operating Expenses:  These are the costs that you will incur to run your restaurant on an ongoing basis like salary, rent, electricity, etc. You need to project these costs and include them in your plan.
  • Cost Projection- You should include cost projections for at least 6 months in your business plan.
  • Revenue Projections for the first six months.
  • Projected Statements of Income

For a more comprehensive guide on how much does it cost to open a restaurant, you can check out this article which breaks downs all the relevant costs involved in opening a restaurant.

7. Restaurant Marketing Plan

You should have a marketing strategy in place before the launch. Plan out a budget and a strategy for both online and offline marketing.

Restaurant Business Plan: Restaurant Marketing Plan

a. Online Marketing

 Research your competitors to understand how to utilize the various social media channels. Needless to say, your online identity is an extension of your brand and you must ensure that you adhere to your brand image and voice in all your online communications.

  • Website
  • Social Media Platforms
  • GMB
  • Email Marketing
  • SMS Marketing
  • Chatbot Marketing

b. Offline Marketing

A sound offline marketing strategy can help you reach more customers and generate footfalls in the initial days of your restaurant. Plan your launch carefully, most restaurant owners prefer to go for a soft launch for only close friends and family to generate initial feedback on their food and services.

However, going for a soft launch does not mean that you need to slow down the promotions. Ensure that you promote aggressively during the pre-launch period through flyers, and ads(both off-line and online. Organizing an online contest is also a great way to generate interest in the community before your launch. 

Your long-term off-line strategy should include:

  • Engaging with Food Bloggers
  • Hosting Events 
  • Advertising through signages and billboards
  • Distributing pamphlets
  • Radio Mentions
  • Television or Newspaper Advertising
  • Partnering with local organizations for fundraisers
  • Coupon distribution

c. Customer Relationship Management

It is vital for any restaurant to manage and use customer data to guide their future marketing strategies. An integrated customer relationship management tool can help you to store and use important customer data.

  • Contact Details: Phone number, email, address, bday, etc.
  • Visit Frequency
  • Preferences or most ordered Menu items
  • Average Spend per visit.

A restaurant CRM platform that is integrated with your POS system will help you stay engaged with your guests and customize your marketing messages based on the previous purchase history of the customers. Ideally, your online ordering solution and loyalty program should also be integrated into your POS. This will help you gather customer data from all sources and use it to provide a superior customer experience.

Here are a few sample Restaurant Business Plan Templates

Wrap Up:

Coming up with a restaurant business plan requires a lot of patience and attention to detail, but is it definitely worth the effort. The time that you spend strategizing and fine-tuning every aspect of your restaurant business translates into smooth execution of your ideas.

How to make the most of third party delivery services for your restaurant

How To Make The Most Of Third-Party Delivery Services For Your Restaurant?

Restaurants are under pressure to meet consumer demands; 57% of the millennials say that they prefer having food delivered, so they can watch movies and TV shows while enjoying their favorite food. In the current scenario, providing quick and efficient delivery by investing in delivery services seems like a smart choice. However, hopping on to the third-party food delivery bandwagon can be wearisome. Not only does it require planning and streamlining operations on various levels, but restaurants also need to make ongoing efforts to make the most of third party delivery services.

In this article, we will guide you through each step of the process- right from selecting a third party delivery service to using it to your restaurant’s advantage.

Selecting A Third-Party Delivery Service 

With the boom in the food delivery market, restaurants are faced with the daunting task of selecting a third party delivery partner from the dozens of services available at competitive prices.

Here are a few things you should consider while selecting a third-party delivery service:

1. App Popularity

App Popularity: Make the most of third party delivery services

Compare all the alternative services available in your area- to see which one has the most subscribers or has the most daily active users before you tie-up with any particular service. Check review sites and compare ratings to get an idea of app performance and the kind of experience the delivery service is offering to its customers.

2. Delivery Charges

Delivery Fee Charged By Food delivery Apps: Make the most of third party delivery services

Take into consideration the delivery charges (if any) that the third party delivery service is levying on its customers. Although this may not directly affect your revenues, your customers would definitely prefer a service that charges a lower commission. 

3. Delivery Time

Compare the average delivery time of the alternative services; the time taken to deliver food directly affects the state in which food reaches the customers and in turn customer satisfaction. 

4. Customer Experience

App popularity; Third-Party Delivery Services

One of the most common complaints of restaurant owners working with third-party delivery services is having to deal with untrained delivery riders. In the majority of the complaints about delayed delivery or the state in which the food is delivered, the third party delivery services shift the blame to the restaurant in question.

It is therefore advisable to spend some time analyzing the way in which the shortlisted service handles customer complaints and discuss issues related to delivery rider screening and training with the third party delivery providers.

Selecting the right third party delivery platform for your restaurant takes care of only one part of the delivery problem. There are several aspects of the delivery process that require your attention, which lead us to the next part of this article.

Prepping For Third-Party Delivery 

It is important to streamline all components of the food delivery cycle before you outsource your delivery service.

1. Avoid Long-Term Commitments 

Considering the fact that providing third party delivery can be a drain on your revenues, at least initially, you would want to experiment and keep your options open. Refrain from entering into a long term commitment before you are convinced that the third party delivery service is fit for your business.

2. Negotiate

Commission Charged by third Party delivery services

Most of the third-party delivery services charge a commission anywhere between 15% -35%  per order placed through their app. The final price is negotiable; bigger chains that have a larger customer base succeed in securing a much better deal than small independent restaurants.  However, the price you pay is determined by your ability to negotiate favorable terms. So, give it your best shot.

3. Price Escalation

Sometimes restaurants have to recourse to increasing the prices of food items on the delivery menu offered through third-party delivery services. This is mainly to cover the commission charged by these services. Before you set out to do this, it would be prudent to evaluate the market. See what your competitors are doing, and check the price sensitivity of your customers. If you mark up prices to cover commission costs, you may end up losing customers to competitors who are offering lower prices.

4. Evaluate Your Menu 

If this is the first time you are considering delivery, you would want to check if all items on your menu deliver well. Evaluate each menu item on the following three criteria to come up with the ideal delivery menu.

  • Whether they do or do not travel well
  • Whether the margin on the food item is enough to cover the delivery commission
  • Packaging considerations

Remove the food items that do not lend themselves to pick-up or delivery from the menu, work out the finances for the rest to come up with the final delivery menu.

5. Packaging & Assembly 

The packaging is one of the most important aspects of delivery. Go for the best packaging that you can afford; boxes, containers that would carry your food well, and retain food temperature and quality. Badly packaged food can be off-putting and discourages customers from ordering again from you no matter how good it tastes.

Tips:

  • Sustainable eco-friendly food packaging is the future.
  • Provide add-ons such as napkins, cutlery, and condiments.
  • Adding your brand logo on the takeaway boxes is a great way of reinforcing your brand identity.

6. Delivery Technology 

One of the important factors to consider when getting started with delivery is order management from two sources. Consider investing in a kitchen display system that supports capacity management. This would not only provide order management but also help you to provide real-time estimates on expected delivery time to the third-party delivery partner and in turn your customers based on activity in a restaurant’s kitchen.

Tacking driver performance and delivery time helps restaurants manage contracts with third-party service providers. This level of accountability is also valuable to consumers that come to expect delivery from their favorite services within reasonable time frames.

7. Restaurant Layout 

Providing third party delivery services can affect your in-store operations. Besides food preparation, you should also consider the following

  • Who will assemble and pack delivery orders?
  • Changes in kitchen layout considering that additional space may be required for assembling and packing delivery orders.
  • Ensure that the delivery riders are not disrupting the in-store experience, you may want to consider a separate entry/exit/ waiting area for delivery riders.

8. Preparing your Staff

Ensure that you have adequate staff to handle the additional orders that you would be receiving via these services. It is also essential to train your staff to take delivery orders through the POS system or troubleshoot any food delivery issues.

How To Make The Most of Third-Party Delivery Services?

1. Integrate Your Existing POS

Tying up with a third party service for delivery can be a drain on resources. You can reduce the risk of franchisee underreporting by not opting for any of the tablet-only delivery services. Another way to reduce costs is to forego the tablet or email order notifications by integrating the third-party platform directly with the POS. This also saves labor time as you do not require a dedicated employee to transcribe orders manually.

2. Deliver The Best Customer Experience

On a third party delivery app, your brand is competing with all the restaurants in the vicinity that offer similar food. A customer will choose to order from you only if you are at the top of your game. This means not only your food but each aspect of the delivery experience requires your attention.

3. Focus on Customer Reviews

The important thing to remember is that most customers on a third-party app are not looking for your restaurant. They will browse through all available options and go through reviews before deciding on a place to eat. Customer reviews get more attention than food pictures. Positive reviews, in particular, will help your potential customers trust your business.

The one obvious way to ensure that your customers leave a positive review is by going above and beyond to deliver a great experience. The key is in the details- from food packaging to add-ons and the delivery time.

When delivering through a third-party service, you have no direct way of soliciting a review, but you can always have a message asking them to leave reviews printed on the takeaway boxes or bags.

4. In-App Marketing Strategy

You should have a go-to-market strategy in place when you launch delivery through third-party apps. Highlight Convenient Delivery Options On Your website and social media channels. Include the delivery options on the menu, flyers, and in-store posters. Train your staff to communicate the delivery option to your customers at check out.

Include offers or discounts in the delivery and to-go packaging/ or put out branded promotional stickers on takeout containers. You can also put out Ads on social networks to announce your arrival on delivery apps.

Most of the third party delivery apps offer easy advertising options for partner restaurants. Advertising can helps you increase your reach and visibility on the app and ensure that you appear on the top when people search for restaurants like yours on the app.

5. Create Metics To Track Performance

Setting clear goals and tracking your major KPIs regularly gives you the opportunity to identify your weaknesses and understand the preferences of your customers. This helps you to optimize your strategy and get the most out of these apps. Pay particular attention to strategies to make sure that the return on investment is worthwhile. 

Wrap-up

Working with third-party services comes with its challenges as well as advantages. While on one hand third party delivery services make restaurants available to a much wider audience and help them to increase revenues, on the flip side restaurants risk  jeopardizing their dine-in sales and losing control over customer experience. However, with proper planning and a concentrated effort restaurants can leverage third-party delivery services to their advantage.

Proven Strategies For Increasing Your Restaurant’s Online Orders

Providing the ease of online ordering to your customers can help you generate incremental sales for your restaurant and boost profitability. Besides, it can also help you to expand your reach, improve order accuracy, and help you get over the hassles of taking orders over the phone.

However, in a crowded restaurant space, just adopting an online ordering platform for your restaurant may not cut the mark. You have to work constantly to increase your restaurant’s online orders by making the platform more visible and making the online ordering experience smooth for your customers. Here are a few strategies for increasing your restaurant’s online orders. We can categorize these strategies into three groups.

What are the advantages of online ordering for your restaurant?

1. Online Ordering drives revenue: You can reach more customers online. The average order value of online orders is higher than in-store orders
2. Free up your Employees to provide a superior customer experience. Taking orders over the phone interferes with in-store services especially during rush hours and over the weekends. With an online ordering solution, employees do not waste time taking orders over the phone. 
3. Improves Order Accuracy: Disturbances while taking orders over the phone, can result in incorrect orders. On an online ordering solution, customers can easily enter the orders to the last detail improving order accuracy.
4. Losing customers: You will no longer lose orders during rush hours/ weekends due to busy phone lines.
5. Provide accurate estimates of pick-up and delivery times.

What features should you be looking for in an Online ordering Solution?

1. Ability to work across different browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Bing.
2. Availability on Mobile Platform
3. Multiple Payment Options including wallets like Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
4. PoS integrations

What are benefits of having a native online ordering solution for your restaurant?

1. Full Control Over Customer Experience
2. An extension of your brand identity: You can customize your online ordering platform to align with your brand identity; upload food pictures, add specials and offers, make instant and real-time changes to your menu.
3. Collect Crucial Customer Data to create customized experiences, and personalize your marketing messages and encourage repeat visits. Further by integrating your loyalty program to your online ordering solution, you can ensure that your loyalty customers can redeem their offers and coupons on online orders.
4. Keep Your Profits: By opting for an in-house solution, you can do away with commission charged by third party services on each order. All profits from online orders are your own.

How to increase your revenues with online ordering?

1. Native Online Ordering Platform
2. Optimize User Experience On Your Website and Online Ordering Platform:
3. Optimise your menu 
4. Provide Multiple Ways To Order
5. Make it easy to reorder Ensure that your online ordering system has the ability to save previous orders based on the timings, delivery address, and card information.
6. Offer Delivery
7. Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the checkout counter.
8. Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
9. Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
10. Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
11. Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
12. You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
13. Online promotions: If you are running any offer exclusively for promoting Online Orders, you must ensure that you are posting about these offers on your networks or running ads to reach a larger audience
14. Run contests to promote online Orders.

Technology Parameters for increasing your Restaurant’s Online Orders

1. Native Online Ordering Platform

Until a few years ago, only large restaurant chains could afford sophisticated software and global data infrastructure for the benefit of their business. However, the breakthroughs in cloud computing have now made these services accessible even to small family-owned restaurants.

There are several different solutions out there from third-party online ordering solution that can be integrated with your POS to the restaurant point of sale systems that have their own integrated restaurant online ordering software.

You can select a platform that meets your requirements. Here are a few things you should consider while building your native online ordering platform.

  1. Ability to work across different browsers: Your online ordering platform should work seamlessly across different browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Bing.
  2. Availability on Mobile Platform: The millennial customers prefer to order food-on-the-go using their mobile phones. So, it becomes important to ensure that your online ordering platform is optimized for mobile screens.
  3. Multiple Payment Options: Your online ordering system must have the ability to accept multiple payment options including wallets like Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
  4. PoS integrations With the advent of AI, smart online ordering options would become the norm of the day. POS integrations make it easier to automatically process orders accepted from the Online Ordering platform.

FoodKonnekt Online Ordering is one such solution that is available absolutely free of cost to restaurants. It is integrated with several PoS platforms including Clover, Focus PoS, FoodTronix and can be fully customized to align with your brand identity.

Foodkonnekt Online Ordering Platform: Increasing your restaurant's Online Orders

2. Consider a Mobile App for your Restaurant:

With the rapid advances in technology, developing an app for your restaurant is no longer going to burn a hole in your pocket. There are several benefits to having an independent app for your restaurant. An app makes it easier for you to promote offers and deals, or to roll out personalized offers based on customer’s purchase history to boost online-orders. It is also much easier to administer a loyalty program through a dedicated app.

However, regular maintenance and updates of a mobile app require additional resources in terms of time and money. Add to that the concerns associated with acquiring and retaining customers on your app, which may require consistent marketing efforts. So, you should consider the return on investment in the long-run before investing in an app.

Subway Online Ordering:Increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Subway App Promotes Online Ordering

Optimize User Experience

Competition in a crowded market space provides customers with a wide array of choices. This has led to increased emphasis on user interface/user experience. A customer would not spend more than 2 minutes on your website/ online ordering platform if he/she does not find it appealing, intuitive and easy to use.

1. Optimize User Experience On Your Website

Optimize User Experience on website for increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Wendy’s website is optimized for different devices
  1. The user experience on your website should be seamless across multiple devices. However, you would want to prioritize the mobile part of the user experience as the majority of the traffic comes from there.
  2. Your “Menu” should be easily accessible from the homepage of your website.
  3. The Order Online Button should appear prominently on the header of each page.
  4. Your Menu should feature good quality pictures of menu items with a description and price.
  5. Add to Cart options on the menu can make it easier for customers to save their preferences.
  6. Having a consistent menu across all platforms is another feature that you want to focus on to enhance the customer experience. Integration with POS should ensure that once an item is added on PoS the same should be automatically reflected on the online ordering platform.
Domino's Website
The Order Online Button appears prominently on the header of Domino’s Homepage
Domino's Menu Page: Optimize your website for increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Domino’s provides the Order Now Button below each menu item
to make it easier to place an order

2. Optimize User Experience On Your Online Ordering Platform:

  1. Ensure that your online ordering system has the ability to save previous orders based on the timings, delivery address, and card information.
  2. Pop-up or menu-suggestions are a good way to draw attention to new menu items.
  3. The ability to keep track of the order status enhances user experience. Domino’s, for instance, enables customers to see where their order is in the delivery lifecycle.

3. Provide Multiple Ways To Order

In the digital age, where every other brand is vying for customers’ attention, you would need a broader strategy to stay on the top of your customer’s mind. One way to do this is by offering them the convenience of online ordering via multiple platforms – website, mobile, social media, voice assistants (Alexa, Google home, etc). The use of the latest cloud-based technologies will enable this kind of transition. 

Popular Brands like Dominos and Pizza Hut are already using technology to push online orders on various platforms. Take a look at all the ways you can now order a pizza from Domino’s

  • Text: If you have “Easy Order” set up in your Domino’s app account, you can order a pizza by texting a pizza emoji to DPIZZA (374992)
  • SmartWatch: If you own an Android Wear or Apple Watch, you can “Easy Order” your pizza from Domino’s. You can also schedule a pizza delivery.
  • Smart Car: If your Ford vehicle is equipped with the technology, you can order pizza on your way home via the Domino’s app Ford SYNC AppLink.
  • Twitter: You can also order your Pizza from Domino’s by tweeting #EasyOrder or sending pizza emoji to @Dominos via direct message.
  • Amazon Prime Now: If you’re using Amazon Prime Now services—you can order pizza from not just major brands but also from participating vendors in your local area.
  • Amazon Echo: With the Domino’s Skill for the Echo, you can reorder your last order, place an Easy Order, or track your order.

4. Offer Delivery

There is no denying the convenience of having food delivered to your doorstep. Most customers say they prefer to order online from restaurants that offer delivery. Offering delivery services can help you increase your restaurant’s online orders.

However, providing delivery services may not be the easiest thing to do. It involves a significant amount of logistics and can be a drain on resources. A good way to check if the benefits of providing delivery outweigh the costs is to run test cases in your local area for a stipulated time and work out the logistics before going for full-scale delivery service.

Tying up with third-party delivery services can also help you to take care of the delivery aspects. There is a lot of data to support that third-party delivery services can bring incremental sales for restaurants, however, there are costs associated with such services that you must factor in to adjudge the real value they bring to your business.

Once you have made the decision to go ahead with delivery, you should ensure that provide a great experience to keep your customers coming back.

Chipotle offering delivery: Offer delivery for increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Chipotle Promotes Delivery Services on its Website

Here are a few tips that could help you to optimize the delivery experience:

  • Your delivery menus should ideally have only those food items that deliver well.
  • Food Packaging: You would want to ensure that food is packaged in proper containers so that it does not spill and get messed in the containers.
  • Invest in insulated food bags that keep hot items warm and cool items cool.
  • Ensure that you include add-ons such as sauces, dips, seasoning, paper napkins, and bio-degradable cutlery.
  • You could consider apps that help you to assign the delivery orders to your riders based on their availability and location. These apps can also help you track the location of the delivery person and the average time is taken to deliver an order.

Right Marketing to Increase Your Restaurant’s Online Orders

Promoting your online ordering platform consistently can help you reach more customers to increase your restaurant’s online orders.

In-Store Messaging:

In-store promotions should be a major part of your strategy to reach your regular customers and make them aware that they can order from your restaurant from the convenience of their homes.

In-store promotions to increase Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Pizza Hut Promotes Online Ordering through Offers
  1. Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the check out counter.
  2. Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
  3. Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
  4. Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
  5. Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
  6. You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
  7. If you don’t already have one, you should consider launching a loyalty program to promote your online ordering platform. Regular customers are your restaurant brand ambassadors and account for a major part of your sales.  Loyalty programs are an easy way to keep these customers returning to your restaurant and build a loyal customer base. They are also an ideal target to promote your online ordering platform.
In-store promotions
Pizza Hut Runs Offers Exclusive to Online Orders

Online Promotions

Social Media

Social Media platforms can be a great tool to reach your customers. Besides regular posts promoting your online ordering link, you should also consider advertising to reach your target audience on these networks.

Online Promotions to increase online orders
Papa John’s Promotes Online Ordering Through Social Media Posts

Here are a few other tips:

  • Replace the Call Now Button On Your Facebook Page with a Shop Now Button which leads customers directly to your Online Ordering Platform.
  • Remember to include the link to your Online Ordering Platform On Your Instagram Bio.
  • Instead of leading people to your Website from your twitter profile, send them directly to your online ordering page.
  • If you are running any offer exclusively for promoting Online Orders, you must ensure that you are posting about these offers on your networks or running ads to reach a larger audience
  • Run contests to promote online Orders.
Chipotle promotes delivery on it's Facebook Page to increase online orders
Chipotle promotes delivery on it’s Facebook Page

Online Presence

  • GMB Listing: Promote your online order link on your GMB page
  • Reputation Management: Before ordering food from any restaurant, customers usually check the website and review sites like TripAdvisor to get an idea of the quality of food and services. Ensure that your website is updated regularly and you have a well-organized system of monitoring and replying to reviews.

You may have to invest some time to promote your online ordering service in its initial days, but once it has taken off you can sit back and reap its benefits over the long run.

Increase Your Restaurant Revenues with FoodKonnekt Online Ordering

7 Reasons Why You Need A Loyalty Program for your Restaurant?

Loyalty Programs for your Restaurant
  Loyalty Programs for your Restaurant

Much before the migration to mobile platforms, restaurants had been successfully using punch cards to build a regular customer base.  With the advent of convenient mobile platforms, the entire landscape of loyalty programs is witnessing a revolution of sorts. Roughly 30% of all restaurants are offering a customer loyalty program, and with 69% of consumers claiming their choice of a restaurant may be influenced by where they can earn rewards, it is evident that a loyalty program for your restaurant is here to stay.

7-reasons-why-you-need-a-loyalty-program-for-your-restaurant
                                   Loyalty Program For Your Restaurant

In fact, there are a number of ways in which a loyalty program can help restaurants in expanding and retaining their customer base. We will walk you through them one by one.

benefits of having Loyalty Programs for your Restaurant

 

1. Targeting the Right Customer

One of the most pertinent problems faced by marketing campaigns is of delivering personalized and relevant messages to the consumers. This is where loyalty programs can step-in; with a focus on specific geographic locations and on people who have already shown interest in the product, loyalty programs can help businesses deliver customized messages to the customer. Personalized and relevant messages are more likely to be transformed into action, and this also helps in turning one-time customers into repeat customers.

2. Building a Rich Customer database

A loyalty program gives you the ability to build a database of your customers, which includes email addresses and preferences. With this information, restaurants can build personalized marketing strategies. For instance, if you know a particular customer’s preference for nutty Hawaiian salad from his order history, you can use this information to offer a coupon for the same as a weekly reward.

With the rich customer data at its disposal, Restaurants can even customize offers to lure dormant customers.

3. Improving Customer Relationship

With the database created through the loyalty program, restaurant owners can create a happy dining experience for their customers. This could include tweaking orders as per customer preferences or for offering exclusive offers on birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions. Such gestures are very relevant in the restaurant business and go a long way in building a strong relationship with your guests.  A happy customer is more likely to bring in new friends to his or her favorite eating-place.

4. Generating Word of Mouth

Loyalty program for your restaurant can be used to create exclusive offers for your valued customers. Jonah Berger, in Contagious, stresses that exclusive offers bolster sales by creating a feeling of belonging in the customers. By their very nature, exclusive offers create a social currency, which customers are inclined to share, generating word of mouth for your business in the process. Restaurants can experiment to create a wide range of exclusive offers, which could include offering opportunities to make reservations for events before the public, or an invitation to try out a new entrée dish before it is introduced on the menu.

5. Loyalty Programs for Brand Advocacy

Referral incentives linked to loyalty programs are a great way to motivate your loyal customers to advocate your brand. Several restaurants are already leveraging this technique by offering rewards to customers who advocate their brand on social media by posting videos or reviews.

6. Loyalty Programs can help in Increasing Sales

Loyalty programs connected to a mobile platform can send regular reminders about menu options and specials. They can also be used to send coupons and promotional information around meal times or on special occasions to take advantage of the top-of-the-mind marketing strategy. Loyal customers not only buy more frequently, but they also spend more on average. In fact, several customers have admitted that they are usually inclined to spend more than they intend, just to reach the next tier in the reward system.

7. Better Return on Investment

Compared to other marketing strategies, loyalty program brings a better return on investment as customers are more likely to respond to messages that they have agreed to receive, and that are customized according to their individual preferences.

With their inherent advantages and high success rate, loyalty programs are set to become the most indispensable tool for restaurant marketers.
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