The pandemic has brought innovation to the restaurant industry like never before. With contact-free ordering, digital menus, touch-free payment options, and increased pick-up and delivery options, many restaurants are reaping the benefits of technology. With restaurants around the country experiencing labor shortages, owners are meeting that challenge head-on with improved technology and kitchen automation. Luckily, because of their adaptability, most restaurants have survived and even thrived during the pandemic. And those changes are here to stay. Here are three ways to keep ahead of the curve and expand the reach of your restaurant.
Open a New Location
Many restaurants experience long lines, both inside and in the drive-through. When your restaurant experiences a larger clientele than it can realistically handle, it is time to open a new location. Just be sure to choose your location strategically. Once you have considered zoning laws, think about your target customers. For example, a family pizza joint will cater to a different customer base than a poke bowl bistro. Be sure that your restaurant is easily accessible, with ample parking and high visibility. At the same time, it is important that you avoid settling down near direct competition or in frequently failed commercial space.
Start Delivery Services
If the pandemic taught the restaurant industry anything, it is that people love having their food brought to them. People have become accustomed to the convenience of delivery, and it is here to stay. As you plan out your delivery service, you must choose between building your own delivery fleet or using a third-party delivery service. There are pros and cons to both, so carefully consider which option suits your restaurant model best. According to Franchise Gator, third-party delivery services charge a fee which can eat into your profits.
Develop Your Website to Allow for Direct Orders
Sometimes, restaurants use a third party for online ordering. However, this is a disadvantage for several reasons. First, almost 70% of people report that they prefer using a restaurant’s website or app rather than having to go through a third party. Making direct orders is generally a smoother process, according to BentoBox. Second, by allowing for direct contact with your customers, you gain access to your customers’ data. You can then offer more focused marketing and rewards programs. Third, direct ordering gives you more control of the entire process.
Now is a great time to be in the restaurant business. People have had enough of staying home and cooking their own food. Take advantage of this upswing by expanding your restaurant’s reach. Take the lessons you learned from the pandemic and run with them!
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