Restaurants Are Going Digital: Are You Keeping Up?

Let’s face it – we live in a digital world. Everyone and everything have now become subject to the changes brought upon them by the latest and continual advancements in technology. That’s right, restaurants too! And just like any other business, it is absolutely imperative for restaurants to recognize and adapt to the changing times, not only in order to remain successful but also to simply keep surviving in the long run. So, restaurants, it’s time to go digital! And if you already are, here’s how to level up and be as effective as you possibly can.


“A historical period that began in the mid-20th century, characterized by a rapid epochal shift from the traditional industry established by the Industrial Revolution to an economy primarily based upon information technology.” The definition you just read describes a term called “The Information Age”(ref:Wikipedia), or more commonly referred to as “The Digital Age”.

With the latest developments and advancements that the world has experienced in all aspects and continues to until this very day, there is no doubt that there has been a significant impact of this change on the world we live in today. Because it is, by all means, a digital world.

And of course, even businesses around the world have been subject to tremendous change due to the digital advancements the world has undergone, no matter which sector or industry the business belongs to. Restaurants are no exception to this. In fact, the changes are obvious and clearly visible, however, living in a modernised world we’re already accustomed to the existence of the digital realm in general in our daily lives, making it so normalised that until you really put some thought into it, it’s easy to miss the extent of the impact of the digital age and how it has been helpful to restaurants around the world.

Think about it: where would we really be without these technological advancements? Physically handing out as many flyers as possible as a form of advertisement and hoping it reaches as many people as it can? Relying on people chancing upon your ad whilst tuning their radio channels and hearing about your restaurant (never mind all the information you’re hoping they’ll retain because once they’ve heard the ad on the radio, because there would be no means to play back the information so that they can note it down once it has been broadcasted on the radio station)? Or are we going with the good old direct mail option, which is not only expensive and time consuming, but largely at risk of simply being ineffective due to the sheer amount of such direct mail that people must receive one a daily basis, making your restaurant just one of the many others that slipped a flyer under their front door?

At this point, if you haven’t yet got acclimatized to the modern-day digital developments, you must be living under a rock. And start preparing your “closed forever” signs while you’re at it. But the thing is, even if you think you’ve gone digital, are you really convinced you’re using this heavenly business mechanism to its fullest potential? Are you being as effective as you possibly can be with a tool this powerful? Well, don’t worry, we’re here to help you achieve that if you aren’t.

1. Social Media

Social Media

I’m sure you expected this one as soon as you looked at the title of this blog post. Quite obviously, one of the greatest tools that can be used by businesses today for a multitude of reasons, ranging from market research to promotional advertisements to customer communication and engagement, is social media platforms. The biggest advantage? As long as you have an internet connection and a digital device, it operates at relatively no cost at all for a medium that reaps so much benefit to the restaurant. When it comes to social media, restaurants must first of all decide which platforms will be the most useful for them to join in order to meet their business objectives. Once they have shortlisted the platforms they want to build, they must do market research and then use the findings to plan out what they want to post, when, and, how. Having a set plan is bound to be more effective than a haphazard and uncalculated approach and is hence super important. By keeping a routine of engaging, informative, and relevant posts, the restaurant will over time begin to establish their presence on social media, gaining traction from both existing and potential customers while enhancing their online presence drastically. Though social media seems like an all too simple tool to use, there are few who truly realise how to capitalise off of the potential social media holds. Putting just a tad bit more thought into the restaurant’s social standing can make the world of a difference.

2. E-mails

E-mails

The use of e-mail marketing has been a constant through all changing technologies and trends, simply because it is such a reliable and useful method which serves its purpose well and isn’t likely to go out of fashion anywhere in the near future! E-mails are important. And hence, users are bound to check their inboxes if not every day, then at the very least pretty often. By using a method that is going to reach a customer for sure and on top of that is personalised to the user by having the e-mail being sent to them directly, the effectiveness of the marketing is immediately boosted. Instead of just a random post on social media which anyone can chance upon, this is a real message being sent to an individual which is kind of hard to miss. All that the restaurant needs to do is ensure that the subject of the email is enticing enough for the receiver to at least give it a once over. Simply by getting the user to read the email, the restaurant has been successful in engaging with the customer. Restaurants do need to be careful though, as it is very easy to accidentally find yourself in the junk or spam category of somebody’s e-mail inbox. This makes all effort applied simply redundant because the e-mail will no longer be presented to the receiver in their inbox. And honestly speaking, anything classified as junk is unlikely to catch the user’s attention or be effective, while being classified as spam can be seriously harmful for the credibility of the restaurant, ending up with negative consequences like a loss of trust between the restaurant and potential customers rather than positive results from a successful marketing campaign.

3. Influencers

Influencers

One of the prevalent marketing tactics has been the use of social media influencers for the promotion of a product or service. At the end of the day, an advertisement is all about believability. It’s about making the customer trust in the product or service being introduced to them enough for them to be able to draw the conclusion that they indeed want to buy it. Think about it, if a customer thinks something is false advertisement, will they purchase it? Now when the business itself vouches for its merit, it doesn’t solidify the credibility of the things being said in the customer’s minds, simply because everyone knows that a business is always going to portray their brand in the most positive of lights. If a restaurant chooses to go with hiring an influencer to vouch for their credibility instead, it instantly boosts the impact of the advertisement as suddenly somebody who is outside of the business is recommending the restaurant. Moreover, influencers are obviously supposed to be famous in some way, whether they are sportspeople, musicians, or actors, they’re bound to be known and loved by a lot of people, and a face you know is definitely more believable than one you don’t. The added benefit is the reach of these influencer’s platforms. They must have their own group of fans that will get introduced to the restaurant via the association of the influencer with the restaurant, increasing the pool of potential customers for the restaurant. It is important to note though, that the choice of influencer here is very important. It should be someone who is unproblematic and admired, rather than someone who has a trail of unlikeable repertoire, instantly diminishing their credibility due to their standing with the public. Moreover, associating a genuinely controversial or disliked influencer could even lead to negative consequences like dislike from association or even a boycott altogether. Lastly, the expenses required for even getting an influencer on board should be kept in mind.

4. Website

Website

In the digital age, the website of the business is its life and soul. The internet, being so vast and mighty, is the first place anyone looks when they wish to learn or explore. And when it comes to learning about or exploring a business, it doesn’t get better than a website. Having a good website can be the make or break for a restaurant. But what exactly defines a “good” website? For starters, it should be appealing to look at. A website that doesn’t look enticing enough to even get the user to scroll further down and explore more has failed already. If the user is simply unimpressed with how the website looks, they already begin to associate the restaurant with being unimpressive, causing them to disregard it and probably click off that tab before you can wonder if they liked your content (spoiler alert: they probably didn’t even give it a once over). And when it comes to content, it should be relevant, interesting, and should most importantly have proper grammar. A restaurant that cannot even ensure that their website, such an important display of what their business is, has proper English instantly makes the user look at the restaurant as unprofessional and unremarkable. The restaurant must also identify which target audience it wants to cater to and keep that in mind when choosing the tone of the language they’re opting to portray in their content. Is it informal or professional? Either way, it must be consistent. Lastly and most importantly, a website must be easy to navigate and use. The user should have a comfortable browsing experience that beckons them to keep exploring it further, if the website isn’t ergonomic, they won’t be inclined to delve into it. The text should be in an easy-to-read font at an appropriate size, pitted against a well contrasted background that makes it easy to read.

5. Loyalty Apps

Loyalty Apps

Another great marketing tactic made possible due to the digital advancements we have today are loyalty apps. Essentially, they’re just a fun ploy to increase customer loyalty. Restaurants can either incorporate these loyalty programs in the form of a mobile app, or simply as a feature on their website. Physical loyalty cards were a great tactic at one point, but as the world went digital, they no doubt lost their relevance once people discovered that online systems are so much more efficient and fool proof. A loyalty program is all about incentives. Joined the program? Enjoy some loyalty points! Referred a friend? Have a discount! Left a customer review? Enjoy a free dessert! Returned for another meal? Sure, we’ll add loyalty points for that! Over time, these loyalty points can amount to an even bigger incentive, like a free meal or a huge discount. This combination of small and big incentives that are meant to be used over short and long periods of time can be used to essentially drive the customers to do anything reasonable that helps the objectives of the restaurant. The main point is, no matter what happens, the restaurant is succeeding in engaging with the customer. Some of the best loyalty programs out there that we can learn from include: Starbucks, Sephora, Chick-fil-A One, etc. If the customers are kept committed to the restaurant and obliged with the service, a bond of consumer loyalty is formed which shouts durability, efficiency, and growth, ensuring a steady stream of income and a reliable pool of customers to bank upon.

6. Feedback and Reviews

Feedback and Reviews

A restaurant is all about ensuring that the customers are satisfied with the service they are being provided. Restaurants may try to guess the missing pieces if they realize that customers are dissatisfied with something, but how accurately can they really fill in the blanks even if they try their best to think from the perspective of a customer? It’s obviously the safest option to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth – by asking the customers themselves! This is achieved simply by taking their feedback and asking them for a review of the restaurant, the responses of which can then be used to identify the areas where the restaurant needs improvement and so those areas can be worked upon so that consumer satisfaction eventually increases. With the use of the internet, this system of feedback and reviews is as simple as ever to accomplish. Restaurants can simply incentivize customers to fill in feedback forms on their website or apps by offering them something, and then this data can be analyzed. This is a simple and effortless method as there is no printing, physical handing out, or coaxing involved. There is also a huge advantage of already having digital data as manual data entry can entail a certain risk of error. This is relatively also cheaper as nothing is to be printed and more efficient as it takes less time to reach an even greater number of people. You do have to be careful however, as certain users may randomly click on any buttons to simply complete the form and avail the benefits of the incentive, leading to false or inaccurate data. This can be risky as if important decisions are taken based on this, it could be detrimental to the business. Also, while online reviews are great to encourage people to try out the restaurant by seeing that other people are recommending it, a bad review published online is seriously risky if not immediately identified and dealt with as it can have great influence on the perception of the restaurant in the customer’s minds. It is therefore imperative that the online reputation of the restaurant is always closely monitored, and negative attention is dealt with by either sorting out the issue, offering them some compensation, or simply deleting these reviews so they are no longer seen by customers.

7. Online Ordering

Online Ordering

One of the greatest things to come out of these technological advancements is potentially the concept of online ordering. Online ordering is the future of the restaurant industry. It allows restaurants to expand their possible list of customers from just passer-by’s in their area to potentially the whole city. Specially keeping in mind the latest developments due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been statistically proven that online ordering is at an all-time high while quite understandably, eat-in dining has taken a plunge over the course of the past year. Online ordering saves the restaurant a lot of hassle. Due to it being a computerised process, the risk of error that exists while orders are handled manually is diminished. In a busy restaurant, it’s very likely that some form of miscommunication occurs while the customer is ordering on the phone while the restaurant is hustling and bustling with people. These mistakes of customer demands being lost in translation are minimised. It also saves a lot of time since the customer already has access to the menu and all available deals and offers online, saving a lot of time and effort of the restaurant workers who would otherwise have to deal with the process of tending to newer customers by introducing them to the menu of the restaurant themselves, thus making online ordering faster, easier, and so much more efficient. Since it’s computerised, it also keeps an exact log of all restaurant activity related to purchases and likes and dislikes of the customers in general, acting almost as a natural form of marketing research as this data can later be analysed to draw conclusions for the restaurant and help make important business decisions regarding menu and pricing etc. Offering online ordering naturally enhances the restaurant’s online presence, acting as a marketing at practically no direct cost at all. Offering an online ordering system can also give you a competitive edge over other restaurants that do not offer this service. But most importantly, the greater reach offered by online ordering is arguably its most rewarding benefit. There is obviously a great change in the way people choose to order their food now.

How can you find a reasonable and reliable solution to the food delivery changes in demand?

Just SAYLALALA!

Arising from – an absent in-house delivery driver, the lack of efficient delivery riders, and the loss of revenues owing to heavy third-party aggregator commissions, Saylalala was born. Inspired by a 10-year-old’s sheer curiosity around the how’s and why’s of food delivery in the UK, Saylalala was designed to address the food delivery challenges faced by restaurants, takeaways and cloud kitchens in the UK!

Just SAYLALALA

Saylalala aims to transform the food business industry by providing an economical delivery solution that enables ease of business, operationally and commercially, and hence create an efficient, ground-breaking, and sustainable food delivery ecosystem. We strive to provide the most rewarding and transformative delivery solution that enables restaurants to strengthen their own business, rather than becoming a slave to all the aggregators in the market.

Saylalala connects drivers directly to restaurants on demand via the Saylalala app. Restaurants pay a minimal fee to access our army of delivery drivers, fondly named De’Bees, paying only for the deliveries made and that too at a nominal competitive price. Food businesses now have a delivery solution and delivery drivers an opportunity to earn extra money on their own terms and time, all just a tap away with Saylalala.

Our model is simple, no commissions or fixed term contracts, just SAYLALALA, where drivers meet deliveries.

You can learn more by visiting www.saylalala.com, where you can also find all necessary links to download the Saylalala Restaurant or Saylalala Driver application (or both if you please!) and any other helpful information on the brand of Saylalala and what it stands for.