There is no more online or offline experience. We're all online, all the time. It's a shift into what's now known as "phygital experiences." A blending of the digital and physical worlds that work together to build a memorable and unique experience. An experience that puts the customer first. Today's restaurants have to meet their customers' demands for integrated digital and physical experiences. With the ever-growing use of technologies used in the restaurant industry, customers expect the same level of personalization and convenience in person as they do online.
Here are ways that restaurants today can push technology forward into all aspects of their business, from the drive-thru lane to the kitchen.
Touch and Go
For better or for worse, customers have grown accustomed to eating out with little or no human interaction. The use of interactive kiosks is a true expression of the phygital world, bringing the ease and simplicity of ordering from an app into the store. For customers concerned about health and safety, the removal of face-to-face transactions gives a sense of security. Visual graphics on a kiosk menu can help to entice customers and promote products. And of course, efficiency equals earnings. Faster ordering means more customers in and out on time.
Get With the Program
With the entire entertainment world at our fingertips, it's important for your restaurant to offer your diners a visual experience they can't find anywhere else. It's time to ditch traditional TV and deliver personalized programming. Restaurants that utilize personally branded visuals benefit from showing pre-approved content that informs and promotes to an actively engaged audience. And with advances in technology like System on Chip (SoC), the content management software is available directly on the display screen, negating the need for a separate device.
Feast Your Eyes
Digital menu boards may not be new, but they're more important now than ever. The use of digital menu boards can entertain, educate, and engage customers with visuals that are easy to update and completely branded to your restaurant. And of course, they're an efficient way to showcase specials, nutritional information, and promotions, both inside and at the drive-thru. And with the ability to update content quickly, you can change your menu as often as you like, so your menu is always fresh and current. Supply chain issues and product availability can be fluid. Restaurants that take advantage of digital menu boards can easily change while still looking professional and complete.
Digital signage doesn't stop at the front of the store. Video screens are moving behind the counters and into the kitchen as well. Digital screens are an obvious choice for workflow and order taking, but are being used for all kinds of employee communication. Visuals are perfect for keeping staff informed of ever changing safety measures and sanitation protocols, as well as motivating staff, reinforcing training, and even highlighting employee achievements.
Drive-Thru, Not Drive Off
Drive-thru is a major source of revenue that hinges on speed and accuracy. With distinct visuals, restaurants significantly reduce the risk for error on customer orders. Up-to-date headset systems are equally as important. The latest headset systems are easy to repair and provide crystal-clear audio. Meaning restaurants don't have to worry about revenue loss from downtime or mistakes. Every moment your drive-thru system is down, money is driving away.
Consumer-grade screens and speakers you use at home aren't designed for use in restaurant environments. They're not made to run all day long, and they're not built to withstand the grease, excessive dust and high temperatures. Invest in an AV system built specifically for your business. Commercial grade equipment ensures you can deliver a dine-in experience free of crackling speakers or fuzzy pictures.
To make a positive impact on your customers, you need to choose music that reflects who you are as a brand. Be wary of consumer streaming platforms though. The last thing you want to do is leave your music in the hands of bots and algorithms. Professional, fully licensed music tailor-made for businesses can ensure an experience that resonates with customers. Music can completely affect the emotions of your diners. Consider changing your music to play different programs for different times of the day. What customers want to hear in the morning can be vastly different than what they want at night. Music is also a great motivator to keep your front-of-house and kitchen staff feeling good. Whatever music you choose, make sure it's reliable. Streaming interruptions, odd segues between songs, inappropriate lyrics, and complete silence are mood killers around the dinner table.
Consumers have missed the social and leisurely side of dining. Seize the opportunity to build brand trust and boost sales with a public that is ready to re-engage with dining in person. It's important to reward the loyalty of the customers making the decision to visit your restaurant. Take advantage of growing technologies and integrate the digital world with the physical for an easy and enjoyable experience your customers can appreciate today and into tomorrow.