If you’re not using it in your personal life, you’ve likely still heard of Snapchat in the same sentence as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Although Instagram and Facebook now have options for live streaming and “stories,” Snapchat may still be the fastest way to get the point across and connect with your customers.
How to Use Snapchat
First, download the free app and pick an identifiable username for your website. We suggest adding things to your “story” as opposed to directly sending them to the people you decide to follow. This way, they can choose to explore and look at your story instead of being forced to open a notification. This option is also great because you can choose to make your story “public,” which allows those who do not follow you to check out what you post.
How to Gain Followers
The great thing about snapchat, is that every user has their own scannable code that’s unique to their profile. We encourage you to print this code out and place it in a few different, visible locations around your restaurant. If you place it at every table, it will give customers something to do while they’re waiting for their food. If you’re a fast-casual restaurant, make sure you place it in a location visible to those walking up and ordering their meals.
Use Snapchat to Your Advantage
Like other forms of social media, snapchat is free advertising! Use it to post upcoming specials, discount codes, or ways to get coupons. Encourage customers to use snapchat to get free drinks or a percentage off their next tab. Allow employees to “take over” your snapchat and post photos of a day in the life at your restaurant.
Create a Geofilter for Special Events
Geofilters are a great way to increase customer promotion of your restaurant, and they cost less than $6 a day! To create one, log onto your computer and go to Snapchat’s website. From there, you’ll find the option to create a Geofilter for your restaurant with a specific time, date, and mile radius. Feel free to use this for any and all events that you want to promote, from weekend happy hours to your restaurant’s anniversary parties.
Remember to take Snapchat lightly. While it is advertising, it’s a fun, free way to advertise your restaurant and show that you’re relatable to consumers. Allow an employee you trust to run your snapchat page, and remember, have fun!
9 Must-Have Restaurant Technologies That Improve Business
Looking for ways to make your restaurant more innovative? You’re not alone: according to the National Restaurant Association, 32% of operators think their business is lagging in restaurant technologies. So, we hand-picked 9 types of tech that deliver the most bottom line bang for your buck.
ORDERING RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGIES
Get orders out quickly and correctly. That’s good old-fashioned advice for the restaurant biz. The benefits are key: You’ll make guests happier, turn tables faster, and cut down on food waste and costs from inaccurate orders. Now, restaurant technologies are multiplying those benefits…
1. ONLINE ORDERING
Do you offer takeout? Or, are you a quick-serve or fast casual establishment looking to save guests from long lines?
Good news. The demand for online ordering restaurant technologies is growing with consumers. Operators who offer online ordering restaurant technologies see benefits like:
- Higher Revenue: With online ordering, customers can leisurely browse rather than hurriedly placing their order in person or over the phone. Since there’s no pressure, customers are more likely to order extra items, leading to higher sales.
- More Accurate Orders: Ordering over the phone is old news. Not only is your phone line tied up, but a bad connection or a loud bar drowns out parts of the conversation. Orders are recorded incorrectly, which means a waste of food and revenue for your bar – and a bad experience for your customer. Ordering with online restaurant technologies eliminates those variables.
- Data Tracking: If orders are placed through your website, you can track information. You can learn who your regular online customers are, how often they order, and which items they usually purchase.
You can partner with a third party, like ChowNow or Netwaiter, to develop online ordering for your website. Most programs integrate with your other restaurant technologies for a trackable and streamlined service. Look to Dominos Pizza to see a great example of online ordering in action.
2. DIGITAL POS SYSTEM
POS (point of sale) restaurant technologies are widely used in the hospitality industry – 81% of restaurants use either a POS or Electronic Register System. However, POS systems are getting even more sophisticated. Some POS systems, like Digital Dining, integrate with tabletop tablets so customers can browse a digital menu, place orders, and pay themselves. That brings us to the next item on our list of restaurant technologies…
3. CUSTOMER-FACING TABLETOP TABLETS
Restaurants are leveling up their ordering game. How? By giving guests the power to order from a digital menu and securely pay on a touchscreen tablet.
In fact, 37% of restaurant owners believe customer ordering is the single most important type of tech they should try.
The self-service restaurant technologies trend started with QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants). QSRs like Taco Bell let customers place orders using a tablet, mobile app or kiosk. The benefits started rolling in. Taco Bell reported a 20% increase in digital order sales over ones made traditionally with a human cashier.
Self-service restaurant technologies are now being adapted by the casual and even fine dining industries.
Restaurants are using tabletop tablets that display their digital menu and allow customers to place and send their orders directly to the kitchen.
Orders come out more quickly than if a table had to flag down a server during lunch or dinner rush. That means faster table turn – and happier guests.
Plus, since customers can dig deeper into the menu to discover more add-ons and extras than any server could recite, check averages are increasing.
As an added bonus, some tabletop tablets come loaded with games and entertainment to add even more value (see #6 on our list of restaurant technologies).
What’s amazing about these restaurant technologies is that they aren’t replacing personal service – only enhancing it. Servers can spend more time engaging with guests instead of verifying their orders or running the bill back and forth.
MARKETING RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGIES
Today, automation is the big buzzword in marketing. These restaurant technologies can simplify and streamline your marketing.
4. LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Restaurant technologies are putting a new spin on loyalty programs. Now, it’s easier than ever to design a great loyalty program on a standalone app or integrate it with an online program.
Unlike traditional punch cards, online loyalty programs like Level Up provide great marketing insight through the latest restaurant technologies. You can track customer behavior that may influence your marketing strategy, like how often your customers visit and why.
Using restaurant technologies for your loyalty program enhances the customer experience as well. Rather than having to track their visits on a card (which can get lost easily), customers conveniently keep tabs on their app.
Certain programs even track customer’s birthdays or anniversaries, so you can offer a special treat on their big day. Now let’s see a punch card to that!
5. EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDERS
One of the most affordable restaurant technologies to try today? An ESP (email service provider) like MailChimp. An ESP is a 3rd party software that you can use to manage and send email marketing campaigns.
With easy to use templates, you can craft attractive emails to your customers that outline your upcoming events and specials. The ESP will track analytics, like who opened your email and what they clicked on, so you can improve your campaign as time goes on.
ENTERTAINMENT RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGIES
According to a DirectTV survey, 70% of consumers say that visiting a restaurant is a form of entertainment in itself. Make your restaurant the go-to place by adding these entertainment-focused restaurant technologies…
6. HANDHELD ENTERTAINMENT
Restaurant tablets can do more than just help your guests place orders and pay. Companies like Buzztime offer restaurant tablets loaded with entertaining games and trivia. Guests can join nationally scheduled competitions 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. These restaurant tablets can even be used to run a live trivia event or poker tournament in your restaurant!
With the right handheld entertainment, you can attract a wide range of customers: Big groups may come in specifically for a round of trivia or solo patrons can dive into a digital arcade that’s “open” 24/7. Either way, restaurant technologies that offer tabletop entertainment are a great way to increase repeat visits. In fact, one Arbitron study revealed that Buzztime players spent an average 21% more per table check than non-players.
Free wi-fi is one of the restaurant technologies that can significantly enhance your guest experience…if you do it right! Here’s an example. Many customers use smart phones to track fantasy football or other scores while catching the game at bars and restaurants. They may choose your venue if you offer free wi-fi.
And wi-fi could lead to higher sales revenue. Larger groups may need a place to work, and will select a venue specifically for i’s wi-fi service – especially during slower hours when they know they can get a table.
A word of caution about wi-fi restaurant technologies: Always use a credible wi-fi service provider. A bad connection leaves customers feeling irritated and reduces the chances of them returning for business. Stick with an industry leader, like Ruckus Wireless – used by 70% of the hospitality community.
MANAGEMENT RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGIES
Tired of juggling management tasks? Let these restaurant technologies can take some tasks off your plate.
8. AUTOMATED INVENTORY TRACKING
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to spend hours per week manually logging your inventory? Now, systems like BevSpot can automatically track inventory for you.
With traditional spreadsheets, you run the risk of clerical errors that lead to costly mistakes. Plus, if you want to run a comparison or check for inconsistencies in inventory – you have to manually configure data. Instead, inventory restaurant technologies can instantly run reports for you.
Some programs even automate order suggestions so you don’t over or under spend for the week.
9. SCHEDULING SOFTWARE
Scheduling is like a tricky puzzle with moving parts. Many managers struggle to get it right. With last minute call outs and disappearing vacation notices, creating a staff schedule can be a nightmare.
However, restaurant technologies like ZoomShift can free up your restaurant operator’s time by streamlining the scheduling process. Many scheduling software companies offer features like:
- Automated Schedules: Once you know that a server or bartender can work every Monday night, you can log that information into the software. Every week, the program automatically schedules your employee for those hours.
- Vacation Requests: Your employees can enter vacation requests online. A notification will pop up if you try to schedule them for hours they requested off.
- Schedule Checks: Since most scheduling software is available online, employees can check their schedules through computers or mobile devices. No more disruptive calls from servers asking about their next shift!
With the right restaurant technologies in place, you can enhance your customer experience and boost sales. Examine your restaurant needs and pick the programs that will work best for your business.
What makes the restaurant industry so interesting?
It’s always changing.
To kick off the release of our 2017 Restaurant Technology Industry Report – complete with insight from our most extensive research to date – we wanted to share out some of the must-know restaurant industry statistics owners and managers need to know going into 2018.
Read on for restaurant statistics compiled from reports, studies, and articles across the internet, including our new report.
Want more restaurant statistics?
General Restaurant Statistics
- Annual sales in the restaurant industry are $799 billion. (Source)
- There are 14.7 million employees in the restaurant industry. (Source)
- There are more than 1 million restaurant locations in the U.S. (Source)
- There will be 16.3 million jobs in the restaurant industry by 2017. (Source)
- The United States' Mountain Region will see the biggest increase in sales this year with a 5.3% growth. (Source)
- West North Central U.S. will see the lowest growth – but will still grow by 3.5% in 2017. (Source)
- In 2017, restaurant sales will be the greatest in the state of Florida (6.2%) and the lowest in the state of North Dakota (2.4%). (Source)
Restaurant Economy Statistics
- In 1955, the restaurant industry comprised 25% of the family food dollar. In 2017, that number has risen to 48%. (Source)
- Gas prices have steadily declined post-hurricanes from $2.67 to $2.49, meaning more consumers may be more likely to drive out to dine. (Source)
- American consumers spend 33% of their income on housing, 15.8% on transportation, and 12.6% on food. (Source)
- Although wholesale food prices were on the rise this year, they will be lower in 2018 than in 2015. (Source)
Restaurant Employment Statistics
- 36% of restaurant operators name staffing as their biggest challenge to success, 20% say the biggest challenge is retaining customers, and 15% say it's high operating/food costs. (Source)
- 47% of bar managers name staffing as their biggest challenge to success. (Source)
- Roughly three in 10 restaurateurs have job openings they find difficult to fill, signaling a significant hiring crisis in restaurants. (Source)
- Hurricanes Irma and Harvey contributed to a loss of 105,000 foodservice jobs in September 2017. (Source)
- Prior to these natural disasters, the industry was adding 24,000 foodservice jobs per month on average in the 12 preceding months. (Source)
Restaurant Management Statistics
- The Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to 100.4 in Sept. 2017. This is an indicator of a decline in same-store sales and customer traffic. Anything over 100 is considered a time of growth for restaurants. (Source)
- 78% of restaurateurs check their sales data & metrics daily - a 70% increase from 2015. (Source)
- Historically, community/event/charity sponsorship is the most common form of restaurant advertising, with 66% of restaurants saying they have used this method in the past. (Source)
- The most common platform for restaurant advertising in 2017 is social media and is utilized by 75% of restaurateurs. (Source)
- When it comes to social media, restaurants are most likely to use Facebook (92% of restaurants) and least likely to use Snapchat (16% of restaurants). (Source)
Restaurant Sales Statistics
- Annual food and beverage purchases at full service restaurants are projected to be at $263 billion for the year. (Source)
- QSR and fast-casual restaurant sales are projected to reach $233.7 billion this year. (Source)
- QSR sales will see a nominal growth of 5.3% in 2017. (Source)
- FSR sales will see a nominal growth of 3.5% in 2017. (Source)
- Snack and alcoholic beverage bars will see a nominal growth of 6% in sales this year. (Source)
Restaurant Consumer Statistics
- Pent-up demand for restaurants remains high, with 39% of adults not eating on premises at restaurants as often as they would like. (Source)
- 61% of adults say they would rather spend money on an experience, such as a restaurant or other activity, compared to purchasing an item from a store. (Source)
- Diners prioritize delicious food when choosing a restaurant to visit, followed by quality of service. (Source)
- 51% of diners go out to eat more than once a week. (Source)
- When placing an online order, a patron is more likely to use a restaurant's website than a third-party site like EAT24. (Source)
Restaurant Technology Statistics
- 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience. (Source)
- 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business efficiency. (Source)
- The most important technology feature for guests are online reservations, free wifi, and online ordering. (Source)
- The top features restaurateurs are looking for in a POS upgrade are ease of use, depth of reporting, and inventory reporting. (Source)
- 61% of diners agree that server handheld tablets improve their guest experience. (Source)
- 32% of diners of restaurateurs believe they are lagging in their technology use. (Source)
- Today, adults are 30% more likely to use restaurant technology than they were two years ago. (Source)
Restaurant Payment Statistics
- When a restaurant kiosk has been available, 65% have used a kiosk, with 55% saying they use it “sometimes” and 10% saying they use it “every time.” 35% have opted out from using it. (Source)
- When paying for a low-ticket item (e.g. coffee), 62% of guests opt to use their credit/debit card. (Source)
- When paying for a high-ticket item (e.g. fancy dinner), 90% of guests pay with their card. (Source)
- Millennials are most likely to use their card in any situation when paying for food. Even for low-ticket items, 69% of millennials will use their card. (Source)
- 58% of diners sometimes or always use mobile pay at a restaurant. (Source)
- Only 22% of restaurants offer mobile pay or payment through an app. (Source)
- Only 1 in 20 diners use mobile pay as their default payment method. (Source)
- 49% of millennials prefer digital restaurant receipts to printed paper ones. (Source)
Restaurant Food Statistics
- 70% of diners say they are more likely to choose a restaurant that offers healthy menu options. (Source)
- 66% of American consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food items. (Source)
- 52% of adults are looking to expand their variety of ethnic cuisine. (Source)
- Future trends (predicted for the year 2020) will include local sourcing, fresh produce, healthy eating, and an emphasis on authentic items. (Source)
- The top three food trends at full service restaurants are new cuts of meat, street food-inspired dishes, and healthy kids' meals. (Source)
What Music Should You Go With?
Music is a part of everyone's life.
So, naturally, music in restaurants can impact someone’s dining experience a lot.
Let's go over some music hacks your restaurant can employ to drive business and create an unforgettable restaurant experience.
Music in Restaurants
Not only does the type of music played matter, but how loud the music might be or to what degree it plays into the mood also matters.
Before thinking about playing music in a restaurant, make sure you’ve set up the proper system so that the music you play is licensed and that all of the artists are being credited properly. (You can check out our previous blog A Crash Course in Restaurant Music Licensing Laws to make sure you’re in the clear before you get an unsuspecting knock on your door one day.)
But let's get back to the actual music played in your restaurant. While everyone in the restaurant may have different opinions on what should be played, how loud it should be, and when music should be played, these decisions truly come down to the owner and their vision for the establishment.
If you are looking for more insight, here are some tips.
1. The Mood
Choose a genre of music that is appropriate for how you want guests to feel based on the type of restaurant you have.
There’s no reason to be blasting loud rock music in a small, French-themed coffee shop just because “Mark” who opened that morning was in the mood for some Metallica. Keep it simple and play something nice and acoustic or light jazz.
One restaurant in Nashville loves to keep the mood of the city alive, so they choose to play country music and feature live bands to stay true to the spirit of ‘Music City.”
It’s important to keep in mind how the music makes you feel and think about how the customer feels hearing it.
2. The Volume
Choose a volume that is fitting for the time of day but also for the activities going on within the restaurant.
This means that throughout a day or an evening volumes may change depending on the feel of the room. If you offer dinner early on in the night and then switch to more of a nightclub feel after a certain hour, it might be appropriate to adjust volumes accordingly.
You also want to be considerate of where you place speakers around your establishment to make sure there aren’t certain seats guests dislike sitting at because they have to yell at each other to hold a conversation.
3. The Consistency
Choose a playlist or station that is consistent and doesn’t vary with the type of music they play. The last thing you want is calm, soothing music turning into loud, bass-heavy songs.
Having a selection of playlists to choose from also helps you know what you’re going to play on a given day and eliminates a last-minute decision to just “put anything on.”
It’s always important to be aware of the situation and mood in a room before setting up a soundtrack to accompany it.
What's Your Restaurant's Music Choice?
At the end of the day what music you put on all comes down to the mood and feel of the establishment and what the owner/operator has in mind, but you always have to keep the customer in mind to keep them happy.
A new restaurant is an exciting and complex concept. There are so many factors to take into consideration when planning your kitchen, your menu, your staffing, your permits, your liquor license - the list goes on and on. Equally important: your dining room space. Customers eat with their eyes first, and having an attractive and welcoming seating area will greatly improve the experience of the diners.
Restaurant Supply carries a large array of restaurant furniture for both indoors and outdoors - shop our collection here. And below are some tips to keep in mind and get you started on creating the perfect space:
From a practical standpoint, functionality is key. Consider the flow of the restaurant closely. There are so many moving parts in a working restaurant - quite literally - so plan your space carefully and consider what's going to work best to keep your lunch and dinner rushes flowing smoothly. Adequate space between tables - an area for a line to form in front of the register (if applicable) indoor/outdoor seating which can be adjusted seasonally - all things to consider as you plan out the amount of tables you want to have and where they will go. Banquets and communal seating can also maximize the amount of paying customers you can have in the restaurant, but make sure that these new, modern seating tactics fit the flow and the vibe of your restaurant's concept before implementing them.
Consider working with an interior designer. Just as you hire a chef to run your kitchen, or an agency to handle your marketing - working with an expert in interior design can drastically improve the quality and caliber of your finished space. While you may have your own concept in mind, executing your vision will be much easier with a professional hand. In addition, a designer can help fill in the gaps if you have some sort of a concept but haven't really worked out the details. So regardless of whether you have an entire vision planned or just some basic ideas - working with a good interior designer will help ensure a stylish and well planned space.
Finally: branding, branding, branding. Your restaurant's branding goes beyond it's logo - its the menu, the design, the overall feel and personality and mission statement of your concept. Branding should be well reflected in design as well as marketing materials. Are you more aesthetic or baroque? Casual or fine dining? Modern or traditional? All of these questions should be carefully taken into consideration when executing your restaurant floor plan. Small details, such as lighting fixtures or artwork, convey a strong presence in design, so be detail oriented and plan well in order to make your vision come to life in an attractive way that your customers will love.