Personalization is the future of the restaurant industry. This is a move beyond segmentation to one-to-one personalization in real-time and, in competitive industries, this could be the key to catching the attention of potential customers.
One emerging strategy restaurants are using to tailor the diner’s experience is mobile point of sale (POS) systems, which help inform servers of guest needs in real-time and allow guests to order and pay on their preferred devices. The technology is rapidly gaining popularity, partially due to its ability to provide more customized guest interactions, such as by informing preferences of repeat customers or offering diners several options for contactless ordering and payment.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to enhance the dining experience at any restaurant:
Referring to diners on a first-name basis can go a long way in personalizing their experience. Guests will feel like a VIP, setting service off on the right foot. Once the guest is seated, wait staff could offer a glass of their favorite wine or suggest new dishes based on their past orders. These subtle, personalized touches set the restaurant apart from the competition.
This level of personalization is possible with a guest management system. Restaurants can collect customers’ names, order history, dining preferences, and more. With this information, servers can provide more insightful menu recommendations improving the overall dining experience.
Acknowledge Special Events
“Restaurants immediately collect valuable information such as VIP status, [the customer’s] birthday, preferences, and much more [with a guest management system]. This information alerts the host to acknowledge a returning guest or recognize their special occasions,” according to Chef Robert Irvine. Without a system to capture and store this information, FOH staff would be unaware of these events when guests dine.
When a customer comes into the restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, wait staff should recognize it, whether it’s with a complimentary dessert or glass of champagne. Gestures like this help servers build a personal relationship with their guests. As a bonus, customers may be more likely to visit for another special occasion because they know they will be cared for well.
Servers should be aware of which customers prefer more attention versus which like a hands-off approach—in other words, shift the service approach to match diners’ unique wants and needs.
During service, FOH staff can input a customer’s preferences into their unique guest manager profile. This way, the next server assigned to that customer already knows how they like to dine. This practice aims to deliver consistent experiences every time customers visit.
As we’ve mentioned before, consistent customer service is essential to the success of a restaurant.
Retain Wait Staff
Truly successful personalization is dependent on a restaurant’s ability to retain its wait staff because diners will start to recognize and ask for a specific server that delivers superior service. Plus, employees can provide tailored recommendations on the spot for repeat visitors. If a staff member doesn’t meet guests’ expectations, it’s a potential loss of a customer.
The restaurant industry is notorious for employee turnover, especially after the pandemic. In June 2021, the accommodation and food services sector had 1.5 million job openings—a sharp increase from 818,000 in June 2020 and 855,000 in June 2019. To combat this, restaurants can utilize intuitive restaurant software, like a guest management system, that helps employees do their job more effectively.
Staff is more likely to earn tips when providing a personalized diner experience. This can act as an incentive to keep staff around longer: If servers are making more money, it stands to reason that they’ll want to stay at that particular restaurant.
Increase Your Revenue With Restaurant Mobile Technology
Wait staff can provide customers with personalized service through mobile ordering technology, making intuitive recommendations about food or drinks a diner might enjoy as they browse the menu.
Inform Repeat Visit Considerations
A mobile ordering solution also accrues data from previous customers allowing servers to customize diner engagements based on their historical preferences and offering customers a more tailored experience. For example, the system can remember what a guest ordered previously and recommend similar dishes during subsequent visits. In addition, the POS can recognize a returning diner and offer them discounts automatically as they browse the menu.
Increased Order Flexibility for Diners
A mobile ordering solution provides customers with multiple options for ordering and payment, such as using their mobile phone or the restaurant’s device. These technological advancements enable customers to browse the menu and order on their most comfortable device, improving the guest experience. They can keep their tab open throughout the entire duration of their meal to order more as they go, check out on their phone for a contactless journey, or pay tableside with the server.
Mad Mobile’s Dine-In Mobile Ordering connects Salesforce Commerce Cloud to your restaurant’s POS in real time. This enables staff to cover more tables and turn covers faster. Servers can view guest orders in real time and add an open check from anywhere.
Self-ordering kiosks also save time and reduce labor costs. Customers can put their food orders in and make any special requests desired. Kiosks cut down the waiting time in line, improving the speed of service and increasing customer engagement.
Provide Faster Service
By achieving mobility, restaurants free up servers to engage more with guests personally when orders are directly sent tableside. Once a diner submits or updates their order, their server and the kitchen staff are notified in real-time, streamlining the ordering and food delivery process and reducing server time wasted going back and forth to the terminal station and tables.
See how a mobile ordering solution can optimize restaurant operations firsthand by demoing Mad Mobile’s solution.
Restaurants need to focus on the quality of their service as much as they do the quality of ingredients and menu items. Ultimately, personalized service directly impacts customer retention and loyalty, lowers costs, and boosts profits. One of the most effective ways operators can accomplish this is by implementing a mobile ordering solution.
What steps will you take today to personalize your guests’ dining experience?