Restaurants have traditionally been a precarious business, but the unexpected addition of you know…a pandemic made it even tougher to stay afloat. Instead of the usual staffing issues, rent increases and dealing with suppliers, restaurants couldn’t even welcome customers in the door. Let’s remember that while the 2008 recession was brutal on restaurants, foot traffic was still an option. The pandemic shuttered indoor dining for months and by December 1, 2020, it was reported that over “110,000 eating and drinking places were closed for business temporarily, or for good.” Yikes!
One of the biggest hurdles restaurants must overcome as they accelerate on the road to recovery is attracting repeat customers. Traditional lead generation methods like loyalty programs and social media advertising won’t cut it in the restaurant industry since it’s quite a different beast. A new blueprint is necessary for reaching today’s restaurant consumers, and Byte has three proven strategies that don’t require any help from delivery apps. Let’s dig in!
1. Grab & Go
Pre-packaged, ready-to-eat food and drink items often sold at a self-service fridge in grocery stores, hotel lobbies, university campuses and more. Once upon a time these items were perceived as a second tier food option (ew, is that from 7-11?), but Millennials’ hectic modern lives have reversed this misguided perception. Walking into a grocery store to pick up a fresh sandwich and smoothie takes mere minutes and doesn’t require waiting while food is prepared. Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked into a coffee shop and walked right out because the line was too long! The convenience of grab & go is unmatched for hungry people on the move. In fact, when retailers were asked for the best ways to “fight competition in prepared foods,” 65% of retailers answered: grab & go. Well, then. That settles it!
Modern customers value convenience as much as food quality, especially during the workweek. Fifty-five percent of millennials report that convenience is a top consideration when buying food. It’s no surprise that they are driving the popularity of online ordering and delivery. If you own a restaurant, you’ve probably partnered with an online delivery company–and seen how quickly they eat your profits.
2. Enhanced Take-Out
Nothing brings change faster than an economic shock. In the Before Times, many restaurants (especially fine dining) didn’t offer any form of takeout, but that quickly pivoted when the pandemic forced restaurant closures overnight. For many in the food industry, quickly spinning up a robust takeout strategy was the only option for survival during the precarious early days of the pandemic. Compared to grab & go, takeout still offers an opportunity to get in front of customers, build rapport and social capital—all which foster customer relationships that lead to repeat business. Picking up takeout is convenient, thanks to online ordering, and it doesn’t require a restaurant to pay delivery fees. No wonder many restaurants are sticking with takeout options, regardless of when the pandemic passes.
3. Step Inside the Office
Leveraging tools like Byte’s unattended stores allows restaurants to bring their brand inside the office, getting them in proximity of a hungry and captive audience. Restaurants can easily stock Byte stores with fresh breakfast and lunch fare, drinks, and snacks. Since customers can pay with credit cards and instantly get their meals, the convenience of this option is unparalleled. Restaurants can enjoy the competitive advantages of Byte’s unattended stores, which keep customers coming back throughout the day, and it’s a marketing win since it keeps their brand front of mind. Plus, Byte fridges cost a fraction of opening a new restaurant location.
Taste the freshness in every Byte
As of March 2020, the way we eat has changed forever. Grocery stores and restaurants have been forced to adapt to a new world order surrounding how we serve and deliver food. After the pummeling the restaurant industry took due to the pandemic, securing more customers goes beyond social media ads and expensive third party delivery apps.
Customer loyalty—especially when it comes to eating—is about more than just yummy food. People expect convenience and they won’t settle on food quality. The best way to attract repeat customers is by meeting them where they are. Integrating into a customer’s workday can mean presenting fresh food at the office, getting creative with grab & go options, or even quick takeout items that don’t gobble up an employee’s lunch break. Byte offers restaurants direct access to customers and a long-term competitive advantage, thanks to our smart software and convenient food stores. Come on, grab a Byte!
If you’re interested in learning more, we’d love to talk to you – email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call.