The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly impacted industries worldwide. The Food & Beverage sector, in particular, has found itself in the frontlines. As countries navigate through the crisis by practicing social distancing and limiting commercial activities — such as dining out — countless F&B outlets are looking at a significant loss in revenue and are seeking new ways to keep business going. At a time when people are encouraged to stay home, the strategic move for F&B is to shift their sales strategy to online and delivery.
The uncertainty of the current business situation may be troubling for some, particularly those who are unequipped to pivot to a ‘delivery only’ operation. But like with any challenges, business owners can rely on the ever-evolving restaurant technology available that offers robust solutions to ease the process of either starting up or expanding their online and delivery operations.
The unpredictability of the current situation leaves every restaurant unable to make long-term business decisions. During these moments, cloud technology offers adaptability and flexibility like no other solution.
Software as a Service (SaaS), one of the main components of cloud-based technology, is a popular choice among F&B businesses. Aside from allowing you to manage your restaurant from anywhere — be it on-site or at home — it also gives you powerful LIVE insights into your operations. If you have an extensive menu, it’s unlikely that you can offer everything for delivery. Analyzing reports such as top-selling items and top-grossing items can help you decide on which items to include in your delivery menu
Cloud technology facilitates multiple areas, such as back-office accounting, through the use of integrations. Xero is integrated with many top point of sale (POS) and restaurant management systems, which means that you can automatically sync your daily sales data from these systems to Xero. By having quick access to your sales data and reports, you can assess your restaurant’s performance and decide on which direction the business should go, what operational expenses can be avoided, and what areas can be optimized.
While some customers may still call your restaurant to place their orders directly, it’s no secret that online ordering — either through web or mobile — is the preferred method. Online ordering comes in two options: through a food ordering platform (also known as an aggregator) or your restaurant’s own online channel.
From novelty to commodity, food ordering platforms have encouraged millions of users worldwide to easily order from their favourite restaurants in a few taps or clicks. While the boost in delivery orders is a welcome sight, a considerable volume can lead to employees painstakingly updating orders to the POS manually. The hassle of manual punching (which can lead to human errors) is easily avoidable by adopting one simple but powerful tool: integration. By integrating online delivery platforms to your POS, you can receive and process all orders — in-house or third-party — from one powerful platform.
Another way to receive online orders — and to have better control over the delivery experience and quality — is to set up your own online ordering channel. This may sound like a high-effort proposal but many restaurant management systems offer a convenient method that easily integrates your existing menu (and POS system) to your restaurant’s domain, letting you make changes to your online site in real-time while processing delivery orders straight from your POS.
Home Delivery & Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
For some, the uptick of delivery orders may be something their business is already accustomed to. For others, the shift may feel like entering uncharted territory. In this fast-paced environment, restaurant technology offers out-of-the-box solutions to help you seamlessly — and quickly — switch to delivery. Two such solutions that go hand-in-hand are Home Delivery Management and CRM.
Home Delivery Management gives you LIVE insights on delivery orders as they happen. With kitchen-to-doorstep management, you gain visibility into preparation, pick up, and delivery time. Aside from orders, other aspects of your delivery operations can be optimized. Top delivery solutions offer a supplemental mobile application for restaurant drivers to help with deliveries. With the app, your drivers can see which order to deliver next and to which location.
As with any delivery, orders should go from placement to doorstep within a predefined time frame. While the number of deliveries increases, it should not come at the expense of service quality. Having a functional CRM ensures this since it contains extensive information about customers, such as past orders, history, and addresses. Information from delivery customers — which are typically more comprehensive than their in-house counterparts — can be used to boost customer engagement and, ultimately, customer retention.
If you integrate your phone system to your CRM, you can have the caller’s profile pop up on your screen before picking up the phone, allowing you to address the caller by name. Data such as order history can be used to offer personalized promos and discounts, either during birthdays or for regularly-ordered menu items.
The rapid shift away from in-person dining left many business owners unprepared, and in such uncertain times, another unexpected shift may occur. However the situation may turn, and however long it lasts, you can be assured that the cloud technology built to help your business adapt — to all situations — will continue to do its part.