Even the smallest little eatery serving the smallest local area can benefit from having a professional website. But you didn’t get into the restaurant business because you love technology—you’re in it for the food!
We get it. That’s one of the reasons we built aBitNow. We want you to have a super slick, easy-to-use web presence that will make mouths water. And once their mouths are watering, we want those online visitors to turn into real-life visitors.
No matter how good the word of mouth is about your restaurant, we bet you’d still appreciate more business. But other than through word of mouth, where can you find more customers?
On the internet, of course!
Even the smallest little eatery serving the smallest local area can benefit from having a professional website. But you didn’t get into the restaurant business because you love technology—you’re in it for the food!
We get it. That’s one of the reasons we built aBitNow. We want you to have a super slick, easy-to-use web presence that will make mouths water. And once their mouths are watering, we want those online visitors to turn into real-life visitors.
Enjoy an Amazing Website with aBitNow
The way it works combines the best of everything phone apps and websites have to offer restaurant patrons these days—flexibility, efficiency, and convenience. But we go a bit further in a few very important ways.
aBitNow Benefit #1 – You Have Total Control and Making Changes Is Easy
First, we give you total control over your menu and we make it VERY easy for you to make changes any time you want. If you want to run a special, or offer a buy-one-get-one deal, or take something off the menu temporarily, or add a menu item for a holiday or a season (or make pretty much any other change to what customers see), it’s surprisingly easy for even a self-professed “non-techie” to do!
aBitNow Benefit #2 – Your Dishes Look Delish
Second, we don’t just give you an online ordering platform. We give you a beautiful website designed to showcase your dishes the way they deserve to be showcased—with enticing photos and dish details. Your online presence will be more like a high-end website than like a one-size-fits-all mass-produced food delivery platform.
aBitNow Benefit #3 – Your Customers Can Order and Pay Online…and Dine In
Third, your customers will be invited to order online, but not just for delivery or take-out. They can peruse the menu options at their leisure, place an order with all the specifics that would be asked by your best server, and then choose a time to come in and eat. You can plan ahead, and they can skip the wait time when they arrive!
There are several additional ways aBitNow is superior to those other online ordering apps, but this list is a good start.
Tips for Building Your Own Restaurant Website
We think the aBitNow solution is the best—and it’s certainly economical. But if you’re the stubborn type who wants to go it alone and build your own website, here are a few tips we recommend to help you get the biggest and best bang for your buck.
DIY Tip #1 – Make sure your site is mobile responsive.
This is huge, and it can’t be overlooked. What looks good on your computer won’t necessarily look good on a smartphone, and vice versa. What’s more, search engines are notorious for penalizing websites in search results if they aren’t mobile-friendly. According to one online marketing company, more than half of all menu views online are done with a mobile device–35% of views are on a mobile phone and 19% are on a tablet. Making sure your online visitor has a good mobile viewing experience is an essential first step to turning them into a real-life guest.
DIY Tip #2 – Build your menu using HTML.
In other words, don’t just upload a PDF version of your menu or share photos of your menu. You want the words that name and describe your food to be searchable. You want Google, Bing, and other search engines to read your web pages and send YOU as a result to people looking for what you offer. When you scan a menu or take a picture, search engines can’t read the words, and that means you’ll get fewer hits.
DIY Tip #3 – Photos, photos, photos!
Even the most detailed description of your signature dish probably won’t elicit the same physical response (literally!) as a full-color photo that highlights what makes your food special. Fresh produce, juicy burgers, golden brown crusts, and oozy melty cheese are nice to hear about, but when we SEE them? Oh boy…we immediately salivate when we look at a plate of food that calls out to what our taste buds are craving! So don’t skimp on the photos, and don’t rely on your smartphone camera. Hire a good food photographer—or at least do a lot of research about lighting and angles. If your food doesn’t look perfect and irresistible online, you just might lose a new customer.
DIY Tip #4 – Give your customer a smooth online user experience.
We all know how frustrating it can be trying to complete an online transaction only to get stuck in an loop, or search endlessly for a price, or not be able to go back or hit the “submit” button. If you’re building your own website, you have a LOT of details to keep in mind to ensure your visitor completes their order and doesn’t bail out because of frustration or lag time. If you’re not 100% sure the platform you’re using is going to provide a seamless and efficient user experience, it’s probably not worth even going down the road to offer online ordering. You’re better off providing your phone number than sending a would-be customer through a technical maze.
If you’re ready to take your restaurant to the next level, online ordering is the next step. But don’t rely on the big guys who work at volume, sending anonymous drivers to pick up your food and deliver it. Maintain control and use the aBitNow platform to build a website that’s worthy of the food you so lovingly make for your customers! We’ll build your website the way you build your signature dish—perfectly.
If you’re a busy professional on the go, eating right often takes a backseat to meeting the demands of your day. Maybe you skip meals completely. Or you grab processed and pre-packaged foods. Once in a while you run out for fast food, and at least it gets you away from work for a bit, but it’s not exactly health food.
You probably also don’t give much thought to how important it is to take a mental break from the demands of your day. How many times in the past month did you eat lunch while sitting at your desk? How many times did you eat in your car? Sitting down for 20 minutes, away from work, with a good meal, in a relaxing atmosphere. . .well, this is kind of lunch break that’s good for the stomach AND the soul.
Don’t think you’re alone if you’ve been neglecting yourself when it comes to your midday nutrition. One study of working professionals revealed some not-so-surprising statistics and underscored just how many of us suffer a huge disconnect between what want for ourselves versus what we feel like we can squeeze in during a busy day. According to the study, 80% say regular meals are important to them. That’s great, because eating regularly throughout the day is smart, and it’s good for the body and the brain. But in practice, 35% say it’s hard to find time to sit down and eat a meal and 55% admit they tend to “eat on the run.” When you consider that fully half of them say they’re too rushed in the morning to eat a healthy breakfast, it’s easy to wonder when they’re able to get any meaningful nutrition into their bodies.
And then consider this alarming statistic shared by the CDC: on any given day in the United States, 40% of us have fast food for lunch, and 40% of us have fast food for dinner!
Obviously, Americans are pressed for time. We grab food to go, we eat on the go, and sometimes we even go without. But what are losing by failing to feed our machines properly?
We know that poor nutrition leads is the precursor to countless health problems in the long run. But in the short run, it’s a problem too: difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, lower productivity, irritability, disrupted sleep. . .the list goes on and on.
If time is the biggest factor holding you back from refueling your body properly, then you need to do some self-assessment and create a plan for getting more out of mealtimes.
One thing that you may never have considered is that there are probably lots of independent restaurants in your area with healthy options. Maybe you haven’t even noticed them, or maybe you think it’s too much of a hassle to go there during the lunch rush. They probably aren’t included in that phone app you’ve been using for meal delivery either (if you wonder why, ask them about the outrageous fees restaurants have to pay. . .it’s a wonder they make any profit at all when they use those services).
But supporting a small local business and letting them give you a healthy meal and a break from the office is a total win-win. One way to make sure you can get in and out with a minimum amount of wait time is order from them using aBitNow. You can then pick up your food at whatever time you specify you want it to be ready, or they’ll have it ready for you when you arrive—you don’t have to wait in line when you’ve pre-ordered your meal. You go right to a table, enjoy your lunch, and pay with the app (you can even prepay for more time savings).
Treat yourself to a healthy lunch away from the office once a week. Even if you work from a home office—in fact, maybe especially if you do—that occasional midday break where someone else serves you can be a real boost to your mood, your productivity, and your health.
Sign up for aBitNow and be entered to win a $250 gift card to use at any restaurant of your choice!
That’s a lot of healthy, fresh meals that you don’t have to prepare!
Business as usual used to mean that the day-to-day operations were unaffected by outside factors, and that all was well.
Maybe in the past, but not now.
In the “New Normal” situation that exists today and for the foreseeable future, you want to be anything but usual.
The “New Normal” is defined by the many challenges put before the business owner:
- Distancing and Limited Capacities – Businesses are forced to rethink and redesign how they serve their customers. Restaurants are removing tables, adding dividers, making efficient use of outdoor space, and in some cases limiting how much time a party can sit at a table. Retail stores are creating one-way thoroughfares and placing 6-foot markers at checkout lines.
- Emphasis on Take-out and Delivery – Many establishments are shifting towards takeout and delivery. Some restaurants have become pickup or delivery only. Other restaurants have created pickup stations for Grubhub and the like. Retail stores and even service providers have facilitated contactless pickup and delivery.
- Health and Safety Guidelines – The CDC has mandated that workers wear masks when interfacing with the public, wash hands regularly, and use a number of other safety measures that cost money and take time. Businesses have to make logistical and structural changes to comply and to make potential customers feel and be safe.
At jIT Solutions, an innovation company, we have developed a very UnUsual approach that enables businesses to significantly increase their potential for profit and thrive during a time of change and new challenges.
In a nutshell, our aBitNow platform and patent-pending processes increase your throughput, decrease your overhead, bring in more customers and promote your brand, products and services regardless of whether you offer takeout, delivery, or dine-in.
For example, restaurant margins are very tight. Typically, profit in a restaurant is around 3% or monthly profit is equal to one day’s revenues. They need to maintain their old-normal throughput in order to stay profitable.
So, the question for you as a business owner is this:
How can I increase revenue in the new normal?
A customer books a reservation and orders their food ahead of time. The restaurant receives the order and starts to process it prior to the customer’s arrival. The customer shows up, is seated at their table, and almost immediately their drinks and appetizers are brought to them– no wait. After a short period of time, their pre-ordered and freshly made meals are served, and they enjoy their dining experience, focused on the food instead of the wait. Perhaps the customer has even paid ahead of time, so when they are done, they can leave without waiting for a server to bring the bill and process their payment. The customer leaves satisfied with the experience and the restaurant is able to serve a new customer at that table right away. It’s a win for the business, the employees, and the customers!Our innovative solutions are designed to help businesses like yours achieve several valuable benefits like the ones enjoyed by the restaurant in the example above. You’ll get:
- Increased Exposure – You’ll have a fully customizable website where you can feature all your menu items, products, and services, giving you a major advantage over small businesses who think it’s good enough to post screen shots of their entire menus or product catalogs. Your items will look appealing, be easy to read, and be easy to order.
- Online Ordering – Customers can order online, and they’ll want to! They can see all their options and make all their choices at their leisure (no asking the server to repeat the salad dressing choices). They can specify substitutions to meet dietary needs, and even save preferences in their account.
- Increased Seating Turnover – Customers can order their drinks, appetizers and meals ahead of time, eliminating the time it takes to order and serve. If they pay when they order, the don’t even have to wait for the bill or for their payment to be processed. When they’re done eating, they leave, and you serve a new customer at that table.
- Increased Customer Satisfaction – When customers spend more time enjoying their meal and less time waiting, they have a truly enhanced dining experience, which means they’ll more likely be return and more likely to talk you up with their friends.
- Business Self-Service Portal – You’ll have total control of the platform so you can quickly and easily make changes to what the customer sees: add specials and sale items in a timely manner, change your hours, publicize special events, etc.
- Payment Platform – Full integration with Stripe for seamless credit card payments.
- Kitchen Management – Orders can be managed by the kitchen using a streamlined Heads-Up-Display, helping to eliminate errors, wait time, and frustration for your staff and the customer.
- Increase Staff Satisfaction – Your staff will love serving customers who have a great experience, who get in and get out, and are happy to tip to say thank you. And because of increased seating turnover, they’ll serve more guests—more happy and satisfied customers!
In this “New Normal” business environment, traditional approaches and common practices just aren’t good enough. They certainly won’t help you grow. While your competitors may struggle in the current business climate, seeing everything as a challenge while trying to make their old “Business as Usual” approaches work, YOU can leverage new opportunities…not simply to survive, but to thrive. . .through an innovative approach to business made possible by jIT Solutions and aBitNow.
To learn more about how your company can be more empowered and enjoy new growth with jIT Solutions and the aBitNow platform and patent-pending processes, schedule a call with us today – 774-469-2248
If you love dining out, but you’re now more safety conscious than before, you might feel like you’re in a hopeless situation. You know you can use one of those popular apps to order food and pick it up or have it delivered, but you’re sick of eating restaurant food in your own living room! Wouldn’t it be nice to sit at a table in a relaxed atmosphere, be waited on by friendly servers, and not have to do any clean up afterward? You miss all of that…but how can you go back to restaurants when you’re still worried about contagious germs and viruses that might be here to stay?
The answer is simple: contactless dining made possible with innovative (but simple!) technology.
What Is Contactless Dining?
A contactless dining experience is made possible by restaurants using innovative technology. You use your personal smart phone device to do everything (except eat!), minimizing or eliminating the contact you make with other people and shared items like menus and card swipers.
With contactless dining, an app on your smart phone or computer takes the place of touching items that used to be unavoidable when dining in. New apps make it possible to have a no-touch experience at your favorite restaurant. That’s right—you really can enjoy an in-person dining experience that’s virtually as touch-free as app-based meal delivery and pick-up!
No More Sticky Menus
Instead of ordering from a menu given to you by a server that’s been handled by countless unknown customers, you view the restaurant menu online in a browser or app. You might place your order ahead of time from home or the office or while on the go, or after being seated at the table by the host or hostess. You’ll use your tablet or smart phone in the restaurant, or even your laptop or desktop computer if you pre-order.
The ideal online ordering app will let you browse menu items, look at photos, read detailed descriptions, and view prices. You’ll be able to customize your order and make special requests in exactly the same way you would if you were telling your order to a server. If you’re ordering for multiple people at once, a great app will let you assign names to each dish so when you arrive at the restaurant, your server can call you each by name and make sure you get the right order with all the personal requests. (“I’ve got a cheeseburger, medium rare with extra onions for Jack, and a BLT with mayo on the side for Jill…here you go!”)
The best ordering app will also let you select your table ahead of time–for example, a table indoors or one on the patio–as well as specify any special accommodations needed, such as a highchair or booster seat, or room for a wheelchair.
An app that facilitates a superior contactless experience should also let you tell the restaurant what time you’ll be arriving. That way, when you get there, you don’t have to stand around in a crowded waiting area with other guests–you’ll be seated right away at the table that’s already been set up for you. You won’t wait long for your meal either because the moment you place your order it will go straight to the kitchen, and they’ll know exactly when to start preparing it to have it ready when you arrive. Overall, enjoying an ideal contactless dining experience means spending more time eating and less time waiting around, minimizing your exposure to others seated nearby.
Contactless Payment Means Even Fewer Touchpoints
Contactless dining eliminates several other touchpoints by allowing you to pay and tip right inside the app. You won’t have to handle cash, or hand over your card to a server or cashier. You won’t have to touch a card swiper or enter your pin on a keypad used by everyone else. You won’t have to touch the receipt brought to you by the server and then use a shared pen to sign it. You won’t have to touch anything at all to settle your bill.
Instead, you’ll pay using your own phone and leave when you’re done. In fact, with the best app, you can even pre-pay when you order so the only thing left to do after you eat is tip—using the app, of course! Not only will you minimize contact with items touched by other people, but you’ll also minimize the time you spend in close proximity to other guests. When you’re finished with your meal, you can leave when you’re ready. For those worried about exposure, this is a double benefit.
With a contactless dining experience, you get to enjoy all the fun and perks of eating out and still feel comfortable knowing you’re minimizing your exposure.
How to Enjoy Contactless Dining at Your Favorite Restaurants
There are a few online ordering apps out there, but it seems like they’re focused on what makes it easy for the restaurant instead of what makes it easy for YOU—the customer. The ideal app keeps both the business AND the guest in mind, and at aBitNow, we pride ourselves on having created a solution that does just that.
So If you miss eating out at your favorite restaurants and would love to return as soon as they can provide a contactless dining experience, tell them about aBitNow. In the meantime, go to our registration page and register as a new aBitNow user, and nominate some of your favorite eateries to join aBitNow today. You can win $250 just for registering!
It’s happening everywhere: customers are coming back but employees aren’t.
While some types of businesses can get by with fewer staff, the restaurant business isn’t one of them. There are several factors creating and contributing to the staff shortage, and most of them are out of your control.
So what IS within your control when it comes to attracting and hiring the best staff?
We hate to say it, but if you want to keep your restaurant fully staffed with great employees, it’s critical to understand that right now you’re competing with a LOT of other places for a VERY small pool of talented and experienced people. You must set yourself apart from the other restaurants vying for these few good employees or you risk taking a major blow to your business. And don’t think simply offering a higher hourly wage will do the trick—even if you can afford to pay them more, that’s just not going to be enough to secure the best talent.
Competent, skilled, experienced workers who WANT to go back to work have their choice of employers, and they don’t have to settle for the first offer.
In this “employee’s market,” ask yourself: what do they want?
- Servers and bartenders want better tips, happier customers, faster turnover, less stress, accurate orders from the kitchen, and bars that are organized and fully stocked.
- Cooks and expediters want clear orders, easy view of orders, fewer customer complaints, less stress, and to be able to focus on the food.
And what do YOU want?
- Happy, productive, motivated employees who stick around!
Getting the right people on your team is the most important thing you can do to help you get the other things you want: more revenue, faster table turnover, less food waste, and real-time numbers and excellent reporting.
Believe it or not, there’s an app for all that!
aBitNow is easy to use and quick to implement–and makes it possible to give employees what they want. Imagine being able to tell a prospective employee honestly that your restaurant uses a system built specifically to make their job easier and help them make more money.
As an aBitNow restaurant, you offer a workplace that’s less stressful, a system that’s more efficient, a loyal base of pleasant customers, and the potential to earn way more tips than they’re used to (without working any harder).
When you interview a prospective server or bartender, tell them:
- You’ll easily provide better service, and that means happier customers and better tips! Some of your customers will order and pay ahead of time. Accurate orders come straight from the customer and go right to the kitchen, so you don’t have to worry about being blamed for mistakes. You won’t have to worry about getting stiffed on the bill, and you can spend a little more time with your customers instead of running back and forth to the register. Plus, tips are added by default unless the customer chooses to change it…but with the great food and service they receive, they’re likely to give you more than the default!
- You’ll serve more customers during a single shift. But you won’t have to work harder or faster to make that happen. When customers order and pay online ahead of time, they spend much less time waiting around taking up valuable seats. You can expect to turn tables much faster and earn at least double or triple the tips you’re used to.
- You’ll build deeper relationships with your customers more quickly. From the first time an aBitNow customer walks in, you’ll probably recognize them by face from their profile photo in the app and be able to call them by name! When customers return, you’ll have notes about them from prior visits you can pull up and refer to. Imagine being able to “remember” the little details that tell customers they’re special to you: ask about their kids by name, or when they plan to return to the favorite vacation spot they mentioned last time…or recommend a dessert you know they haven’t tried yet.
When you interview prospective kitchen staff, tell them:
- You’ll easily turn tickets faster without feeling rushed. With clearly displayed real-time tracking of times for current orders (and a heads up on advanced orders), it’s never been easier to pace your work and stay on track. Plus, you’ll never feel behind because you know exactly what’s happening and can plan ahead for orders coming in the next few minutes and in the next few hours. When jIT menu items are orders, these can be prepped and served in less than 5 minutes!
- You’ll enjoy a more relaxed and supportive kitchen. With Dedicated Station Displays, you’ll see not just individual order details, but even cook tips and hints on timing. You’ll gain confidence in the menu and master dishes sooner with easy-to-follow tips unique to the process at your station (fry, grill broiler, sauté, salad, sandwich, dessert, etc.).
- You’ll manage inventory with less stress. With real time stock counts at your fingertips, if you run out of an item, you can communicate that to your servers right away, eliminating frustration for you, front of house staff, and customers.
You’ll be the clear employer of choice in a tight labor market when you offer employees a workplace with less stress and better income opportunity.
And with aBitNow, you can make good on these promises you make during the interview, and that means you’ll have less employee turnover and you’ll spend less time advertising, interviewing, and training new staff. Your team will bond faster and will work like a well-oiled machine, and that’s good for everyone!
Attracting and Keeping Great Workers Is Just One of the aBitNow Benefits for Managers
Yes, aBitNow can help you attract and keep the best employees. But it can do so much for you and your restaurant. Here are some of the additional aBitNow benefits for hard-working managers:
- Realize more revenue with faster table turnover and shorter customer wait times
- Minimize food waste with better inventory management and pre-paid “to go” orders that are always picked up
- See the whole picture with real-time stats, end-of-shift reports, and other robust reporting
- Keep the best employees longer with smooth systems and better tips
- Enjoy more satisfied and loyal guests who order and pay online, then get in and get out quickly
- Cut down on wasted time by employees taking phone orders and dealing with restless customers enduring long wait times
When you build a great team, massive success is within reach. You just need that competitive edge when it comes to attracting and hiring the very best people out there, and aBitNow can give you that edge. We invite you to schedule a demo with one of our knowledgeable consultants so we can show you exactly how this innovative platform will make you and your restaurant the Employer of Choice.
Schedule a demo now by calling 508-947-1478 or register for a demo online
The 2020 pandemic brought new challenges to restaurant, hospitality, and retail businesses, but Florida is bouncing back! The challenges aren’t gone, but they’re being faced with commitment, resourcefulness, and innovation…so things are moving in the right direction, and they’re moving quickly!
Customers Are Coming Back
In places like Panama City Beach (PCB), where the visitor and tourism industry are key, savvy businesses employ every solution possible to take advantage of the influx of customers that come to attend events, enjoy the beaches, and soak in everything the area has to offer.
Customers are coming back in droves, excited to be out and about, and happy to do their part to support small biz. Walking around PCB on a Saturday night, you’d never know things had ever slowed down. Crowds of both tourists and locals wait in long lines outside some of the most popular bars and restaurants.
Staffing Is a Challenge for the Hospitality Industry
So, while business is booming, according to some reports, it’s been difficult for some businesses to find people to fill open positions, and that means some restaurants are operating at less than 100% capacity—not because of a lack of customers, but because of a lack of adequate staff to serve them. Some folks receiving stimulus money and unemployment benefits are choosing not to return to their previous jobs or even to pursue any work at all.
Robots to the Rescue?
One restaurant in Hollywood, FL, frustrated by the lack of staff but unwilling to turn away customers, went super high-tech and brought in three robots that take customers to open tables. It sounds pretty cool, and customers might enjoy the novelty of following a robot to an open seat, instead of a human host or hostess…but is it enough to make up for a serious shortage of servers?
What can you do if your restaurant has plenty of customers but not enough staff to serve them?
Do you keep tables out of the rotation?
Do you make people tolerate longer wait times and hope they’ll be patient?
Do you cut the hours you’re open?
Do you hire expensive robot hosts?
Technology Is Bridging the Staffing Gap
One innovative technology platform is providing a solution to the staffing shortage problem. The aBitNow platform from jIT Solutions has a surprisingly simple yet powerful way to address the challenge of serving more customers with fewer staff members (and it’s cheaper than a robot!).
With aBitNow, you showcase your entire menu online and give customers an easy way to place their order and pay for it—before they even arrive. Customers then specify what time they want to either pick up their food or come in to dine at your restaurant.
Slash Customer Wait Time and Turn More Tables
When the customer arrives, they pick up and go, or they are seated at a table you’ve designated for aBitNow customers. These folks ONLY use the table while they’re eating, and then they’re gone. When you consider that typically only about 30% of a customer’s time during a restaurant visit is spent eating, and the other 70% is spent waiting, it makes perfect sense to get the customer in and out as quickly as possible. If you can turn even SOME of your tables 70% faster, what kind of impact would that have on your bottom line?
More Positive Interactions Make Happier Customers and Happier Staff
If you worry that turning tables so quickly might not provide enough of a personal touch and friendly interaction between your staff and aBitNow customers, don’t be. When customers place their order, they can include their name and photo, so your hosts and servers can greet them the very first time as if they’re loyal regulars. You bring them their drinks right away, and tell them how many minutes they’ll wait for their food. The personal interaction between your well-trained staff and the hungry customer is efficient and positive. The only thing that’s gone is all that time a customer usually spends waiting…to be seated, to order drinks, to get a menu, to get their food, to get the check, and to get their credit card slip to sign.
When you cut the wait time, you increase the percentage of time a customer spends ENJOYING the dining experience, and while that means fewer touches by your staff, it means more of those touches are positive. Happier customers pay bigger tips, and bigger tips make happier staff. It’s a win-win all the way around.
Tech That’s Easy to Use
Reluctant to add yet another technology component to your business? That’s understandable! The great news is that aBitNow is NOT another clunky tech system for you to manage. It’s a streamlined platform that’s easy to learn and easy to use on a simple tablet. Or, implement aBitNow as part of an all-in-one solution, where once an order is placed, there is seamless integration with point-of-sale, kitchen tickets, and server interface. You don’t have learn multiple systems or stress about compatibility, and you don’t have to add yet another tech cost to your monthly expenses. The whole system is easy to learn, easy to implement, cost-effective, and designed specifically to save you time, money, and headaches.
Technology is helping restaurants, retail, hospitality, and events meet customer demand with fewer staff. Robots is one way to go. But we recommend you check out aBitNow and find out what it can do for you.
Sign your restaurant up today and get our platform FREE for 30 days!
If you run a successful restaurant, chances are you have a loyal base of customers who return often and tell others to give you a try. While it’s nice to see familiar faces, it’s more than just good feelings that come with repeat business: it’s the foundation for reliable revenue.
On average, repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers do, and the longer they’re with you, the more valuable they are. In fact, according to Bain & Company, the average repeat customer will spend 67% more in months 31-36 with your business than they did in months 0-6.
One surefire way to grow a loyal customer base is to focus on consistency, and in few industries is consistency more important than it is in hospitality and restaurants.
The human brain may be wired to seek out novelty, but when a customer returns to your restaurant because of a previous good experience, they’re not looking for novelty. They’re looking to repeat the pleasure they had last time, and they expect to have an experience that is at least as satisfying as it was before. They have expectations, and if you meet those expectations, you could create a customer for life. If you fail to meet expectations, you’ll likely lose the customer. . .and you risk having them talk others out of giving you a try.
Let’s look at four areas where consistency can make or break customer loyalty: food, staff, cleanliness, and wait times.
People like knowing that if they had a great dish last time they visited, they’ll have the same experience if they order it next time.
We all know the disappointment of looking forward to enjoying a particular meal we remember being awesome, and then having it show up undercooked or overcooked, seasoned differently, or with a different side dish or substituted ingredients. . .it’s such a letdown.
If they feel let down, some customers will chalk it up to a bad day, and they’ll come back to give you another chance. But many customers operate on a “one strike and you’re out” rule, never to return.
Whether you’re serving casual sandwiches or high-end French cuisine, it’s essential that your kitchen team know how to put out a perfect dish every time—even during the meal rush. Recipes need to be documented and followed, food should be tasted, and quality control has to happen at every point in the process.
Keep in mind, if your customer had a good meal last time, they expect a good meal next time. If they had an excellent meal last time, they expect an excellent meal next time. So whatever your standards are, hold your line and never let them slip.
Part of what make a dining experience enjoyable is the interaction with your employees. Even if they’re ordering at a window or from a food truck, customers expect an efficient and friendly exchange. And if the service was good and the employees were pleasant during their last visit, customers expect the same level of interaction on their next visit.
Customer service is demanding, but no matter how rough their day, your servers need to provide excellent and friendly service. When customers sit down and dine in, they definitely want to feel like they’re the most important customer of the day.
Your waitstaff take the brunt of every customer complaint, so do everything you can to keep things running smoothly from the back to the front of the house. Equip them with the tools they need to take orders quickly and get accurate information to the kitchen. Streamline every process possible to minimize mistakes.
Some customers are germaphobes and others are quite the opposite, so you can’t make everyone happy. But repeat customers have an idea of what to expect when they visit your restaurant, and it’s important you meet those expectations. A sticky table, lipstick on a glass, dirty silverware. . .any deviation from what customers expect can drive even a loyal patron away to the competition. Whatever your minimum cleanliness standards are, make sure your entire staff is well aware of those standards and put systems in place to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
When you’re being slammed by a meal rush, sometimes it’s cleaning that gets skipped. Having a way to deal with a massive influx of customers can help you avoid being caught off guard and accidentally seating someone at a table before it’s been cleared (a big no no!). Making customers wait longer to be seated than they’re used to can be a major turn-off as well, so make sure your cleaning protocols are clearly communicated and easily executed.
EXPECTATION: WAIT TIME
Do your customers expect to quickly get in, get fed, and get on their way? Or do they plan to spend hours in your establishment, enjoying a leisurely meal? If they have to wait for a table, do they expect to stand outside, or can they relax in the bar until a table is available?
Whatever expectations you’ve created for your guest in terms of wait times, you need to be consistent. If customers usually come for a leisurely meal, you can’t suddenly rush them out. If they expect to get in and out in a specific period of time (because they’ve had that experience in the past), you can’t surprise them with long wait times. They may have scheduled you as part of a day or evening with other events, and if they’re repeat customers, they have an idea of how much time they expect to spend at your business, and it’s important you do your best to meet those expectations.
As you know, one way many restaurants give their guests a way to manage their wait time expectations is by allowing them to make reservations. Reservations used to be just for the “fancy” places and on busy nights, but having some sort of similar system might be just what you need to keep your guests happy and to keep tables turning at an efficient rate.
One way you can give your restaurant and your patrons all the benefits of a reservation system is by using aBitNow. Rather than calling ahead to make a reservation or calling to place a “to go” order, customers who use aBitNow can place their order online. The time savings for your staff is obvious, as no one needs to answer the phone, take down the name and phone number for dine-in guests, or write down an order being picked up. Because the customer places the order online, accuracy is almost 100% assured! Plus, the customer can specify the time they either want to pick up the food or dine at a table at your restaurant. Smart aBitNow restaurants even set aside a certain number of “jIT” tables (just in time tables) that are designated for guests who ordered online and want to spend time there eating instead of waiting.
Want to give aBitNow a try? Register your restaurant and you’ll receive your first 30 days FREE, with absolutely no commitment! Visit https://admin.abitnow.com/register/HomeSite to sign up today.
The food delivery service space is booming, and has been for years. The unprecedented events of 2020 didn’t create the demand for more frequent and varied delivery, but they certainly ramped things up. Frost & Sullivan estimated gross revenue in 2018 to be around $82 billion, with the industry poised to hit $200 billion in 2025. That’s a lot of lasagna!
But as people continue to get busier, and technology gets smarter and faster, more of our cravings can be met, and it doesn’t stop with food.
The big names in the delivery space have recently started making it possible to have everything from groceries and alcohol to clothing and electronics brought right to our doorsteps by a person who does the shopping for us. We’re getting spoiled!
So if you want someone to do your shopping for you and bring your items or your meal right to you, you have more than a few options. We will leave it to you to research the online reviews and see if it’s worth taking the risk of paying upfront and then dealing with customer service if things aren’t quite right. Not only are the customer service teams usually overseas, but they’re not exactly known for embracing the “customer is always right” philosophy. Plus, when a store or restaurant contracts with an outside company that then contracts with countless independent contractors, you’ve got a mess on your hands. If you’ve ever opened your package to find the food is cold or an item is missing (or worse, your meal never even arrives!), and called to get satisfaction, you know first-hand how often each party passes the buck to someone else. The driver blames the technology, the restaurant blames the delivery company, the delivery company blames you, and so on. If you’re lucky, you get a coupon for your next order, but more often than not, you’re left feeling frustrated…and hungry!
We recommend you try using aBitNow next time. It’s easier to use than the other apps, the fees are lower, and you’re dealing directly with the restaurant or store—every time.
A decade ago, if we didn’t feel like cooking dinner, we had a few options–pizza or Chinese food were the mainstays, if we were lucky, some of our favorite local joints offered delivery within a few miles. And if we didn’t mind making the drive, we could call in an order and then hop in the car, pick it up from the restaurant, and bring it home.
Plus, you know how you sometimes watch your app to see that the driver is 5 minutes away, and then 12 minutes away, and sometimes they don’t even show up? That doesn’t happen with aBitNow because you get notified at every step of the fulfillment of your order: when the restaurant receives it, when it’s in the kitchen being prepared, when it’s ready to be picked up, and when it’s on it’s way. Never wonder again when your food is coming!
But here’s something really special: you can actually order your food online, and then go to the restaurant and eat it there—at the time you tell them you want it ready! You get all the convenience of online ordering, no wait time at the restaurant, and everything’s prepared for when you get there. You can even pay using the app or pay the restaurant after you eat—whatever works best for you.
And if it’s place you frequent, you can even save preferences in your account so your food is the way you want it, every time.
Is your favorite restaurant using aBitNow? Click here to check, and if they aren’t, nominate them! Sign up today and you could win a $250 gift card!
Technically Speaking With jIT Solutions
Dan Stolts, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of jIT (Just in Time) Solutions (jITSolutionsIT.com), likes to stay behind the scenes for the most part. Dan comes from the technical side and started out as a program engineer. “More of a Bill Gates than a Steve Ballmer kind of guy,” he says, referring to Gates running the technology side and Ballmer running the business.
jIT Solutions, based in Lakeville, Massachusetts, is an innovation company that launched in 1995 and later became incorporated under Bay State Integrated Technology in 2002. A veteran-owned business, Dan served in the U.S. Army for four years, from 1987 to 1991. “I went into military because I wanted to serve my country,” he shares. The experience helped him narrow his focus and his thought process: Creating solutions and applying technology to the challenges businesses face.
“We take a different approach with how we do things,” says Dan. “We understand the challenges of the business and take a holistic approach to creating whatever solutions are needed. Xerox (his past client) needed to get their products out faster, as well as improve employee morale. We showed them how they could use innovation to save time and money while drastically improving employee morale.”
Throughout his career Dan has written in-depth certification books on architecting Microsoft Azure solutions, Cloud migrations, and Security. For the first 25 years of his life, he used his gifts for creating technical solutions for other people, as a consultant, trading dollars for hours. “Three years ago, I realized we needed to do this to scale. Instead of focusing on one problem, we needed to think about problems for the entire industry.”
jIT Solutions, says Dan, is not a products company, it is an innovation company. Enter one of his newest innovations, a time management POS system called aBitNow (aBitNow.com) which has been in development a little over a year and a half. “We’re rolling it out now,” he says. Consider this scenario. A customer goes into a busy, crowded restaurant to have a meal with their dining companion. The hostess lets them know there is a 20-minute wait. In 20 minutes, they are ushered to their table where they wait for the server to greet them. They place drink orders and wait for the drinks. They then place their meal order and then wait for the meal. They then wait for their check, wait for their server to come pick up the credit card, and then wait for their receipt to come back.
“Our technology saves people and businesses time, energy, money and aggravation,” says Dan. With aBitNow technology, customers will view a dynamic menu on their own device (a smart phone, iPad or PC), pre-order their meal, and pre-pay. Once they arrive at the restaurant the hostess gets them seated without waiting in line – the rest of the dining experience flows. This cuts out all the wait for the customer and makes it possible for them to enjoy a nice, sit-down meal even if they have a finite amount of time – like a lunch break. On the restaurant side, the server can take on many more tables because of all the time they are saving.
“Whenever we optimize, we optimate everything around that entire business,” explains Dan. “We think through the whole process. Restaurants and other businesses need dynamic menus and need to be able to change the menu on the fly. Restaurants are being slammed now with large POS fees – sometimes 30% or more. With our product, they’ll only pay a max of 1% for all of our tech and innovation. Restaurants deal with food theft and need to know if a consumer is in good standing or not. We will have the ability to let the server or bartender rate the customer and put notes on the customer so they can develop relationships. This program provides a massive improvement in customer service.”
Another component is JiT Meals, a program for the restaurant’s kitchen staff whereby pre-cooked meals are cooked in advance. “This can be anything,” says Dan. “Baked catfish, shrimp scampi, spaghetti and meatballs. We have all these recipes that the restaurant can adopt and have high quality meals out in two minutes.”
Dan is passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge – it’s what drives him. “It’s about taking something I’ve been doing my whole life that helps other people, and share” he says, explaining that he developed this thought process from his mother. “I’ve been gifted with being technical-savvy and the ability to innovate and think outside the box,” he says. “I want to use this to help make the world a better place.”