What automation means – and how we (and you) should be thinking about it.

As seen in: https://www.foodabletv.com/blog/2017/what-does-automation-really-mean-for-our-industry 

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In the drive for speedier service, automation has been hailed as the next wave for restaurants to operate efficiently. However it’s not always as clear cut as you think. When we hear that restaurants want kiosks to speed up service, we think: yes! and you also have a great opportunity to give your guests a memorable experience at the same time. With self-ordering kiosks and self service, the metric shouldn’t be about the stopwatch hanging over the kitchen. Instead we at Bite like to think about these metrics instead: guest satisfaction and guest return rate. 

Satisfaction, not speed, drives returns.

Guest satisfaction in a traditional QSR sense does mean the timer. Guests are fickle, they want their food immediately and many balk at long lines. There’s very little we can do with guest behavior, but we can certainly solve for long lines and improving the guest experience along the way. Staffing with more cashiers was certainly an option but with limited store footprint and concentrated demand times, that may not always be a viable option. Self-ordering kiosks can offer a cost-effective way to amplify your order-taking capabilities. But without a good experience self-ordering can very quickly lead to the stale grocery store check-out experience. Our edge, is to personalize that experience – making it exciting and unique for every guest. Letting guests spend a few extra seconds – or minutes – to put together their order and really explore the menu for things other things they’re interested in will help drive another visit. Behind the scenes, our algorithm can learn what the guests like – showing them products they’re interested in, and offering tailored coupons to bring them back.

So while guests may take a little longer to place an order through kiosks, it doesn’t mean it will slow down your system. By offering multiple order points – a few kiosks and a few cashiers, you’re giving your guests more opportunities to put orders into your system, and handle that lunchtime rush. And who knows maybe they found something they’d like to come back next time to try.

 

 

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Personalization matters. Here’s why

As seen in RMagazine Apr. 11, 2017 (http://rmagazine.com/higher-profits-and-satisfaction-through-reintroducing-personalization/)

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As you walk into your neighborhood QSR, you’re greeted by name. Followed by “The usual?” The server behind the counter flashes a smile, gets your order underway and you’re out the door in record time.

Right there, the guest is given three reasons to come back again: the friendly service; the personalized experience of a remembered order and the speed and efficiency of stopping in. For the operator, they  have a satisfied, committed guest and perhaps even a brand evangelist—someone who will also spread the amazing work of what you do.

Once, this was the norm. Now it’s a dream that most operators aspire to, but think impossible to attain.

 Personalization gives your guests three reasons to come back again: Friendly service, personalized experience and efficiency.

At the heart of what enables this system to run smoothly is personalization. But if asking your staff to memorize names, faces and orders is unrealistic, what other solutions do we have?

In the age of technology, smartphones and apps, new tech can often be construed as impersonal— the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. However, there are companies out there that have developed creative solutions. Here  are a few case studies on why you should pay attention to personalization.

Higher Profits

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you’re likely to have created an account—and then Amazon starts learning what you like. Unlike most other digital stores, Amazon (at least for me) has an uncanny ability to recommend items that I would find interesting. By suggesting products I would otherwise have ordered, it drives home the upsell.

As reported in Fortune even back in 2012, personalized recommendations represented a near 30% increase in sales from one feature. However let’s be clear, this is not the same as asking “Do you want fries with that?” if your customer is buying a burger. Amazon provides a specific set of items that will appeal to the guest.

It’s akin to offering a salad to your health-conscious guest instead of offering fries, as well as  a new lemonade that they never even knew about.  Because each recommendation is relevant, their customers rarely tune out to what the personalization feature suggests. In fact the opposite is much more likely: guests increase purchases when the options shown are tailored to their tastes.

 

Better Service “IRL” too!

Personalization can exist “in real life ” too, outside the digital sphere. Take Disney’s Magic Bands for example. Disney’s Magic Bands are a type of wristband advertised as a convenience to guests vacationing at Disney Parks—they can record purchases and unlock your specific hotel room. More importantly,  they also allow Disney to provide another level of personalized service.

The hosts will greet you by name when you arrive at a restaurant, know where you’re sitting if you pre-ordered a special meal. Using the wristband can even grant you special access to rides throughout the day. With a little help from technology, Disney creates an incredible experience for users of the Magic Band while simultaneously gaining insight into their guests’ habits.

Doesn’t a mobile app solve this?

In the hospitality industry, we frequently hear the desire for a mobile app. Yet only a handful of establishments have the brand equity and capital to launch an app successfully.

In 2016, the average number of new apps downloaded, per person, was 0. Even worse, once you’ve convinced your guests to download it, 80% of users never open the app a second time.

What can we do?

We at Bite believe that personalization matters, and we’ve developed a creative solution to help you re-introduce it at your concepts. While we love the capability and the idea of mobile apps to give guests the flexibility and personalization features, there is a steep hurdle to overcome in guest adoption. Instead of developing an off-premise solution, we believed, much like Disney, there should be magic when guests step into your restaurant. It should be an experience that they can remember, and describe. To that end, we’ve developed intelligent kiosks, designed to give each and every guest a personalized experience. That not only starts with our kiosks but can also amplify your staff, freeing them up from behind the counter to actively greet and provide attentive service to your guests.

Our intelligent kiosks can detect and recognize your guests and remember their order history. With our baked-in learning algorithm, the Bite kiosks can learn their preferences, and offer them tailored recommendations and drive targeted upsell opportunities. We’ve also created a robust interface allowing operators to introduce offers to specific guests – say guests who are regulars on Wednesday only – or select a demographic to test a new LTO on.

We believe that personalization through guest recognition will enable new and memorable experiences.

To learn more about Bite visit: www.bitekiosks.com, and schedule your demo.

 

Sources:

On Apps: Recode 2016; Applause 2016

Why Digital Menus Rock for Restaurant Managers

In this instalment of Why Digital Menus Rock, we’re going to get to the bottom of why digital menus (also known as tablet menus, or iPad menus) are amazing tools for restaurant managers. Let’s get started with the biggest no-brainer of the reasons.

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Digital Menus can be updated instantly, right from your phone

Digital Menus, unlike paper, can be updated instantaneously. Yep. That’s right. If a beer kicks, you can remove it in a couple taps on your iPhone. If a new beer gets tapped, two more clicks and it’s back on every single menu in the restaurant. It’s that easy. Never disappoint a craft beer fanatic again by telling them that their favourite IPA “just ran out”.

“I love the flexibility, and updating from my phone” – Dom, Manager at Da Legna in Hew Haven, CT

This also means no more running to the printer to get new versions printed when a price changes or when the chef wants to try new specials or dishes. For some managers, this also means no more muddling in Microsoft Word or trying to find your AWOL graphic designer to get the file updated. Hours previously wasted micro-managing stupid pieces of paper are saved by going digital.

As a restaurant manager, this gives you unprecedented control over your most important communication tool. Remember: the menu is the only communication tool that 100% of your guests will see.

Digital Menus are easy to manage

As stated above, digital menus can be updated dynamically. This means you only have ONE menu to hand to guests, which includes all your specials and drinks. If you have promotions like Brunch or Happy Hour, you can even time them to appear right when the event starts. Every manager knows it’s a pain to deal with massive stacks of paper menus that get lost, dirty, and clutter the restaurant.

For how many amazing benefits they provide, digital menus are not much harder to manage than paper menus. The only extra overhead needed is to charge them. Bite menus are designed with battery life in mind – the menu battery will last a whole day, lunch through dinner service – so all you have to do is plug them in at the end of the shift. Simple.

(For those worried about spills and drops, most digital menus can be easily insured. For example, Bite offers full coverage of digital menus at a nominal fee that’s still cheaper than printing new menus every week.)

Digital Menus keep your staff happy and productive

Digital menus are a great learning tool for staff members. Photos and descriptions make items easier to remember and recall. In addition, some digital menus, like Bite’s, can be viewed online from anyone’s phone, allowing servers to study up new items before their shift so they can be more effective during service.

We’ll get into this more in a future Why Digital Menus Rock article, but digital menus can be used as a sales tool that helps servers sell more effectively. In addition to more revenue for the restaurant, it also means bigger tips for servers, which is a win-win.

To conclude, restaurant managers get a lot out of digital menus. They give managers unprecedented flexibility, are super simple to manage, and also keeps their staff happy. And as highlighted in our last post, guests love them too. And in the biz, we all know that happy guests means a successful restaurant manager!

– The Bite Team

Why Digital Menus Rock for guests

Welcome to our first series of blog posts, “Why Digital Menus Rock”. Digital menus are starting to break into fast casual restaurants across America, and with them come a ton of awesome possibilities not supported by traditional paper menus. We wanted to clearly highlight the benefits so restaurant owners and managers are better prepared for this transition.

In this series, we’re going to be using the term “digital menus” to describe tablet-based menus that replace traditional paper menus at restaurant tables. Some folks use “digital menus” to describe the screen-based digital menu boards that are taking over Quick Service Restaurants. We love digital menu boards, too! We’ll cover the benefits of that new technology in future blog posts.

There are a ton of benefits that come with digital menus, and so we’ll discuss the benefits from the perspective each different people who work at or dine at restaurants. In this post, we’ll start by describing how digital menus are awesome for restaurant guests.

Digital Menus show off your food!

How many times have you sat down at a restaurant and saw a server bring something by that made you think “Holy cow… I want that!“. Everyone eats with their eyes. That’s why the #foodporn tag on Instagram has over 90 million posts. Digital menus allow you to display mouth-watering photos of any or all of your dishes so guests know what they’re ordering.

This enables numerous sub-benefits not possible with a paper menu:

  • It provides the guests with a richer and more enjoyable ordering experience.
  • Guests are far less likely to send something back to the kitchen because they know what they’re getting into
  • It’s a great way to educate guests on what they’re ordering. Especially tourists who may not be able to read your menu or people not familiar with your restaurant’s cuisine!

Digital Menus are interactive

You can read a paper menu and… that’s about it. With digital tablet menus, guests can browse and interact with the menu much like any other iPad app. This lets you do amazing things like:

  • Recommend pairings for each dish, such as sides or drinks that go well with each entree.
  • Help the guest choose quicker by allowing them to filter by Gluten Free or filter out Allergens.
  • Educate the guest about your food more by providing glossary terms for esoteric ingredients or terms in the menu. This is one of our customers’ (restaurant owners and guests) favourite features of Bite Menus!
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Digital Menus create a better dining experience

Guests that have tried digital menus universally love them. There’s something about interacting with the menu offerings that engages them more with the food and the restaurant’s brand than a piece of printed paper. You can tell because guests that mention digital menus on Yelp tend to give 4/5 and 5/5 ratings exclusively.

The experience is also enhanced by the fact that the menus can provide services that some restaurants can’t afford. For example, with digital menus you can provide amazing stories and technical descriptions for each wine in your cellar, which is akin to having a trained sommelier provide details for each vintage. This is a service that digital menus can offer to guests at any restaurant, not just the highest-end french bistros or wine bars.

Bite menus provide all of the above benefits for guests, and more. In the future, we’ll cover how digital menus are great for specific demographics, such as kids and seniors (yes! seniors love iPad Menus!). And in our next post, we’ll get to how digital menus are fantastic for restaurant managers.

– The Bite Team

Let’s Get a Bite to eat!

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Hey, we’re Bite! We’ve noticed that most restaurants don’t put much effort into their menus, which is the most important tool for selling their food. So we’ve set out to build beautiful digital menus that brings awesome dining experiences to restaurant guests, while giving restaurant owners more insight into their guests browsing and eating habits.

We’ll be sharing our experiences and learnings on this blog… as well some gratuitous food porn from the restaurants we work with.  Stay tuned for more!