The pros and cons of the omnichannel strategy for restaurants
The modern restaurateur knows the importance of providing a seamless customer experience.
Customers are demanding convenience in every aspect of their interactions with your restaurant. And it’s on you to provide a consistent brand image and customer journey both online and offline, for dine-in, pick-up, and takeout, and across devices – from browsing to ordering to payment, through to fulfillment.
The omnichannel approach goes further than multi-channel. It means aligning all your channels and making them work together to provide a seamless, streamlined customer journey.
That means that however a customer interacts with your restaurant, they will feel looked after and get a consistent experience.
Meanwhile, restaurant tech is booming and there are so many solutions on the market to help you reach more customers and integrate customer interaction channels. The challenge is to implement the right systems for your restaurant and get them talking to each other.
If you can get this right, you can take advantage of the benefits of the omnichannel approach. It’s easier said than done though.
To help you find the right balance for your food business, we’ll take a look at the biggest benefits and challenges of operating a next-generation omnichannel restaurant.
If you can overcome the challenges of managing multiple channels and making them work together seamlessly, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of reaching more customers, providing a better experience to them, collecting more and cleaner data, and using all this to improve your operations and grow your business.
Let’s dive into a little more detail about what that means.
Benefits of the Omnichannel Approach:
Reach More Customers
The basic idea is the more channels you have, the bigger the audience you can reach. Especially when you partner with third-party services that each have a large audience of hungry diners.
In the delivery space, for example, partnering with multiple delivery services, the likes of Uber Eats, Doordash, and Grubhub, allows you to be on multiple platforms and take advantage of their combined reach. While this brings additional challenges in managing multiple partners, there are ways of overcoming them and turning them into a positive.
Deliverect helps you hone your delivery process to make life easier for your staff and ensure the customer gets the right order, piping hot and on time. It consolidates your delivery orders and sends them directly to your POS. The tickets are then sent to the kitchen in a consistent format.
Get your delivery system nailed and you will be able to reap the benefits of the combined audience of thousands of local consumers.
Better Customer Experience
Omnichannel is all about creating a seamless experience across all your channels of interaction with customers. This means that the customer will get the same treatment whether they come in to collect an order, dine in at the restaurant, or order online via a delivery partner.
Although it is a challenge to set this up and get it running smoothly, the result is a streamlined customer experience that delivers on the insatiable modern demand for convenience.
Better Data Flow
When implemented correctly with the right integrations between tech platforms, one of the biggest benefits of omnichannel is the clean data you can produce. With multiple channels aligned, you can capture more customer data in your POS, make sure it is accurate, and use it in various ways to improve your operations and marketing.
Here are just some of the ways more and better data can help you understand your customers better and offer a better service:
- Personalization to the individual at scale: treat every customer like a regular through understanding their unique preferences and habits.
- Target customers with personalized offers to boost loyalty and get referrals.
- Continually improve your service, menus, and processes based on the data you collect to offer a better experience for customers and staff.
- Make your processes more efficient and cut unnecessary spending.
Putting the right systems in place so that your systems are efficient and your data is clean will foster happiness in your staff and have them work more efficiently with smiles on their faces.
As the saying goes, look after your staff and they will look after the customers.
Happier, more efficient staff will lead to more productivity, happier customers, and ultimately, more money in the bank.
Hard to Manage Multiple Channels and Third Parties
As mentioned above, when you add more channels you are likely to be outsourcing at least some of the additional work. This means managing third parties, often delivery partners.
The way to get around this is to tackle the problem head-on by building systems that deal with it.
In the delivery space, this is a particular problem. But there are simple measures you can put in place: check our guide to optimizing your restaurant’s design for delivery, for example.
Deliverect offers a number of features to make it easier to manage your delivery partners. One of the biggest issues is the time it takes to update menus across multiple partners.
Deliverect saw this problem and built in a solution. You upload your menu to the Deliverect dashboard and make your changes there, only once. These are then pushed out to all your delivery partners so you don’t have to get in touch with all of them individually.
Bigger Workload with More Touchpoints
There’s no getting around the fact that managing multiple channels in a seamless way will take up more resources. You may need more staff to handle higher order volumes and to manage the multiple avenues through which customers can find you.
You should see this as an investment in improving your business. Creating the right omnichannel system will improve your business in the ways we’ve looked at. And once you have it in place, you can optimize and trim the fat to create a leaner omnichannel machine.
Yes, it’s going to be challenging and require an upfront investment and some risk, but the benefits are sure to pay back your investment if you can get it running correctly.
Multiple Subscriptions Required
One of the downsides of the omnichannel approach is that you will have to take out multiple subscriptions to tech providers. These monthly payments can add up to a hefty bill.
This investment in the right solutions that work together though is far better than paying for tech that is unsuitable that your staff don’t actually want to use. If you have the right tech in place, the benefits listed above will pay back your investment many times over.
Find the Right Balance for Your Business:
Despite the challenges of implementing an omnichannel approach, if you can manage to pull it off and align your tech stack in the right way, the benefits are sure to outweigh the negatives over time.
Although you will have to overcome a number of hurdles, invest initially in more staff and the right tech, over time your bravery and forward-thinking should be rewarded:
- You will have better data with which to reach more of the right customers and continually improve their experience.
- You will be able to reach more customers directly and via on-going promotions and referral programs.
- You will provide a better working environment for your team which in turn will foster customer loyalty and build repeat business.
The net result is better systems, happier customers, and more revenue coming in each month.
Deliverect has put in the hard work setting up key integrations with POS providers, delivery partners, ordering platforms, and payment systems. This combined with tailored features and a dashboard designed for the modern omnichannel restaurant means it's uniquely positioned to help you take advantage of the benefits of the approach.
To read more about the omnichannel approach and how it can drive sales and help your business grow, check out our recent blog post: The Omnichannel Restaurant: Recognizing the Importance of a Multi-channel Strategy to Drive Sales