Restaurant & Bar Tech Live logo

26 & 27 NOV 2019


Wait Lists, Loyalty and Marketing are the Latest Consumer Trends

Restaurant technology providers are always looking to unleash the next wave of digital innovation and the hottest trends on the market can currently be found in the shape of software management systems, app based loyalty programmes and millennial friendly marketing programmes, to name but a few. 

According to three operators the latest tech works to successfully smooth operations and generate business growth are as follows:

Shortening Waiting Time

Kevin Wan, owner of the popular Sophia’s Tai Kitchen, in California, has told of how the Waitlist me app has served to simplify operations and enhance customer experience.

The restaurant started using the software two years ago and have found that their operations have continued to go from strength to strength, thanks to the innovative app which notifies customers of availability with text messages. 

Sophia’s Tai Kitchen, which opened in 1996, originally used the conventional paper wait-list to conduct its operations, but upon switching to the app based waiting programme, Wan has found that customers are a lot more willing to commit to waiting, given that they are not confined to staying rooted at the entrance.

Waitlist me is particularly helpful as it enables the host or manager to decipher which tables are soon to be available at just a glance, clearly displaying how long the cuurent occupants have been at the table for. 

It also allows restaurant hosts to attribute party names to each respective table, so there is no confusion when multiple staff are manning the list.

Furthermore, the app enables the layout of the restaurant to be modified according to customer demand.  For instance, a restaurant manager might divide tables into numerous sections at the weekend and switch the layout accordingly in order to accommodate for a quieter weekday service.

A feature unique to this wait-list management software is its kiosk mode, which enables customers to self-check in and add themselves onto the waiting list, this enables the fort to be manned when a member of staff isn’t at the helm. 

Incentivising Loyalty

The last technology is serving to maximize the efficiency of restaurant loyalty programmes. 

According to a study by Oracle, in February, about 65 percent of US consumers are members of food and beverage loyalty programmes. This highlights the need for tech advancements to pander to this latest tech trend accordingly, and it would appear the industry has taken note, with mobile apps gaining in popularity.

Plastic swipe cards are still at the top of the pecking order when it comes to the most preffered across all ages, with 62% of users favouring this method. Roughly 52% of millennials were found to favour the app based loyalty programmes alongside 50 % of Gen X members.

Notably, in January of this year, Californian based company, Pizza Kitchen, launched its enhanced CPK Pizza Dough Rewards based app, enabling their customers to order online and receive points and rewards.

Available on iOS and Android, the app enables its users to pay via their phones and features restaurant check ins and offers the chance for customers to unlock dine in features, which were developed in collobaration with their loyalty provider, Paytronix. 

Members of the exclusive Pizza Dough Rewards app are treated to a free small plate at registration, are entitled to earn $5 in rewards for every $100 spent, receive a free birthday desert upon attending during the month of their birthday and are also eligible to receive exclusive offers and previews at new additions to the menu throughout the year. 

New Age Marketing

As part of their ad agency review, Checkers & Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants Inc., conducted research into their prime audience and their findings strongly encouraged them to drive their digital innovation. 

One of the salient findings from their research was their audience’s use of digital and social media, and in response to this, the company has deployed a shift in media spending accordingly.

Scott Wakeman, senior marketing director of the Tampa, Fla.-based company, has reported that over the past year the company has shifted 15% to 18% of their spend into digital platforms.

Upon gauging that millennials invest more of their time using Youtube than watching the TV, the company’s first move was to invest their spending in the digital video platform.

Checkers & Rally’s research also found, rather unsurprisingly, that millennial consumers are constantly connected to the internet. In response to this, the company has since prioritized operating across various social media platforms, in order to more personally engage with its consumers.