Opening a restaurant is risky business, whether you are a part of a well-known franchise or decided to strike out on your own. As an owner or manager, you have to make well-thought-out decisions and use all the resources at your disposal to maximize your success. But not all restauranteurs take full advantage of the tools available to them. While many restaurants make most of their revenue through phone orders and reservations, phones continue to be one of the most under-utilized resources in the majority of establishments.
In the last decade, VoIP phone systems have evolved significantly to better serve the unique needs of the restaurant and hospitality industries. Their most innovative features can help you improve customer service, coach your staff through conversations without the client hearing, and even boost your average order value by up to 30% with well-placed upsell messaging.
With years of experience serving franchisors, franchisees and independent businesses, we have seen how a few user-friendly VoIP features can make a significant difference in a restaurant’s revenue. Below are the 4 techniques that our most successful clients used to boost their average ticket value, increase the number of orders, attract more customers, and build thriving businesses.
Good customer service is one of the main pillars of a successful restaurant. Clients who enjoyed their experience are more likely to become loyal customers, recommend your restaurant to friends or give you a positive review online. But with high staff turnover, it can be a challenge to ensure that every employee who picks up the phone represents your brand appropriately and provides your clients with a positive experience. Here is where your phone system can help.
A VoIP phone system offers a wide range of features that enable you to train your staff to better service customers. Training ensures that your employees know the right ways to talk to your customers and empowers them to better support your upsell strategy by gently suggesting add-on menu items when they take an order. With the right VoIP phone solution, you can listen to your team’s conversation to assess how they are doing, coach them through orders or reservations without the client hearing, and even jump in to save a sale when needed.
In addition, many VoIP providers such as S-NET, offer call recording capabilities. Call recordings can go a long way in protecting your business in case of customer complaints and order disputes, but they can be a powerful tool for training your staff as well. You can listen to employee calls for quality assurance purposes, and you can use examples of great service or excellent upselling strategies to show your new hires how to talk to your clients. The right phone features can be your most powerful tool in ensuring that your customers are treated well, every single time.
You have probably heard by now that upsell messaging is one of the most effective ways to boost your revenue. But is upselling truly worth the hype? Franchises that implemented upsell messages and measured the results saw a 25% to 30% increase in their revenue across several locations.
We all know that customers are more likely to increase their order when they are reminded about promotions and additional menu items available to them. Getting a good deal, being offered an inexpensive add-on item or getting enticed by an exciting new dish on your menu are all reasons why callers may order more than they originally intended. A well-trained staff can support your upsell strategy by making recommendations that fit each order. But when your restaurant gets busy, they may have no choice than to put upselling on the backburner.
Playing short recordings to each caller allows you to inform them about specials, promotions or seasonal items, as well as recommend add-on or side dishes before you even answer the phone. Using gentle, yet persuasive messages relieves your team of upselling duties when things get hectic and helps ensure that your value proposition is communicated correctly every single time.
VoIP phone systems also allow you to schedule your messages so that they are always in-tune with your customers’ momentary needs. With timed, day-of-week or time-of-day scheduling, you can push lunch and weekend specials when your customers are most receptive or advertise a promotion throughout the week leading up to a special event. Playing the right message at the right time can go a long way in maximizing each order and making your customers feel understood.
Ensuring good customer service is one of the most important, yet one of the most challenging tasks of a restaurant owner or manager. When you are understaffed during peak hours, your team’s ability to provide each calling customers with a positive experience is significantly affected. Callers can get tired of waiting on line and drop the call, and your team may be unable to put their best foot forward when they feel stressed or rushed. This, in turn, affects your restaurant’s reputation and has a negative impact on your bottom line. But staffing efficiently ensures that customers are well taken care of and ready to recommend your business to friends and family.
Real Time and Historic call reporting available with VoIP solutions enables you to take the pulse of your business and determine if you have the resources in place to handle each client call effectively. When do you get the most calls? How many calls are you losing to long wait times? What is your clients’ average wait time? Can your staff effectively handle the lunch and dinner rush or special event days? Scheduling your team to come in when you need them the most ensures that each customer receives the attentive, personalized experience they want and helps you maximize your revenue.
Restaurants that treat each call as an opportunity to sell find that phone orders are one of their most consistent sources of revenue. But when your phones are down and callers cannot reach your team, you are losing money with each passing minute. Running into a busy signal also affects your clients’ perception of your business, and you may not only be missing out on a sale, but you may also be losing a loyal customer.
Ensuring that your phone service is reliable is your first line of defense against losing customers. Select a good vendor whose service is backed by robust infrastructure, and one that offers you immediate customer support in case of issues. Some packages designed for the restaurant and hospitality industry include 4G LTE backup as well to ensure continuity for your communications, even when your primary internet connection goes down. And the best part? 4G LTE backup can be incorporated into your core infrastructure to ensure that all your POS (Point of Sale), credit card and online ordering are always available.
Additionally, VoIP phone systems can be configured to provide you with multiple lines at no extra charge, enabling several of your team members to take orders at once. When your staff is empowered to service multiple customers at the same time, they can significantly reduce time on hold and provide your clients with the fast, courteous ordering experience they expect.
Running a successful restaurant business is not easy. But innovations in the telecommunications industry are making it increasingly easy to assess how your team is doing and take the necessary steps to improve. From Historic and Real-Time reports that allow you to staff more efficiently to effective upsell messages and whisper-coaching capabilities that improve customer service and boost revenue, VoIP phone systems are there to support your business. With all these tools at your disposal, your restaurant business is truly set up to succeed.