For an industry that prides itself on their guest-experience, online dining is about as dry as it gets. While years have been spent perfecting the perfect atmosphere, branded communication and specialty cuisine for a diner to experience onsite in their favorite restaurant, very little of that has been translated to the restaurant’s online experience. Actually, outside of a logo and menu listings, next to nothing on the digital side speaks to the in-person dining experience. But why? Well until COVID-19 completely leveled the playing field, online dining was more of a tool for those who had a taste for their favorite cuisine in the comfort of their home. It was a bare-bones process that served as a band-aid while the main focus could remain invested in the physical dining experience. Now that COVID has changed the game and online ordering has become more prevalent than ever, online menus have been left wanting. That is, until now. If you had the chance to bring your physical dining experience to your online menu, would you? With SmartMenu’s ability to harness your unique restaurant menu analytics, anything is possible.
Tiny Changes, Huge Results
When a guest steps foot into a restaurant, they are first greeted by a hostess who listens to their party size and then personally walks them to an available table within a server’s station and then passes the baton to the server. The server then suggests specials and takes the party’s meal and drink order, answering questions as they transcribe the diner’s desires. These questions can be anything from “Can this be made without butter?” to “Who is the chef this evening?”. And the server is then expected to relay that information to the customer and even tell Chef Tony that his second-cousin-twice-removed came in to pay him a visit. At any rate, there is a part of the restaurant experience that sticks out like a sore thumb in the face of online ordering, and that one this is: communication.
The number one issue with online ordering is that all of the communication lines have been completely cut. The digital diner is forced to navigate the menu on their own and then take what they can get. But if your online customers could instead be greeted by something that helps them navigate the menu and not only provides information but receives guest feedback as well, that would change the way people dine online — with only that simple switch. Using SmartMenu’s restaurant menu analytics, you can implement this strategy and gather real-time data on how your online diner’s interact with this new feature and adjust to their preferences. Small touches such as these make your online dining experience memorable, and in turn keep customers coming back for more.
Open the Communication Lines
MenuCalc’s new SmartMenu platform allows you to restore communication with your dining guest, straight through your online menu. Not only can you direct your customer and assist with their order, we’ve made it possible for you to receive in-menu feedback as well. At MenuCalc, the most prevalent pain-point that we hear about from our restaurant clients is that they truly do not know what their online customers are looking for. It’s a frustration that spans over hundreds of locations and franchises. But this does not have have to be the case with SmartMenu in place. Instead, your digital dining audience will be able to interact with your menu, communicate their desires and even have the opportunity to give feedback in return. The restaurant menu analytics set in place by SmartMenu will simultaneously give you an inside report on the patterns found within the customer feedback you are receiving and keep you on the cutting edge of communication with your diners.
I know we’ve asked this before but it bears asking again: what would it mean to you to have real-time diner feedback available in the online ordering process? What would change with direct access to your customers in a virtual world. In a real restaurant setting, customer feedback is priceless. If your chef was subpar or your customer’s steak was overdone, you’d know about it right away and have the ability to ease that frustration within minutes. Online is an entirely different beast with as little contact as possible.
With SmartMenu’s restaurant menu analytics in play, you can open up a whole new world of communication with your target audience. Whether you’re looking to see how they enjoyed their meal or how well they liked an LTO that you are testing, SM’s customer feedback features make communication simple. And did we mention A/B testing?
This particular communication tool is so revolutionary, we decided it needed a section of this article dedicated to it. Historically, A/B testing has been a drawn-out process dependent on the completion of handwritten surveys completed by customers, test groups, and some generic form of tracking to test the LTO’s potential for the possibility of a permanent space on the menu. This long-tailed process makes menu changes not only difficult, but expensive.
With the addition of an embed code, SmartMenu has the ability to specifically track your LTO’s/test menu items on a per-location basis and provide a detailed report of it’s success or otherwise. Then, since SmartMenu enables the restaurant to communicate with the diner in-app, customers that have ordered the test item can now be identified and participate in surveys and/or answer questions related to their order. SmartMenu completely puts A/B testing back in the hands of the restaurant. Now, restaurants can roll out new menu items quicker with the confidence backing of actual customer data.
Our team at MenuCalc believes that the control of a restaurant should be in the hands of the restaurant operator. With SmartMenu tools, you can take back your menu with the click of a button. Are you ready? Let’s get in touch. Contact us here.