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A recipe for restaurant recovery

Author: Tim Mason, Chief Executive Officer, Eagle Eye Solutions Ltd

I don’t know about you but, in these lockdown times, I find it much more motivating to think about how the world will go forward post-lockdown than going back to the way things were. Hence my purchase of a Brompton bike!

But, let’s face it, the restaurant sector has been in difficulty for a while now, which has been chronically exacerbated by the current situation. There are many reasons for this but simply put, for most, costs have been rising faster than sales. So, can we find a silver lining in this cloud?

To generate sales many restaurant chains have become addicted to the revenues delivered by audience aggregators, such as O2’s Extras and Priority offers, or home delivery services provided by the likes of Just Eat and Deliveroo.

Know your customer, own the relationship

There are two problems with this: firstly the restaurant makes little or no margin; and secondly, the restaurant is disintermediated by the digital provider, who owns the customer. Unless restaurants can break this addiction, they are consigning themselves to a future of low-margin cooking and washing up, with little or no ability to drive more profitable sales.

Perversely, opening up with the requirement for social distancing may provide the solution. There is an opportunity to fill your limited and highly-sought-after tables with high-quality, profitable customers. With no need to chase the last marginally costed customers, rebuild a much higher-yielding customer base with a clear understanding of who and where your most loyal customers are.

Create a direct-to-consumer digital connection

My suggestion for how to do this is as follows:
 
  • Get an app and build in some sort of sign up-based reward so staff can persuade all returning customers to get one;
  • Give a stamp per meal eaten, with food and drink offers available in exchange for stamps;
  • Build in table booking, with a priority given to tables booked via app; and,
  • Include a home delivery function of your own.

All of the above can be ready in weeks from Eagle Eye and its partner and order ahead specialist, Preoday.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the trading model. It needs to be the absolute priority of the business and, if successfully prosecuted, will give restaurant owners their own low-cost tool to performance market to their customer base.

With a low level of investment and a high level of commitment, I think there is a game-changing silver cloud opportunity post-lockdown for every Food & Beverage business.

Learn more about post-lockdown challenges and how the restaurant sector can best address them: check out this recently recorded on-demand webinar, “Winning the Recovery in Hospitality post Covid-19,” with Tim Mason, and Eagle Eye’s CTO Steve Rothwell and CSO Al Henderson.

Please contact us to find out how Eagle Eye and Preoday can help your restaurant now.