Instant Gratification

Instant Gratification 2

Consumers crave convenience above all else.

By Melanie Bradley

Human beings are living in a hyperconnected world, where the demand to manage and juggle multiple careers, responsibilities, family members and other various obligations have become our current society’s version of normalcy. With overscheduled, overcommitted and fast-paced lifestyles being the new standard of living, consumers are feeling stretched thin more than ever before, and are continuously striving to find ways to simplify their hectic lives.

Owning a smartphone has become a cultural necessity, and the possession of this device brings a swarming wealth of information accessible at one’s fingertips, at any given moment, every second, of every day. While this is certainly a blessing in many ways, it can also be considered a curse, since the expectation for everything has now manifested into this idea of people of all ages anticipating immediate results.

According to Nielsen, “Rising internet penetration, denser urban locations, faster paced lifestyles and challenging working hours are adding more and more layers of complexity to consumers’ lives…..around the globe, consumers need and look for convenience in all forms – whether simplicity, time saving or suitability.”

“Convenience is not only about store formats, products or packaging. It means more than the latest technologies or new engagement strategies. Rather, it is about every encounter, interaction and action that can help fulfil consumers’ growing demand for efficiency.”

What does this mean for restaurants and other businesses? Quite simply, brands must continue to adapt to the growing consumer demand for convenience in all formats, in order to remain relevant and competitive in the industry.

How do Restaurants Embrace this Trend and Offer New Ways to be Convenient?

Convenience was once thought of as an “added luxury” in a dining experience; yet it has now transformed into a demand and an outright expectation from consumers.

Many restaurants and businesses today are faced with the challenge of delivering a seamless and rapid experience for the consumer, yet without sacrificing quality in any way. Consumers now expect a tailored, customized and personalized dining experience each time they visit a restaurant.

Frictionless interactions are vital in order for brands to remain on a consumer’s radar. With new restaurant concepts and brands popping up left and right, it can be difficult for a business to maintain a buyer’s attention span for very long.

Data

One way for a business to comprehend the consumer need for convenience is by leveraging data analytics. The concept of data itself has been personified; data now resembles a direct link from your consumer and your desired markets to your business itself. Think of it as an advantageous “lifeline” that connects your customer to your profit.

Instant Gratification 1Data is more than just “data,” it is now an embodiment and representation of analytics used to deconstruct consumer trends and behavior. These analytics can be pulled directly from restaurant technology, and are quickly becoming the most effective and beneficial way to maximize operations.

Restaurant owners must focus on key metrics gathered from analyzing guest loyalty programs and other sources of valuable data, and adjust accordingly. Some of the top ways to use data to influence decisions in restaurants are:

* Evaluate Inventory and Maximize Menu Eliminate waste by understanding which menu items are popular, and stock your inventory accordingly.

* Examine Labor Based on sales trends, and peak hours, managers and business owners can now evaluate the best times to add or cut labor.

* Analyzing Guest Trends 

o What is driving your guests to eat at your establishment?

o What are your peak times?

o Which elements of your loyalty program are consumers taking advantage of most?

o How well did your coupon or promotion perform?

o Are diners leaving positive reviews on your social media platforms?

By utilizing data, marketing dollars to increase guest satisfaction and guarantee a positive dining experience.

Motivate Staff

Take a closer look at areas on your menu that are easy to upsell or add on, such as alcohol, dessert, or appetizers, and create a content amongst your employees. The friendly competition will encourage your staff and increase your profit at the same time! Examining data grants restaurant owners and business owners the upper hand amongst competition. Imperative information can now be captured and analyzed quickly and efficiently to enhance business making decisions related to the consumer’s overall expectation for convenience.

Payment

Transactions are now extremely time sensitive, and accuracy and speed of service are crucial for consumers. Having to wait more than a handful of seconds for anything, has become utterly unheard of. Entering and leaving a food establishment as quickly as they see fit is an expectation most consumers require as part of their overall dining experience. One way to meet the consumer standard of convenience is by leveraging mobile payment wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or agile payment platforms into your restaurants. In both situations, the payment is quicker, and the use of cutting-edge technology simultaneously satisfies consumers as well.

Online Ordering

With a desire for convenience from start to finish, consumers will continue to flock towards brands that eliminate the need to wait in line and allow them to choose their pickup time based on their scheduling needs. Online and mobile ordering is a trend that continues to gain traction and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Thanks to eCommerce at large, consumers are quickly adapting to the idea of ordering things ahead of time, and most customers find the concept of online ordering to be rewarding.

In order to adapt, restaurants have the option to introduce ordering functionality that’s frictionless, and by tying online ordering into their loyalty programs, restaurants can offer consumers a unique, and optimal guest experience. In 2019, consumers continue to be the driving force behind the way restaurants are evolving, and the quest for convenience continues to shape operational decisions.

Melanie Bradley is the product marketing specialist for PAR’s POS Restaurant Technology platform. She holds a Master's degree from Florida State University in Humanities with a minor in English and Creative Writing. Bradley works extensively with the Product Management Team to create product messaging, conduct competitive research on product positioning, and creating launch plans to bring hardware, software and service products to market. Melanie is a certified Yoga instructor, an avid CrossFitter and an adventure enthusiast.

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