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Mastering the Digital Landscape: Staff Training for Restaurants

The restaurant scene is undergoing a significant transformation. Online ordering platforms like Menulog and Deliveroo, coupled with the ever-growing influence of social media, have fundamentally altered the way customers discover, engage with, and order food. This digital revolution presents both challenges and opportunities for restaurants. To thrive in this new environment, restaurants need to equip their staff with the skills to excel in two key areas: building a strong online presence and streamlining online order fulfilment.

restaurant waitress working

Building a Strong Online Brand: Social Media Savvy

Content is King (and Queen):

  • Go beyond basic food photography: Train wait staff on composition techniques like the rule of thirds, lighting setups using natural light or strategically placed lamps, and food styling tricks to make dishes visually pop. Encourage them to experiment with different angles and backdrops to showcase the restaurant's ambiance and personality.

  • Leverage user-generated content: Encourage satisfied customers to share their dining experiences using a unique restaurant hashtag. Train staff to monitor social media platforms for mentions of the restaurant and repost compelling content with proper attribution to build trust and a sense of community. This social proof can be very persuasive to potential customers.

  • Embrace short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels: Train staff to create short, engaging, and informative videos. These could feature signature dishes being prepared, quick introductions to the chefs, or glimpses of "a day in the life" at the restaurant. Keep the videos fast-paced and visually interesting to capture attention spans.

Engaging with Your Audience:

  • Foster two-way communication: Train staff to respond to comments and messages on social media platforms in a timely and professional manner. This means acknowledging positive feedback, addressing concerns promptly and politely, and answering questions thoroughly. Showcasing responsiveness builds trust and demonstrates that the restaurant values customer feedback.

  • Run interactive contests and promotions: Host social media challenges or giveaways to generate excitement and brand awareness. For example, you could run a contest for the best photo of a customer enjoying a dish or encourage patrons to create their own signature burger combinations at home. Offer exclusive discounts or promotions to social media followers as a reward for their engagement.

  • Partner with local influencers: Collaborate with food bloggers or social media personalities who have a relevant audience to reach new customers and promote your restaurant's offerings. Look for influencers who align with your restaurant's brand and target market.

Optimising Online Orders for a Seamless Customer Experience

Accuracy is Paramount:

  • Invest in a user-friendly online ordering system: A clear and intuitive system minimises errors for both customers and staff. Features like customisable menus with clear descriptions and the ability to add special requests can help reduce confusion.

  • Train staff on double-checking online orders before preparation begins: This includes paying close attention to modifiers, special requests, and dietary restrictions. Emphasise the importance of verifying order details with the customer if any discrepancies arise.

  • Implement a clear system for communicating any discrepancies or substitutions to the customer: Train staff to promptly notify the customer of any substitutions that need to be made due to ingredient availability or other unforeseen circumstances. Offer alternative options whenever possible and apologise for any inconvenience.

Delivery Efficiency: Striking a Balance

  • Partner with reliable delivery services that prioritise food quality and timely delivery: Research different delivery services and choose partners with a strong track record for customer satisfaction. Consider factors like delivery times, fees, and temperature control measures.

  • Train staff on proper packaging techniques to ensure food arrives fresh and presentable: This may involve using insulated packaging for hot items, separate containers for condiments to prevent spills, and leak-proof containers for soups or sauces.

  • Consider offering a limited delivery radius to maintain optimal food quality and temperature upon arrival:While a wider delivery radius may seem appealing, it can compromise the quality of the food if it arrives cold or soggy.

Beyond the Delivery: In-House Takeaway

  • Designate a specific pick-up area for online orders: This helps to minimise confusion and long wait times for customers collecting their orders. Clearly mark the pick-up area with signage and ensure it's easily accessible.

  • Implement a system for notifying customers when their order is ready for pick-up: This could be a text message, email, or an in-app notification. The system should be timely and reliable to avoid customer frustration.

  • Train staff to greet takeaway customers with the same warmth and courtesy they would offer dine-in guests:A friendly welcome goes a long way in creating a positive customer experience. Offer takeaway customers a chance to browse additional menu items or merchandise while they wait for their order.

Conclusion: Investing in Your Digital Future

By investing in staff training for the digital age, restaurants can unlock a world of opportunity. A team equipped with the skills to navigate the online landscape can cultivate a strong social media presence, streamline online orders, and ensure a seamless customer experience from the first click to the last bite. In today's competitive market, prioritising digital fluency is no longer an option – it's the recipe for success. Empower your staff to become brand ambassadors online and watch your restaurant thrive in the ever-evolving digital dining landscape.

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