Increasing Customer Spend in Restaurants: Leveraging Your Tech Stack

Leverage your tech stack to increase customer spending in your restaurants! Properly utilized, your tech tools can be a major difference maker for your bottom line.
Trace Mannewitz

Restaurants are increasingly turning to technology to enhance their operations and customer experience. One significant advantage of a well-utilized tech stack is the ability to increase the average customer spend. This isn't just about boosting profits; it's about offering a richer, more satisfying customer experience that encourages guests to indulge more in what your restaurant offers.

Understanding the Power of Technology in Restaurants

Before diving into strategies, it's crucial to understand why technology is such a game-changer in the restaurant industry. When implemented effectively, technology can streamline operations, provide valuable data insights, and improve customer engagement – all of which are key to increasing average spend per customer.

Here are 8 tools and strategies for ways to increase average customer spend with your tech stack: 

  1. Implement A Smart POS System
  2. Leverage Data Analytics
  3. Enhance Online Ordering and Delivery
  4. Optimize Digital Menus and Tabletop Ordering
  5. Customizable Loyalty Program
  6. Social Media and Digital Marketing
  7. Contactless Payments and Mobile Wallet Integration
  8. Train Staff To Use Tech Effectively

1. Implement a Smart POS System

A sophisticated Point of Sale (POS) system does more than process transactions; it can become the nerve center of your restaurant's operations. Modern POS systems can track customer preferences and data; this allows your CRM or CDP to provide actionable insights for your marketing and business plans.

2. Leverage Data Analytics

Directly tying into your POS system, data analytics tools can study customer behavior and sales patterns to identify opportunities for increasing spend. By understanding which dishes are most popular or which days have higher foot traffic, restaurants can tailor their menus, promotions, and staffing accordingly. Personalized marketing campaigns based on customer data, can encourage repeat visits and higher spending on each visit.

Use this data to manage loyalty programs, suggest upselling, and explore cross-selling opportunities to staff during service. For instance, if a customer regularly orders a particular wine, specific programs can use machine learning to make upsell suggestions as they begin to check out. 

3. Enhance Online Ordering and Delivery

Enhancing your restaurant's online ordering system by integrating a mix of first and third-party delivery services can significantly increase customer spending. First-party ordering systems, operated directly by the restaurant, offer complete control over the customer experience, from menu customization to personalized marketing. This direct interaction fosters a stronger connection between the restaurant and its customers, allowing for tailored promotions and upselling opportunities. For example, when customers order directly through a restaurant's platform, it's easier to highlight special deals, recommend add-ons, or showcase higher-margin items, encouraging customers to spend more. Furthermore, data collected through first-party systems provides invaluable insights into customer preferences, enabling restaurants to refine their menus and marketing strategies to boost sales effectively.

On the other hand, third-party delivery platforms extend a restaurant's reach to a broader customer base, tapping into the platform's existing user network. These platforms can expose the restaurant to potential customers who might not have discovered it otherwise. Although third-party services often come with higher fees and less control over the customer experience, the increased visibility and accessibility they provide can lead to a higher volume of orders, compensating for the lower profit margins per order. By strategically leveraging both first and third-party systems, restaurants can balance the benefits of direct customer engagement and wider market exposure. This dual approach not only diversifies revenue streams but also caters to different customer preferences, whether they prioritize convenience and discovery (through third-party platforms) or personalized service and loyalty rewards (through first-party ordering). Ultimately, this blended strategy can lead to increased average spending per customer, as it combines the strengths of direct interaction with the expansive reach of third-party services.

4. Digital Menus and Tabletop Ordering

Digital menus and tablet-based ordering systems can significantly boost average customer spend. These systems allow for real-time menu updates and can showcase high-margin items or daily specials effectively. Additionally, they often include visuals of dishes, which can entice customers to try something new or more expensive.

5. Customizable Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs have emerged as a pivotal strategy for businesses looking to enhance customer retention and boost spending. These programs work by rewarding repeat customers, incentivizing them to return, and creating a sense of belonging and appreciation. When customers feel valued by a business, they are more likely to become repeat patrons, and, importantly, they often spend more during each visit. By offering tangible rewards for continued patronage, businesses effectively encourage customers to choose them over competitors. The psychology behind this is simple yet powerful: customers are more inclined to return to a place where they know their business is appreciated and where they can earn rewards over time.

Moreover, loyalty programs are not just about rewarding repeat purchases; they are also a tool for gathering valuable customer data. By tracking the purchasing habits and preferences of their customers, businesses can tailor their services or products to better suit their clientele. This customization, often facilitated through technology such as apps or membership accounts, enhances the customer experience, leading to increased satisfaction. When customers feel that a business understands their preferences and caters to their needs, they are more likely to remain loyal. Furthermore, businesses can use this data to create targeted marketing campaigns, which can directly encourage increased spending. For instance, offering personalized discounts on favorite products or services can motivate customers to make larger purchases than they normally would.

Loyalty programs also foster community and engagement, which are essential for customer retention. By creating exclusive offers, special events, or access to premium services for loyalty members, businesses establish a sense of exclusivity and privilege among their customers. This strategy not only strengthens the emotional connection between the brand and its customers but also creates a sense of community among members, as they feel part of a special group. These emotional connections can be incredibly powerful, often leading customers to not only spend more but also advocate for the brand through word-of-mouth referrals. In today's digital age, where social media and online reviews significantly impact purchasing decisions, having a base of loyal customers who advocate for a brand is invaluable. Thus, loyalty programs, when executed effectively, go beyond simple transactional benefits, cultivating a loyal customer base that is more likely to spend more and advocate for the brand.

6. Social Media and Digital Marketing

A robust digital marketing strategy, including an active social media presence, can increase your restaurant's visibility and attract more customers. Engaging with customers on social media platforms and through email marketing can help promote special offers, events, and menu items that encourage higher spending.

7. Contactless Payments and Mobile Wallet Integration

Contactless payments and mobile wallet options cater to the convenience that modern customers seek. This convenience not only improves the customer experience but can also speed up the transaction process, allowing for a higher turnover of tables.

8. Training Staff to Use Technology Effectively

All the technology in the world won't make a difference without properly trained staff. Investing in staff training ensures that your team can make the most of the tech tools at their disposal, from managing the POS system effectively to understanding how to analyze customer data for better service.

Streamline And Simplify Your Tech Stack

Incorporating technology into a restaurant's operations offers a plethora of opportunities to increase average customer spend. It's about creating a seamless, enjoyable dining experience that encourages customers to indulge a little more than they might have otherwise. By embracing these tech-driven strategies, restaurants can not only boost their profits but also enhance their reputation as modern, customer-centric businesses.

In a world where technology continues to evolve rapidly, staying ahead of the curve isn't just good business sense; it's essential to thrive in the competitive hospitality industry.