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What is Your Technology ROI Part B: Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

And I do not mean tips. Or do I mean tips on money on the table? Confusing.

So, last month we discussed the Return on Investment (ROI) you should expect from your expenditures for technology, for employees, for Social Media, etc. This month, with the holidays approaching, and they are very much approaching, it is time to determine what you are going to do to make this season, profitable for you, fun for your customers, and with service that they will be talking about into the holidays and the new year.

  1. According to the National Restaurant Association, 61 percent of responders to a recent poll have visited a restaurant’s website. Additionally, 63 percent indicated that they use the Internet to view a restaurant’s menus. So! I AM NOW SHOUTING: YOUR INTERNET PRESENCE IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN AND SHOULD ADDRESS. BEST ROI IN YOUR LIFE! OK, sorry for shouting. I just wasn’t sure all of you were paying attention. Two out of every three of your customers, and prospective customers count on your website to inform, excite, and entice them into coming to your place. If I were a betting man, I would dare say that that number is closer to 90 percent as you move to younger and more informed diners. Is your business suffering right now? Make this investment. It will improve.
  2. This is totally non-tech: Take the time to step back, and see what you need to do when it comes to the basics:
  3. What do your customers see when they come in? Are you making a great impression? Are the bathrooms clean as a whistle? Is your menu board clean, clear and up to date? Do you have a maintenance schedule in place? Remember, no second chances on making first impressions. Take it seriously, even if you do not take me seriouslyJ. Seriously.
  4. What are your employees saying? What impression are they making? Are they courteous, well informed, helpful and smiling? Are they neat, clean and attentive? Send your Mom or your Sister in, and let them tell you what you need to do to improve.
  5. Are your wait times acceptable? Is food preparation tight and well-reciped? Consistency matters and matters a lot. Does it take time for a new cook to get it right? How much business do you lose while they learn? How can you do better? What about presentation? Do you have pictures of all of your menu items and their proper preparation? Are portion sizes always clear and respected?

Are you getting ready for the holidays or is this the first year of the rest of your life?

  • What is your competition doing to bring in and retain business? Are you regularly looking at their websites, their Facebook page, etc? Particularly the competition who seems to be wildly successful, even though you KNOW your food and your service is better, what are they doing that is better, that you should be doing?
  • Have you ordered your gift cards already? Is your signage up promoting the holidays and letting people know that a gift card from your restaurant IS THE PERFECT GIFT? Are your employees trained to suggest gift cards? Do they know how to sell and redeem them? Nothing is worse than having an employee hold up your customer, who is on a tight time schedule, while they find out what to do on their time!
  • Are you promoting specials and special events for the holidays? Make no mistake, your customers are looking forward to going out, and likely two out of three or many more will be looking for what, where and why they should go to your place. Yes, on the Internet!

Is your technology ready for the holidays:

  • Are you able to sell and redeem gift cards? If the answer is that you have gift certificates, I guess I have to YELL ABOUT THAT, as well, eh? You sell three to five times as many cards, they are easier to handle, easier to track, and easier for your customer. What’s in your wallet?
  • Have you updated your hardware and software so that you are credit card compliant? The holidays are full of scammers, pirates and villains trying to steal your and your customers’ information. It happens every year. No XP in your place, right? No credit card information in your computer, right?

Your Return on Investment is greatly magnified as your business grows, and PPPPPP. Right? In case you do not know what that means, I am happy to help. Be in touch and make sure your Planning is Proper.

That was a hint.

About the Author

Henry Pertman is Director, Hospitality Consulting at CohnReznick, located in the firm’s Baltimore, Md. office. He can be contacted at 410-783-4900 or henry.pertman@cohnreznick.com.

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