Guest Blog | Let us Nudge
Our beloved Oregon restaurant industry is slowly making a comeback and that is good news for everyone! Other states are also letting restaurants get back to full capacity, as they are trying to recover lost revenue during the pandemic. But new issues are slowly arising as several documented articles online discuss how customers want to stay longer, so the need for these restaurants to turn their tables is required more than ever. We are also hearing everyday how restaurants across the country have started using time limits for their customers. Some customers may not like this, but the opportunity to help this industry is something we should all be thinking about, for now and the future.
We all enjoy dining out at restaurants and don’t ever want to feel rushed by any means. Time limits can work, but maybe there is something else for the long run. What if there was a way our favorite restaurant could offer customers a secure, seamless, and subtle “nudge” to help us help them turn their table faster, especially if they were finished with their meal? What if there was a way where we could help the Oregon restaurant industry seat more customers, especially during busy times? What if the restaurant had an option to actually incentivize the seated customer finished with their meal to help turn their table?
Again, it is positive to see restaurants slowly coming back to full capacity, but the need to serve more customers can really help Oregon restaurant owners with their bottom line moving forward. Reservation systems are great, and they help restaurants fill seats. But sometimes the systems lag when seated customers haven’t left their table. This tends to build up the bottleneck in the entrance area, which happens often in popular restaurants. Large chain restaurants get extremely busy as well, where anxious customers are waiting with pagers and devices to get seated. Most of the time, they are waiting for the seated customer finished with their meal, to turn their table to get seated. Again, no one ever wants to feel rushed, but a restaurant incentive could help improve table turnover efficiency.
Research and data have shown that customers are usually satisfied by incentives such as a discount, coupon, or free food or drink item, if needed. Of course, the restaurant can offer this incentive, though it is a fine balance to not rush them or get them upset and lose them for future visits, negative social media reviews, etc. Ultimately, it is up to the seated customer to accept the incentive willingly and help turn that table for the waiting customers.
Restaurants have fixed costs, the same amount of rent, minimum staffing needs for the kitchen and floor, etc., that they rely on for their daily operations. Then there are variables that restaurants see such as an increase in sales, more volume of customers, and amount of average check that all account for profitability. These fixed costs stay the same no matter how many customers dine in or not. An incentivized approach can help spread the overhead costs over a larger number of paying customers, which can help the restaurant bring in more revenue.
The opportunity to be busy, turn more tables, make profits, etc. are everything restaurant owners want, especially with the most important item being the wonderful food and drink they provide on their menu. That food and drink experience is the reason we as customers enjoy dining out with our family and friends. But that disheartening feeling steps in when we arrive at our favorite restaurant and the wait line is literally out the door. Again, most of the customers inside have finished their meal, and are enjoying social conversations. But maybe that restaurant incentive could help them turn their table a bit quicker, so others that are waiting can enjoy it as well.
The restaurant has choices regarding whatever incentive they want to give, be it a discount off the bill, or a coupon for another visit, etc. The seated customers can accept or deny this incentive, as they choose. Turning more tables for the Oregon restaurant industry can help recover revenue lost during the pandemic. This recovery can help now and for the future, as the opportunity to turn tables at Oregon family-owned, casual-chain, and fine dining restaurants, will improve the dining experience for all. Visit letusnudge.com to explore opportunities. | Rehan Khanzada, Let us Nudge
This guest blog was submitted by Let us Nudge. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.