As wages rise and the unemployment numbers continue at all-time lows, it creates the necessity to embrace technology to enhance the guest experience and drive repeat customers. This particularly impacts quick service, fast casual, and casual dining locations.

Here are some of the latest digital trends:

Unsurprisingly, the menu is the number one factor guests consider when selecting a new restaurant. However, the way a menu looks online is just as important as the outside of the brick and mortar building. Companies like PopMenu offer a great solution, allowing guests to interact with the menu, including the ability to read and write reviews for specific items, share the items with friends and easily print.

Most modern Point of Sales systems have the added features of native online ordering. If you don’t offer online ordering, you are missing a very large “boat.” Digital ordering has grown as much a 300% faster than dine-in traffic, and now comprises 23% of all food orders.1 Loyalty programs can have a triple benefit, again usually part of any new POS system, but third-party solutions include Level Up, Loyalzoo, and AppInstitute. These tools offer significant benefits including:
     1. Increased revenue per guest by up-selling promotions
     2. Customer data collection to allow for customized marketing
     3. Encourage new and returning guests through rewards

Social Media
This one is obvious. Here are just some of the reasons you need a presence on social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn:
     1. Builds creditability
     2. Increases brand recognition
     3. Nurtures customer relationships (makes it personal)
     4. Grows guest engagement
     5. Increases email list
     6. Turns customers into regulars

Data Analytics
We are experiencing the “democratization” of data, every size restaurant has access to the same analytics as only the big chains could do. Some great usage cases are:
     1. Using your reservations software to reward frequent diners or send out promotions to guests who haven’t
         visited in a while.
     2. Monitor your product mix data during specific parts of the day or days of the week. Look for ways to become
         more efficient by increasing the types of items that are selling, and removing or modifying the ones that don’t.
     3. Analyze your sales per labor hour to develop more efficient and effective work schedules.
     4. Look at your food servers’ performance including tip percentage, check average, table turn timing, to
         evaluate and potentially reward your high achievers with better shifts or other incentives.

Many of the latest POS systems have these reports out of the box, or you can install a third-party intelligence product like C-Tuit or R365 (if compatible with your POS) to capture and create meaningful reports and analytics.

Tools like these are not a substitute for getting the fundamentals right, but they can help increase revenue and improve operations.

We at KROST have been helping restaurant owners and operators grow their businesses and become more profitable for nearly 80 years. Please contact Robert A. Benson at (818) 616-7377 or ( if would like to schedule a complimentary one-hour consultation for your restaurant.