Although the following article is written through the lens of being a restaurant, I am certain that you can relate the resolutions to any business ... so make sure you read it all.
2022 is brimming with promise, with 70% of consumers saying they feel comfortable returning to a restaurant. While all Operations are eager to embrace the anticipated "return to normal," there's no denying they face some headwinds from continued supply chain disruption and rising costs.
Although some facets of the operation are out of a business's hands, there are still many opportunities to prepare your businesses for a banner year. Here are five New Year's resolutions to help start 2022 off right.
Resolution 1: Optimize drive-thru and curbside pickup processes
Consumers continue to embrace the drive-thru, yet they are not always receiving the convenient experience they expect. In fact, throughout 2021, time spent in the drive-thru increased while order accuracy decreased. What might have been acceptable a year or so ago no longer is, as consumers expect restaurants to have corrected service difficulties. Whether they are picking up food in the drive-thru or curbside, they want it hot and fresh when they arrive.
How can restaurants best meet consumers' expectations? Now is the time to make fixes. First, invest in technology that will ease the pick-up process for patrons and streamline incoming orders for staff. Then, instill in the team the importance of giving these customers a stellar experience by prioritizing both precision and speed. Once a smooth process is in place, alert local drivers to the availability of amenities like drive-thru and curbside service.
One way to ensure on-the-go customers know which services are available is to use Waze Location Personality badges. "These provide an additional way to connect with customers and provide a valuable user experience by amplifying specific offerings at your location," says Waze's Head of Industry, Restaurant, Mike Wilson. "It helps them make a decision on which locations to visit based on their preference for using a drive thru or ordering ahead, for example."
The tolerance of the consumer is about to change again. During Covid they were forgiving and tolerant of sloppy service and excessive pricing, but now with the rate of inflation your brand will no longer matter as Consumers return to seeking Value ... all encompassing value from price to service
Resolution 2: Consider nontraditional sources of staff
It's hard to find a restaurant that's not short-staffed these days, with three-fourths of restaurant owners citing labor constraints as their top concern. As locations aim to combat the workforce shortage, restaurants are competing for workers like never before: Between February and April 2021, there was a 72% increase in job ads for food and beverage servers and a 59% increase for cooks and food preparers.
To attract the best employees to their door, managers need to tap into new demographics, such as retirees — who may have retired before or amid the pandemic and now yearn for some camaraderie and income — or parents who stepped out of the workforce to care for kids who have since returned to school. With vaccinations widely available, many populations who were previously hesitant about a public-facing position could be reconsidering, so be the first to attract their attention.
In the area of being non-traditional I admired one company that decided to hire a Concierge. What an awesome concept they helped employees do their chores or helped fulfilling family obligations like taking Mom or Dad to a Doctor's appointment while the primary person was able to stay at work doing what they do best ... sharing and providing their expertise. Other companies are either providing day-care services within your home or having day-care on-site. Pooling resources on behalf of your employees is truly a benefit and adds to your personal "Gift of Time" like laundry days, shopping days or inhouse banking services.
Resolution 3: Improve conditions for valuable staff to boost retention
Given the challenge inherent in finding new staff, one obvious solution is to create an environment that engages current workers. After all, the last thing a restaurant operator wants is for a well-trained, diligent employee to shift to the brand across the street in search of a better situation.
Today, frontline workers are facing an enormous amount of stress, which is often the underlying reason they quit. Workers say the most significant on-the-job stressors include low pay (56%), long hours (54%) and lack of opportunity for growth or advancement (52%). Interestingly, many of the possibilities they suggested as ways employers could ease their stress, and possibly reduce turnover, don't cost a dime. These include offering flexible hours (34%), encouraging employees to take care of their health (32%) and allowing breaks during the workday (30%).
By focusing on positive reinforcement and incentives to retain existing staff and boost morale, restaurants might not need to post "help wanted" signs after all.
Sometimes job advancement is nothing more than increasing and employee's empowerment of decision making. But the more educated your staff is the better they perform and are able to help your (our) customers. We can tailor a custom E-Learning package for your entire team which comes with personal one-on-one coaching. Just contact us to discuss your needs, desires and obtain a quote.
Resolution 4: Invest in more targeted marketing strategies
When trying to market to potential diners, why not reach out to drivers who are already out and about? Waze's in-car advertising platform reaches hungry consumers with targeted messages designed to pique their interest. The bakery franchise, Nothing Bundt Cakes, with more than 410 locations in the United States and two in Canada, used Waze to reposition their product offerings as an everyday reward, using Pins and Takeovers to delight drivers with suggestions for different sizes of their mouthwatering cake flavors. The campaign drew in more than 90,000 guests in seven months, resulting in a 391% return on ad spend.
Resolution 5: Pivot messaging to reach new consumer
As consumers shake up their routines, restaurants have the chance to reach an entirely new group of clientele, and their messaging should reflect that. "Consumers continue to look to brands for solutions, and the new year provides an opportune time for that positioning," Wilson says.
For example, resolutions related to healthier habits routinely top the most popular list, which allows a brand to tout its latest spin on functional foods or veggie-packed salads. And of course all year, everyone deserves an impulse treat, which is why Nothing Bundt Cakes promotes its cakes year-round to customers who appreciate the suggestion of a sweet indulgence for friends and family — or even themselves.
In addition to creating engaging content, brands can also reach new diners by emphasizing promotions at non-traditional hours. With more people continuing to work remotely, commutes have become disrupted, offering the chance to reach diners during extended dayparts. For example, Waze research finds that coffee shops are seeing more consistent traffic all day, and quick-service restaurants now see more navigation between 1 and 4 p.m. and 7 and 10 p.m., rather than the traditional mealtime spike.
"Our goal is to help restaurant operators make the most of their marketing budget by putting their location on the map at that critical moment of decision," says Wilson. "Waze advertising options like Arrows and Pins, Search, Takeover and Location Personality help those on-the-go drivers know you are open and ready to serve them."
Just remember, nearly every organization is shifting to become more innovative, so doing these may only evolve you into another "Me Too", it is those that are committed to being flexible, agile and supportive will be the more successful.