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It’s fair to say that the foodservice industry has had to change significantly over the past year and a half. Could an outdated restaurant phone system be holding you back?
Currently, food service establishments across the country are dealing with a range of COVID-related restrictions. These vary from state to state and are still subject to change with infection levels. Things are generally more stable than a year ago, but there’s still a significant amount of uncertainty across the restaurant industry.
The major challenges currently facing restaurants are:
- Reduced capacity: To operate whilst reducing the risk of COVID infections, socially distanced tables with limited numbers have become the norm - and in some places, this is legally enforceable. This means that revenues are reduced, and space is at a premium.
- Increased administrative requirements: Due to COVID regulations, restaurants now spend more time managing bookings. You may also need to take additional details from customers to comply with track and trace requirements.
- Integrating curbside pickup: Mandatory COVID closures meant that some restaurants expanded into the takeout/carry-out space to keep the doors open. While these services are great revenue generators, managing these orders and the infrastructure needed to deliver them (i.e., DoorDash and Uber Eats) can be a struggle with traditional restaurant phone systems. Access drivers on the go with a user-friendly mobile application.
- Staffing issues: Many restaurants had to furlough employees at the start of the pandemic. Now that restaurants are back up and running, having a unified communications restaurant phone system is a must when dealing with rehiring, staffing, and multi-locations.
How Could Upgrading Your Restaurant Phone System Help You Adapt?
Traditional, desk-based restaurant phone systems are inflexible and limited in what they can offer. They limit communications to a single channel. In addition, if you want to expand to video or SMS messaging, you may need to bring in additional vendors - which equals extra expenses.
Using a cloud-based unified communications system (or Unified Communication as a Service, UCaaS) allows you to bring all of these channels under one simplified system. This also expands the number of channels available to you while making everything significantly easier to manage.
Related: What is UCaaS?
How can a UCaaS restaurant phone system help you adapt?
SMS and MMS Messaging
Being able to automated reminder messages for reservations reduces the risk of no-shows associated loss of revenue. Keep in contact with your team quickly with business messaging. Employee self-isolating for health reasons? Organize shift covers. Does a customer need to cancel a reservation? No sweat, let your restaurant floor know right away so they can begin filling in tables to minimize lost revenue.
Fully Functional Mobile App
In periods of uncertainty, it’s essential that you are able to manage relationships with employees, vendors, and customers quickly and efficiently. Easily communicate with delivery drivers and update customers on their delivery or pick-up orders in real-time, all while focusing on your in-person customers.
Don’t rely on a singular on-premise landline to do business with - use a UCaaS business phone app to take calls wherever you are. You literally can be at two places at once!
Video conferencing is great for interviewing new staff and conducting any pre-shift training that doesn’t need to be in person. When you need to limit the number of people you have on-premises, video conferencing helps you maintain productivity while remaining socially distant.
It’s also exceedingly helpful for managing relationships with vendors and third-party service providers. This saves you significant time traveling to and from physical meetings, which you can invest back into the running of your restaurant.
Reduce the amount of admin time spent answering FAQ's. Ensure that your customers have access to all the details they need upfront by creating a Welcome Menu that provides helpful information such as restaurant location, hours of operation, and even daily specials! In addition, you can also create an auto attendant that can route calls to the appropriate person or department, so your hosts can spend more time attending to in-person guests.
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