Alyssa Henry, Square
Sponsored article: Meet Alyssa Henry, Seller Lead for payments and point-of-sale company Square. Alyssa oversees the teams responsible for Square's seller-facing products, including marketing, sales, partnerships, engineering and product teams. She spends her time creating solutions for merchants who are building both digital and bricks-and-mortar businesses. She previously served as VP of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Storage Services and Product Unit Manager for Microsoft SQL Server Data Access. Here she outlines some of the challenges facing UK restaurants and what Square for Restaurants can do to relieve some of those pain points.
Diners have never had more choice. It's not just big or small restaurants, smart or casual, trusty chains or cosy independents – it's also customers' increased ability to get food from their favourite restaurant at home, thanks to the rise of digital delivery services.
Customer spending on takeaways has been steadily increasing. The recent British Takeaway Campaign report showed that in 2018, £12.5b was spent on takeaways in the UK, with the average household spending £38 per month, an increase of 15% in three years.
The accessibility of restaurant-grade food from the comfort of your sofa is raising the bar for restaurants that now have to deliver more unique and compelling dining experiences to draw consumers out of their homes. How has digital changed customer expectations? How can restaurants use technology to meet demand and really set their dining experience apart?
Experience is everything
The food-delivery market is thriving, which means that, for many restaurants, the menu itself isn't a reason for customers to visit in person. Notably, nearly two-thirds of frequent delivery customers believe the quality of the food they receive is better than, or the same as, food served in a restaurant (61%), according to recent research from GO Technology.
Yet there's still room for restaurants to improve their delivery offering. According to the same study, two in five (43%) customers would like faster delivery, while two-fifths would order more from restaurants with a more efficient service. Critically, these findings have implications for service within restaurants. Customers eating out want their restaurant service to be as seamless as ordering from home, with options to personalise their meals and overall dining experience.
To deliver both speed and customisation together, restaurants need a single technology platform to underpin every element of their operations.
Making service complexities effortless
Restaurants today face the challenge of providing unique, personalised and fast service. That's why Square has developed a point-of-sale solution dedicated entirely to meeting the complex and exacting needs of restaurants. Square for Restaurants delivers the speed and ease of use needed for a busy service environment. Cloud-based tools keep everyone from front of house to kitchen co-ordinated, while delivering customers the exceptional experience they demand.
Square for Restaurants will make delivering excellent customer service much easier. The platform can be fully customised for each restaurant, allowing restaurants to build everything from table layouts to the menus available at different times of the day. Integrated stock management tools can track the number of dishes remaining so servers can manage customers' expectations at the table without having to return from the kitchen. The dining experience itself becomes more personalised, as coursing tools enable servers to send items to the kitchen based on the eating cadence of each table and diners aren't left waiting or feeling rushed.
Square for Restaurants also gives sellers integrated access to payments processing with Square Terminal, our new all-in-one payment device that lets you run your business from the palm of your hand. For staff, once the meal is over, bills can easily be split and settled and receipts printed or sent digitally, without leaving the table.
On a daily basis, restaurants can operate more seamlessly than ever before, creating a more fulfilling experience for customers and staff.
Beyond the restaurant's four walls
As restaurants become omnichannel operations – taking orders in-person, online, over the phone or in-app – balancing in-house service gets more challenging. Square for Restaurants integrates with Deliverect, which ensures kitchen tickets are printed automatically, allowing a restaurant manager to easily see all orders – whether for dining in, collection or delivery from all major platforms – in a single app.
Data-driven decision-making gives restaurants an edge. Using digital platforms enables restaurants to collect and action data on what's working well for customers, through options like emailed receipts with links for direct feedback.
It's now possible to identify what customers are responding to and share those insights across the business.
A unique offering
Every restaurant has a unique experience to offer to its customers. And every business can benefit from speedy operations and detailed data. Square for Restaurants aims to revolutionise the restaurant industry by simplifying a usually complicated system to be self-serve, so restaurants can get started fast. This allows restaurants to create a streamlined service that competes with the convenience of online delivery and in-home dining, but with the personalised service and foodie experience you expect from dining out.