By Johnson Lee, Founder of Shopzpin,
Industries across the country suffered badly due to the pandemic but perhaps none more so that the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry. Many assume that F&B continued to thrive online and through deliveries but between high platform service fees and reducing in-store sales many F&B businesses, especially smaller ones, were left devastated.
In Malaysia, between 25% to 30% of F&B businesses have shuttered as a direct consequence of the pandemic.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. There is a clear road to recovery, but first restaurants must adapt to the new normal. A substantial part of adapting is learning that even with on-ground brick and mortar restaurants digitalisation is here to stay. Whether it is to provide customers with a sense of safety or to improve business efficiencies – technology and recent developments have immensely helped already with the ability to increase sales by 21-23%.
And as someone who has spent years formulating innovations in F&B, I can confidently say that this digital change can be as simple as transforming your old physical menu to a digital one.
Following the pandemic, digital menus have now become increasingly popular enabling customers to scan QR codes to access a digitalised version of the restaurant’s menu on their smart device. It has become commonplace, not just within the F&B industry butnin other industries as well – where they have adopted the technology to safeguard customers and streamline processes. It is not only a trend now but has the potential to become the way forward for menus in the future.
While on the surface, this practice is done to create a contactless environment and thereby provide a safer and more comfortable experience for customers- undeniably an important factor, in reality, there are a whole host of other benefits that make digital menus the must tool have for any enterprising F&B operator.
Time-Saved is Money Well Spent
A very clear added benefit of digital menus is the time savings it offers. Chiefly, digital menus help cut down on customer wait time when ordering. Being able to access a menu instantaneously allows customers to peruse their potential orders and make up their minds before even heading to the counter or having a waiter called to the table.
On top of that, digital menus – especially those tailored made for businesses like Shopzpin – a business digitalisation innovator, allow restaurants to display stunning images of every one of their dishes, doing away with the need for lengthy or confusing descriptions and easing customer purchases. In fact, studies have indicated that the presence of images increases the likelihood of a dish being selected especially amongst more visually inclined customers.
Ultimately, this means faster decisions which translate to quicker and more frequent sales.
Speaking of which, digital menus help do away with both of the aforementioned items – over the counter orders and at table orders through waiters – both a significant time sink at conventional restaurants. This cut-down on wait time – as much as 15% lesser in certain scenarios, will also reflect on customers positively as they too won’t have to deal with the tedium of waiting in line or the hassle of trying to flag a waiter down – leading to an overall better customer experience which could help with repeat sales down the line.
The time-saved from requiring waiters to either be patrolling tables or handling lengthy orders at the register can instead be translated to a more efficient back kitchen operation or greater attention paid to overall store cleanliness and presentation – all equally important factors to creating a successful restaurant.
Tighten the Purse Strings, Digitally
While the above certainly does help in cost savings, allowing for restaurants to operate with leaner teams, the cost savings don’t stop there.
By going digital, owners can stand to save up on printing costs by never having to update a physical menu again. Any new menu items, revisions to prices or discounts can simply be reflected and updated within the menu almost instantaneously and even personalised to individual branches of a chain restaurant.
When it comes to discounts and promos, owners would not only save on additional tags for menus but they would also save on the need to print any additional flyers or materials with all the new info simply being displayed within the digital menu. All of these small costs can tend to add up into the thousands in the long term and that can be the difference between a successful business and a shuttered one.
Digital Menus Drive Sales
Digital menus can even improve sales – directly benefiting your revenue. Digital menus allow a degree of customisation that facilitate innovative business strategies – enabling operators to highlight special menu items or even include videos to drive sales on specific products or to push for impulse add-ons.
Beyond that, digital menus allow F&B businesses to run campaigns and promotions all native to customer devices – enhancing the ability to gather a strong customer database. As any restauranteur will tell you, this is the holy grail of information that can pave long-term success for your business. Building a cult following and garnering repeat customers becomes easier through digital menus. In fact, according to recent figures, digital menu boards can contribute to an increase in sales by a staggering 64% in some restaurants.
At the end of the day, as a passionate foodie and a champion of entrepreneurs myself, I can only hope that my sharing of the many hidden benefits of digital menus will help more restaurants. Using industry-leading and customised F&B tools like Shopzpin will certainly help but that first step to digitalise is in your control and I hope this helps guide you along the right path.