Hazlnut Food Photography Tips

Hazlnut’s tips for food photography for social media and menu, including tips on framing, props, lighting, plating, and more.

In recent posts, we have emphasized how important food photography is on social media and online ordering for customers to see. Research shows that adding photos of the product on an online ordering page can increase sales by 30%, help build the brand, and increase customers’ conversion rate. With all of this data to support pictures’ importance, we decided to give our tips for all restaurant photographers who want to snap some photos.

Presentation

How a dish looks can significantly impact how the picture comes out, and presentation is critical. A “the camera eats first” culture that craves beautiful looking food, giving them what they want can draw them in. Factors in the presentation to consider are plating, props, lighting, and background. All of these things working together is the key to snapping the perfect picture of the dish.

Plating

When plating a dish for photos, present it in the way it is served to the customer. Plating the food one way in a picture then serving it a different way can confuse and disappoint customers. Although most orders are for takeout or delivery these days, try to avoid plating the dish in plastic containers. Cheap packaging can come across as telling the customer the food is exclusively for takeout, and customers won’t consider it when thinking of where they would like to dine in.

Food Photography Background and Props

Props are a fun way to show what is in a dish or pairs well with it, like putting a champagne bottle next to champagne infused cupcakes. Props can also be used to create the background and help encourage the customer to order more. Placing a glass of red wine in the background of a steak can get someone to think about the pairing and how they would enjoy it. Going back to the “the camera eats first,” a customer may be inclined to want to recreate what they saw, so they need to order what they saw. Backgrounds can help set the scene and get the person in the mood for food. An all black background can hinder rather than help because food isn’t best enjoyed in a void.

Lighting

Lighting has a huge impact that I didn’t believe until I saw it. The way a camera sees the item is different than how we see the same thing with our eyes, so with proper lighting, the dish can look better on camera than it does in person. A cameraman for the Cooking Channel showed this to me in real time. He panned over a tray of sticky buns that were directly in front of me. I watched the live feed from the camera, and the sticky buns on the feed looked more delicious than the ones in front of me, even though they were the same thing. The cameraman explained the science, but he said the key was the lighting.

Food Photography Framing

Once the dish’s presentation is ready, it is time to take some pictures, but it is crucial to consider the picture’s framing. A photo too close can make the dish look strange and take away from the background and props. One framed too far out can lose details on the plate, and the customer may not be drawn in. Choosing the shot angle can take some planning. When we look at food sitting down, we look at it from a 45-degree angle, which is a natural angle. A birds-eye view angle can be tricky when incorporating props but can really pay off with individual dishes.

Taking the Picture

At last, the time has come to snap the picture and capture it. Most modern cell phones have cameras that will take a high-quality image. It is good to take a few shots from various angles to have a selection to choose the best from. Never be afraid to play around with all of the elements. Have some fun with it. While pictures are essential, customers can sense if it isn’t genuine, which can hinder rather than help.

Check out some other tips here.

How Hazlnut Makes Contactless Ordering Easy

Contactless ordering has gained a lot of popularity, as customers become less comfortable with handing their cash or card to a cashier

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken quite a toll on the US economy, but perhaps no industry has been hit harder than hospitality. Lockdowns, dine-in restrictions, and fears about food preparation have all contributed to many businesses closing their doors for good.

If your business has survived to this point, congratulations, that’s a huge accomplishment! But as a vaccine rolls out and this virus becomes a part of history, a new normal will set in regarding the health and safety standards people want and expect from businesses.

Contactless ordering is a term that has gained a lot of popularity recently, as customers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with handing a cashier their cash or credit card. So how can your business navigate this trend and continue to serve customers in a way they expect and appreciate? Hazlnut provides a suite of features to make this transition easy for everyone!

Ordering for Pick-up, Curbside, or Delivery

contactless ordering

If your restaurant doesn’t have an online or mobile ordering platform, you’re already behind the times and failing to give customers the convenient ordering methods that are essential to restaurants in this environment. Hazlnut’s core order types, pickup, curbside, and delivery, all provide ways that a customer can safely obtain their meal without having to come in contact with other people. And if you need something more tailored to your business, Hazlnut gives you the ability to create a “custom” order type to perfectly fit your unique situation!

These alternate order types make it possible for customers to completely avoid waiting in a line of people, drastically improving social distancing and hopefully helping to stop the spread of this virus. Being able to have food placed at your doorstep or in the trunk of your car can help alleviate some of the anxiety customers have and allows you to continue serving everyone effectively.

In-Store Scanning

Mobile apps through Hazlnut include a very useful feature called “Mobile Pay.” Much like what you’d see at Starbucks, this feature allows a customer to pay for an in-store transaction by simply scanning a QR code at the register. On most Clover devices, such as the Clover Station, you’re able to flip the screen around and let the customer scan on the built-in camera. No extra hardware needed! But for those who expect to do a lot of scanning, we recommend buying an external scanner, which completes this “Starbucks experience” of paying with your phone.

Hazlnut’s apps also have a built-in loyalty program, so each time a customer scans their phone to pay, they’ll also be earning points which can be redeemed for rewards. This can really help generate more regular, loyal customers customers which are even more important to stay afloat during these trying times.

QR Codes on Tables for Contactless Ordering

qr codes

Another popular way to generate contactless ordering for customers is to use QR codes codes to take customers directly to your online menu. This is done by placing the QR codes on tables or signs around the restaurant. The customer can easily scan it with their phone and instantly browse the menu while giving them peace of mind.

Hazlnut has a few great ways to make this work easier and to be more customized to your brand! For example, by utilizing Hazlnut’s custom order types, you can create an “Order from Table” option and allow the customer to select their table number upon placing the order. That way your employees will know exactly which table to walk the order to. In addition to this, Hazlnut creates a branded QR code template that you can put on every table. This allows you to make sure your brand is well represented no matter how customers place an order!

Learn more about these and other great features Hazlnut offers by scheduling a demo!

Boost Your Restaurant’s Social Media Engagement in 2021

Looking back at 2020, one lesson we’ve learned at Hazlnut is the importance of social media and digital branding.

We are on our phones more than ever giving restaurants a unique opportunity to reach more customers and sell not only food, but a social experience through digital marketing. With the crazy year we have had coming to an end, we can start looking to the upcoming one and what we can do to prepare ourselves for it. At Hazlnut, we have a few ideas to help you start 2021 off on the right foot!

Social Media

With smart phone cameras competing with DSLRs these days, we live in a time where food photography is shown off and photography has become an integral part of how we choose where to eat. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and even LinkedIn have become channels for sharing delicious food – so that’s where our focus will be in 2021. When social media is managed well, it shows off the food and reassures a customer that the restaurant is open, trustworthy, active. Going to the social media page of a restaurant and seeing the last post was months or years ago can turn away customers. We believe that when it comes to food, people shop with their eyes so posting high quality photos of your menu that can be shared and shown off can really help elevate your marketing reach and bring in more hungry customers.

social media engagement

SEO

People need to be able to find your business when they search it, so SEO is important. We all know no one goes to the second page of Google search results, so being front and center is key to getting clicks. SEO is something that needs to be refined restaurant to restaurant, there is no blanket solution but there are tips and tricks. For example, when you post on Instagram you can edit your caption in advanced settings to include Alt Text to increase your restaurant’s visibility. There are companies that specialize in SEO or with some time and research it can be dialed in by anyone. This is something that will take some time, but it will pay off in the end.

improve seo

Now that they found you… What now?

Once someone finds your social media channel and decides your food looks amazing and they MUST have to have it now, the next step is finding a way to order. That’s where Hazlnut comes in with online ordering. We build a branded online ordering page and give you a link to it that you can put on all of your social media and website directly. Posting a picture of a new item that looks amazing and garners a bunch of likes? Put the OLO link in the description to convert it to a sale on the spot. The online ordering link is a tool to get all of those people that you were able to reach using SEO and social media to make the final step to fall in love with your restaurant.

teds tacos

Increase Ticket Size with Hazlnut

“Chips and a drink do sound nice…” is the standard reply when customers are offered an upsell, but you wouldn’t know otherwise if it is never offered in the first place. Employees will occasionally forget during the lunch rush or get caught in a conversation with the customer, and they never get the chance to recommend the add-on. Hazlnut ordering never forgets to offer a tailored upsell to the customer. This leads to more upsells added to their carts, and a higher ticket size. Historically, we’ve calculated a 15% increase on ticket size comparing dine-in to Hazlnut orders that have an upsell. On average, this is $7 added-on per ticket.

Tailored Upsell

A few tailored upsells receive a positive response more often than a single, generic upsell offering the same add-on no matter what is in the cart. Offering an item that the customer already added to their cart or offering sweet treats with a healthy meal seems a little silly. Hazlnut upsells solves this with a dynamic upsell system that reads into the customer’s cart before offering your carefully selected upsell. It will read from your list of recommended selections based on your set priorities until it finds the best match for the customer. Using a series of what we call “triggers” and “avoids”, the customer will always see the optimal recommendation to pair with their meal.

Tasteful Timing

Another key thing to consider is the fact that we don’t want to harass the customer with multiple pop-ups. To avoid this, the upsell is set to only suggest one item, and it will only appear the first time the customer goes into their cart. If they return to the menu to add something, or maybe wanted to double check something on the menu, they will not be prompted again on that order.

Upsell Photos

We have shared in the past how beneficial it is to upload appetizing food images, and the same applies to the upsell pop-up. A verbal offer from a server doesn’t have the same appeal as a mouth-watering photograph on a device. Nothing quite compares to the extra rumble in your stomach when you see the freshly fried churros drizzled in chocolate. It’s so tantalizing, there’s no way your customer can resist adding it to their cart. Ultimately, adding a few custom upsells to your Hazlnut Kiosk, mobile app, and online ordering will drastically increase the odds that your average ticket size will go up by 15% or more.

Menu Management with Hazlnut

Summer is here which means new ingredients and flavors are in season and some menu management is needed. With the changing of the seasons, there are bound to be some menu changes to reflect the new inventory. Ensuring that the offerings online match the offerings in-store will require a bit of clean up and we have designed our system to make this as simple as it can be. With the Hazlnut dashboard now available on Clover stations (2018 or newer), it has never been easier to make menu changes.

Easy Menu Management

Menu changes are always going to be a part of the restaurant’s operation, the frequency of which varies. Some restaurants only change as needed when they can’t get an ingredient they need. Some change seasonally, some daily, as the chefs have the freedom to make whatever they want that day. Whatever the reason for a change, it is as simple as a few clicks to mark an item as out of stock or hide it entirely from the online ordering and app. It is just as simple to create new things or unhide items that were previously hidden.

Managing Pictures and Descriptions

When creating that new summer menu following the latest trends and available ingredients, there will probably be brand new menu items never seen before. When creating that new item, we make it simple to add a picture. As demonstrated in a previous blog post found here, we think food photography is essential. Adding a description can help the customer know what is in the item they are looking at.

Managing Modifiers

Another thing that can be toggled easily is modifiers, so those seasonal flavors can be easily swapped out. Coffee shops can easily toggle available flavor modifiers to match seasons and holidays. Peppermint mocha to chocolate-covered strawberry to shamrock to s’mores is made easy. All it takes is logging into the dashboard, finding the modifier, and turning the display on and off.

Helpful walkthroughs on how to do all of the things listed here can be found on our FAQ page under the “Menu Management” category. It can be found at the bottom of the sidebar on the dashboard or accessed through the link here.

How Hazlnut can help with catering

After more than a year of video-chat holidays, business meetings with pets on-screen, and virtual schooling, the country is returning to some level of normalcy. Businesses are re-opening, group limits are being lifted, traveling is resuming, and, best of all, we can spend time with loved ones face to face. There is a year’s worth of events to make up for, and these events need to be catered. Hazlnut already has a way to allow customers to order catering. It is built right into our existing service, and everything we are about to go over is included in current Hazlnut subscriptions at no additional cost to our partners.

Features in Hazlnut Catering

We have packed our catering option with the features already available in all Hazlnut products. This includes orders printing on the restaurants printers and being processed by the restaurant’s existing service. Any customer on their favorite restaurant’s app can easily order catering using the methods they are used to, no need to learn something new! The biggest changes are how the restaurant sets up the item in the Hazlnut Dashboard. Using the availability setting on an item the restaurant can set how many days notice they need for the item. Once set up a catering button will appear on the location within the app. A new link will be provided to post online for web based ordering.

Setting up the catering menu

Our partners can find all the tools needed to set up their catering menu in the Hazlnut dashboard. A helpful FAQ detailing step-by-step instructions on how to set it up can be found here. Just like our other services, the items will need to be added to the Clover inventory first. Once the items are made, it is time to arrange them using the Hazlnut dashboard. The Hazlnut dashboard is accessible from a computer; it can also be accessed using a Clover station on the Hazlnut app (only on Clover stations 2018 or newer).

For new and existing partners wanting to learn more, reach out to sales@hazlnut.com to set up a demo.

Boosting Restaurant’s Social Media Engagement in 2021

Looking back at 2020 one lesson we’ve learned at Hazlnut is the importance of social media and digital branding. We are on our phones more than ever giving restaurants a unique opportunity to reach more customers and sell not only food, but a social experience through digital marketing. With the crazy year we have had coming to an end, we can start looking to the upcoming one and what we can do to prepare ourselves for it. At Hazlnut, we have a few ideas to help restaurants start 2021 off on the right foot!

Social Media

With smart phone cameras competing with DSLRs these days, we live in a time where food photography is shown off and photography has become an integral part of how we choose where to eat. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and even LinkedIn have become channels for sharing delicious food – so that’s where our focus will be in 2021. When a restaurant’s social media is managed well, it shows off the food and reassures a customer that the restaurant is open, trustworthy, active. Going to the social media page of a restaurant and seeing the last post was months or years ago can turn away customers. We believe that when it comes to food, people shop with their eyes so posting high quality photos of a menu that can be shared and shown off can really help elevate marketing reach and bring in more hungry customers.

SEO

People need to be able to find the business when they search it, so SEO is important. We all know no one goes to the second page of Google search results, so being front and center is key to getting clicks. SEO is something that needs to be refined restaurant to restaurant, there is no blanket solution but there are tips and tricks. For example, when posting on Instagram there is an option to edit the caption in advanced settings to include Alt Text to increase the restaurant’s visibility. There are companies that specialize in SEO or with some time and research it can be dialed in by anyone. This is something that will take some time, but it will pay off in the end.

They found the restaurant…..what now?

Once someone finds a restaurant’s social media channel and decides the food looks amazing and they MUST have to have it now, the next step is finding a way to order. That’s where Hazlnut comes in with online ordering. We build a branded online ordering page and give the restaurant a link to it that they can put on all of their social media and website directly. Posting a picture of a new item that looks amazing and garners a bunch of likes? Put the OLO link in the description to convert it to a sale on the spot. The online ordering link is a tool to get all of those people that they were able to reach using SEO and social media to make the final step to fall in love with the restaurant.

5 Ways Hazlnut Will Make Your Holidays Happier

On-the-Go Ordering Simplified

With holiday savings at major retailers ramping up, the restaurant industry is preparing to feed all of these shoppers. Considering the current events, we have a huge number of people grabbing their food and drinks to-go. When people are out shopping for deals, they don’t typically want to stop and sit down. With Hazlnut it has never been easier for your customers to place an order while waiting in line somewhere else. With future ordering, your customers can place an order for pick-up from the retail store they are waiting at. Their food will be cooked, packed and ready as soon as they’ve gotten through the line, checked out and make their way to your restaurant.

Gifts and Food from the Couch

Retailers are shifting to an online ordering model for this holiday season to accommodate those who can’t go out. It is estimated that a third of all holiday shopping will be done online this year. Hazlnut is here to let you reach those customers too. Our apps and online ordering support delivery options, all you need to do is supply the driver. From the comfort of their home, customers can order gifts and have dinner delivered to their door!

Push Season’s Greetings

Thinking of a restaurant to order from to host loved ones can take a lot of energy and time. Make your restaurant the easy choice! With push notifications you can remind customers you have the best product. Customers on the run will be drawn to your restaurant because they won’t have to make that arduous choice of where to go. That quick suggestion in the form of a push notification is the only nudge they’ll need to choose you.

Catering Ease

Catering has never been easier to manage with Hazlnut. We have the ability to add a catering menu button on the app and a catering page for your online ordering. If customers are ordering catering for home or for an office, it is easy for them to customize their order and easy for you to set it up without a hassle. With future ordering limits, we close off time slots once they are full. No need to worry about all those orders being picked up or delivered at once!

Grab Valuable Real Estate

With the release of new phones like the iPhone 12 and the Galaxy S20, people will be opening boxes with new phones. This opens new real estate for your app to take up, with newfound potential to increase the number of your app users and overall customer base. At Hazlnut we want to give our clients the ability to offer their customers an app experience on the same level as Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A. Our apps have a loyalty program and one-touch reordering so you can grow your list of regular customers. Storage space on a phone is valuable and we guarantee your app is worth every byte of it.

Cruise Through COVID-19 with Online Ordering

During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have had a majority of their business moved to mobile and online ordering.

This puts a lot of strain on both the restaurant and the ordering platform. At Hazlnut, we make sure that your ordering platform holds up during these high-volume situations. While most providers have run into bugs as a result of the increased volume, Hazlnut has three key features to help restaurants cruise through COVID-19 and avoid any online ordering issues.

1) Forming a Digital Lineup ?‍ – Order Limits on Timeslots

For in-store transactions, lines have been a way to help manage the number of orders being taken. This helps the kitchen to keep track of orders coming in without being overwhelmed. During COVID-19, restaurants have learned that online ordering lends itself to many customers ordering for the exact same timeslot or placing orders at the same time. This can quickly lead to a lot of unhappy customers because the demand can’t be met by the business.

Hazlnut saw this issue and implemented a new feature to fix the problem: Limiting the number of orders that can be placed for each timeslot. For example, if a restaurant can only handle three orders in a five-minute period, the 1PM timeslot would disappear after a third order is placed, leaving 1:05PM as the next available time. At Hazlnut we understand that each business is unique, so the number of orders each timeslot can handle is completely customizable. Whether that’s 3, 5, 7, or even just 1, Hazlnut has you covered.

2) Added Time that Makes Large Orders a Breeze ? – Order Lockout

Most online ordering platforms work off of an average prep time, listing earliest available pickup time based on the average time a restaurant needs to prepare an order. This works well in most situations, but not all. A small taco shack can’t be expected to prepare a $200 order in the same 10-minute window they use for a regular order. So what if an unusually large order comes through?

Hazlnut thought this through and created Order Lockout (Dollar based lockout), which adds additional prep time based on dollar amount. The default setting for this feature is that for every $50, 10 minutes gets added to the prep time, but again, each business is different, so those numbers are completely customizable. In our taco shop example, a $200 order would add 40 minutes of prep time, giving them 50 minutes to get everything ready, preparing the kitchen staff and the customer with a more realistic timeframe. Still need more time? Of course, these parameters are also customizable.

3) Volume Balance for During Peak Times ? – Volume Lockout

There is one other common scenario where average prep time falls short: an unusual increase in volume. Whether it’s a holiday or there’s a sporting event letting out, sometimes overall volume increases to unforeseen levels. While most online ordering platforms cannot account for this, Hazlnut’s system looks at total volume (online and in-store) from Clover and pushes back prep time incrementally based on how busy the restaurant is.

This feature is called “Volume Lockout” and it looks at how busy a restaurant is compared to their typical volume. If it notices an unusual spike in volume, it will add additional prep time to give the restaurant more time to get orders ready until such a time that volume returns to normal.

These three features are just a few examples of how Hazlnut is helping restaurants navigate and cruise through COVID-19 with online ordering solutions. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today!

How Hazlnut wants to help Small Business Using PPP Loan

Small businesses make up over 99% of US businesses, and Hazlnut, being a part of that statistic, wants to help other small businesses. There are resources in place from the SBA that allow small businesses to stay afloat in these trying times, and new guidelines on those resources have recently been published. The new guidelines may allow some funds from the small business PPP loan program to be used on software, and that is where Hazlnut fits in. We provide contactless ordering to keep your employees and customers safe. More information about that can be found here.

According to various sources, the SBA is now allowing 40% of the funds received from the small business PPP loan to go to non-payroll expenses. This helps small businesses allocate some funds to create a safer environment for employees and customers. Using contactless ordering is a sure way to create a safer environment for everyone and Hazlnut provides the means to set up contactless ordering. In our contactless ordering blog post, we talked about order types and how we can customize them to fit most contactless order types.

We are here to get restaurants set up with a premium contactless ordering solution fully integrated with their Clover station. We offer online ordering and mobile apps and are running several promotions. Contact us at sales@hazlnut.com, and we would be happy to answer any questions and show a demo of our system. Please contact your PPP lender to ensure they will cover Hazlnut in the loan.

Keep the Ice Cream Frozen with Hazlnut

Hazlnut’s apps and online ordering has features to help both restaurants and their customers with prep time and ticket printing.

“Awesome, my fries were delivered cold” is a phrase said by nobody. Most people like their food nice and fresh. Unfortunately, with the heavy reliance on third-party delivery, a lot of people are having to settle for sub-par food temperatures. Nobody is satisfied when food is delivered in a way the restaurant would have never intended to serve it to the customer. Here at Hazlnut, we set out to eliminate the risk of customers receiving their food in a way that would result in a bad review. We have developed tools that influence the time quoted to customers and the timing of when the ticket prints to kitchen for prep.

Average Prep Time

Something our system relies on is what we call the “average prep time”, which is estimated by the restaurant to provide a baseline of how long it takes to prepare an order from the moment it prints to when it’s ready to leave the door. The first thing it affects is the time quoted to the customer as the earliest possible pick-up time during check-out. A customer won’t check out at 3:00 and expect their food at 3:01, that just isn’t realistic. The ticket will then print to the kitchen letting them know they can start working on the order… Thanks to the average prep time, the order will always be prepared on-time. The restaurant will never have to worry about time-managing a future order ticket (i.e. an order that was placed in advance that morning, but is expected to be picked up in the evening won’t print until it needs to). This system ensures that when the customer comes to pick up their food, it will be as hot and fresh as it can possibly be. This also helps timing when deliveries should go out; the system will quote the customer an expected delivery time range based on what zone they are in and the average time the restaurant has determined.

Ticket Size

A default prep time sounds great, but when a huge order comes in, that same prep time is no longer accurate. A large order is going to take longer than usual to prepare, luckily Hazlnut has thought of this already. From the Hazlnut Dashboard, the restaurant can set it up to add a few more minutes of prep time to account for the size of the order. It is designed to add x amount of minutes to the default prep time per every x dollars on an order. So, it could be setup to add 10 minutes of prep time for every $50 ordered. If the default prep time was 15 minutes, and someone placed a $100 order under these conditions, the system would quote the customer a 35-minute wait time. This gives the restaurant an extra 20 minutes to get the order ready on-time.

Volume Based Prep Time

The next feature that can adjust the prep time is the restaurant’s current order volume. A benefit of our Clover-integrated software is that we have the ability to read the restaurant’s order volume trends and identify when the restaurant is slammed with an unexpected rush of customers. When the system detects that the restaurant is experiencing a rush, it will dynamically add time to the quoted prep time. If there are any future orders it will also print the ticket earlier than usual to give the kitchen enough time to make it.

Information on how prep time can be set up and managed can be found here on our FAQ. For more information, please email sales@hazlnut.com or to see it in action schedule a demo here.

6 Creative Ways Restaurants Are Making Money During COVID-19

6 Creative Ways Restaurants Are Making Money During COVID-19

At Hazlnut we are passionate about helping small businesses in our community, specifically restaurants. With most stores closing their dining rooms mid-March, the difficulty of making money during COVID-19 has forced managers and staff to evolve their businesses, to stay afloat, and to prevent layoffs. Through the use of technology and flexible business operations, many restaurants are finding ways to continue to serve their customers, despite the pandemic. Check out our top 6 ways restaurants can make some extra cash while social distancing and staying safe.

Online Ordering

Through the use of an online ordering provider restaurants are able to quickly and efficiently get customer’s orders ready and have them waiting for them at the door.

Online ordering providers that offer direct Point of Sale (POS) integration are the easiest way to start. On the Clover POS, for example, Hazlnut provides a high quality, user friendly ordering page where every order is processed directly on the Clover POS, so there aren’t any processing or transaction fees.

making money during covid-19
Hazlnut’s ordering platform integrates seamlessly with the Clover Point of Sale (POS)

Curbside Pickup

By allowing customers to stay in their cars and have their order walked out to them, restaurants are able to make money during COVID-19 while keeping their customers as safe as possible. We recommend offering to place the bags in the trunk of a customer’s car so that they never have to get within 6-feet.

Using Hazlnut’s system, for example, each customer selecting “Curb side” is prompted to type in the make, model, and color of their car. This information prints out on every receipt, making it very easy to figure out which car each order belongs to.

Free Delivery

In an effort to serve the community and boost sales, restaurants are beginning to offer free delivery. Whether a restaurant does their own delivery or uses a third-party service like GrubHub or UberEats, waiving delivery fees can be a great way to help customers stay-at-home. Free delivery helps to promote well-being of the community and can increase customer loyalty increasing business profit in the long run.

making money during covid-19
Offering free delivery is great way to generate business during this pandemic

Discounted Gift Cards

By offering gift cards at a discounted rates, restaurants can receive a much needed influx of cash. In a sense, it’s a loan from your customers. They give you funds to help during this difficult time, you give them a little extra money to use down the road when things are better. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Simply offering 5-10% off of gift card purchases will entice plenty of regular customers to buy now.

Wholesale

Why not make money off of food that would otherwise be wasted? Moe’s Southwest Grill is doing this by selling excess rice, beans, and other ingredients by the pound at a discounted rate, much like a grocery store. This serves to help out people in the community, as well as help reduce their loss on excess food.

Selling excess ingredients in bulk is a great way to reduce waste

Ramp Up Marketing Efforts with Purpose

People aren’t going to buy from you if they don’t know you’re open! Designate a specific person to focus on social media marketing to spread the word. One way to go viral is by pledging to give back a portion of your sales to the community or offer a sale to essential workers. For example, Maple Street Biscuit Company uses their campaign #ThankYouThursday to offer $1 biscuits to teachers, healthcare workers, and restaurant industry workers.  Some business is better than no business, and the more people you can get the attention of, the better impact you can create.

Address Verification System (AVS): Fraud Prevention

Combat fraudulent orders with address verification tools

As a business, the customer experience is always the number one priority. For customers who order ahead, that experience begins at your website, ordering site or mobile ordering app. In situations where the customer is ordering remotely (not presenting their card in-person), you may run into the risk of fraud. It’s simply unavoidable. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk as consumer, and also as a business.

Image sourced from the Consumer Sentinel Network data book published by the FTC in 2020

As a consumer

The FTC published their 2020 findings for the Consumer Sentinel Network data book which found more than 2 million fraud reports were filed. Between January – September of 2021, it is estimated that more than 2 million Americans fell victim to card fraud, with a total loss calculated at $3.3 Billion. Thieves can gain access a few different ways, including:

Physical theft: This one is a no-brainer. Theft has existed since the creation of the Mesopotamian shekel, and perhaps even since Otis the Iceman. Keep your wallets and purses close to you at all times, and only hand over your card to a trustworthy person/vendor or if you feel your life is in danger. 

Requested: Suspicious phone calls, mailed invoices and phishing emails are relatively familiar methods to most people living in the 21st century. More recently, similar requests can be sent via text message, social media, and QR code scanning. Before providing personal information to anybody, make sure it is a bill you were expecting to pay or it is being sent from a trustworthy sender. 

Skimming: Magnetic strips offer little-to-no security; inserting the chip for payment is more secure. However, if a merchant only accepts swipe technology, there’s not much the buyer can do. The malware can be installed physically, but most recently it has been accessed through the network. This malware would impact the merchants’ entire point-of-sale ecosystem. Obviously, not all swipe technologies are monitored by hackers who can remotely steal card information, but as a buyer you should be aware of this risk.

Malware: Phishing emails are relatively familiar methods to most people living in the 21st century. More recently, untrustworthy links can be sent via text message, social media, and QR code scanning. Before clicking on any links, make sure it is a message you were expecting to receive or it is being sent from a trustworthy sender. 

Image sourced from the Consumer Sentinel Network data book published by the FTC in 2020

As a business

If a customer’s card is stolen or they were the victim of a card reader scam, someone who isn’t the card owner may be able to use that card information to make fraudulent purchases. As a restaurant owner, you can take extra steps to guarantee their card cannot be used on your web or app ordering by anyone other than the authorized card user.

When adding their payment, customers will be prompted to enter more than just a CVV

AVS Security

Hazlnut has a great tool to protect not only your customers, but also your business from fraudulent activity. By requiring a postal code or billing address, the person entering the card information to pay online will need to know more than what can be found on the physical card. As a business, it will reduce the amount of chargebacks received since you are taking those extra steps to block fraudulent charges at your business. 

Clover has an account setting dedicated to fraud prevention tools that allow you to automatically void suspicious payments taken from Virtual Terminal and the eCommerce API. They don’t block payments taken from your point of sale device, but it will validate additional information. By default, all Hazlnut orders require the Card Verification Value (CVV) and a matching/valid expiration date. If you would like to use the Clover Address Verification System (AVS) tools, Hazlnut can require additional fields including postal code and street address. The Clover payment system will validate this information and accept or decline the payment.

How to turn on Address Verification (Clover):

You can enable it by going to your Clover dashboard (please do this from a web browser)

1. Click on Account & Setup on the bottom left
2. Under the ‘Transactions’ group, click on Fraud Tools
3. Click to ‘Show Rules’ for the Address Verification System (AVS) group
4. Here, there are 6 options that perform different functions. 
5. Make your selection, and click ‘Save’. 

You can also visit the Clover Help Center for more information (Scroll down to “Set up fraud prevention tools”): https://www.clover.com/en-US/help/set-options-for-using-virtual-terminal 

Please let us know if you would like to prevent fraudulent transactions through Hazlnut with the Clover Address Verification System (AVS) by contacting us today.

Physical Deterrents

Also, keep in mind… Your staff are always the first line of defense. If you’re faced with an increased number of disputes and looking for options to avoid these chargebacks, you can have the staff require identification or have the customer present the credit card used at pickup. This simple, old fashioned approach can help deter future instances of credit card fraud as would be bad actors will know this is your policy and look for easier prey. At Hazlnut, you can even add this as an urgent message or a pop-up to let customers know they’ll need to bring ID and the name on the ID needs to match the name on the card at pickup.

Of course, as we mentioned in the beginning, all steps taken should consider the overall impact to the customer experience. It’s give and take. You want to add more protections to help your store avoid chargebacks while not impeding the overall customer experience.