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, 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.
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
By allowing customers to stay in their cars and have their
order walked out to them, restaurants are able to make money 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Which ordering platforms are best for Clover Point of Sale?
One of the strengths of the Clover point of sale (PoS) is it’s robust app marketplace. Here you’ll find many different app developers competing to provide functionality for your system beyond what comes standard. These services can range from inventory management, HR and personnel related apps to online or mobile ordering apps with everything in between.
Today we examine some of the online and mobile ordering providers to assess strengths and weaknesses of each platform. While Clover makes the process of selecting an integrated ordering app as easy as installing an app on your phone, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. You will want to take some time and evaluate the merits of each provider to see which one is best for your restaurant. Trust us, your business will thank you for it.
“But first, what makes for a good ordering platform?”
Every restaurant is going to have their own idea of what’s important to them but typically, requirements are going to fall into one of these 5 broad categories.
Accessibility– being available to your customers through multiple digital channels such as online ordering and on their smart phones…. reach them where they are.
Features and Functionality – what other features come with the service beyond ordering? Is this provider adding new features regularly and do you have access to new features as they come out?
Marketing Capabilities – The ability to engage with your customers and reach them with the right offers at the right time.
Analytics and Account Management – The ability to view and export your data to gain meaningful insights. This can also include the ability to change your menu and other account settings that control your customer facing channels.
Quality –This ordering page or mobile app will be a reflection of your brand. This is where you want to put your best foot forward. In today’s age, nearly 100% of your customers are heavy users of technology and can spot the difference in a quality product from a mile away. Whether it’s buggy apps or slow loading pages, quality matters. If customers think it’s a garbage product, they’re just not going to use it.
* For the sake of this comparison we’re excluding PoS integration since all companies being evaluated integrate with the Clover PoS system.
So now that we know the criteria, let’s take a look at the five ordering platforms that we’ll be evaluating.
Let’s get started!
1. Hazlnut – best overall platform
At Hazlnut, we provide beautiful, natively built mobile and web apps that customers will find engaging and easy to use. All with your branding and personality throughout.
These include the latest features that customers are beginning to expect. Features such as saved order history for one-touch reordering, “in-store loyalty” so customers can scan their phone at the register to get credit for purchases and redeem rewards, curbside pickup and custom delivery zones just to name a few.
Hazlnut’s cost is slightly higher than others due to it being a “all-in-one” solution which means you don’t need to cobble together different services. Also, with no fees per order you can recoup the cost within the first few days of each month and not worry about it beyond that.
The platform is powered on the back-end by an easy to use client dashboard where you can update your menu beyond what is pulled in from the Clover system. This includes adding food images and descriptions among other attributes. You also have the ability to view customer data and segment them into groups for tracking and marketing purposes. From here you can also send push notifications and targeted offers to your customers and manage your loyalty program all from a single online access point.
Hazlnut outperforms the others on this list by giving you all the tools and functionality to boost sales and customer engagement, helping you compete with the larger national chains.
Overall Grade: A Best for: Multi-unit restaurants with strong consistent branding who are looking for a premium “all-in-one” solution.
2. OrderSpoon (4 Leaf Labs) – Good online ordering, but stuck in the 90s
OrderSpoon does well at online ordering with robust and consistent performance in order handling. However, the platform looks and feels dated with mostly text based menus featuring little-to-no images and block styling.
They also offer “mobile apps” but beware… all apps are not created equal. These typically consist of one or two screens that simply redirect to your website. This can provide for a bad experience and actually reduce customer engagement and time spent in the app. If you’re going to have a mobile app, make sure you do it right and don’t just “check the box”.
“but beware…all apps are not created equal…”
OrderSpoon does one thing very well and that’s online ordering. But they lack many features and functionality beyond that and their look and feel is dated and unappealing.
Overall Grade: B- Best for: Concepts looking for basic online ordering. Perhaps better suited for an owner/operator who doesn’t have the time or personnel to focus on customer engagement and marketing and is just looking to get started with online ordering.
3. Menufy – Many features, but no branded options and pay per order
Menufy is one of the more well-rounded options in terms of features. They offer account management through their “Menufy Manager” client dashboard as well unique features such as Facebook and Google+ integrations.
They do offer iOS and Android apps but the big caveat here being they are not custom branded for your restaurant. So you’ll be telling your customers to download the Menufy app. Starbucks, Panera, Chick-Fil-A etc. aren’t telling their customers to download someone else’s app, so why should you?! Adding insult to injury the app will include all other Menufy restaurants. Meaning your customers may plan to order from you but end up ordering from someone else who catches their eye.
Also, with Menufy you pay $1.50 per order plus 2.5% + $0.30 per credit card transaction. However, you can choose to pass the processing fee along to your customers (everyone loves convenience fees!). But paying per order means you can never truly cover the cost like you can with a flat monthly fee structure.
Overall Grade: B Best for: Single store concepts or larger ticket size smaller chains where branded options are not important and per order fees are less of an issue.
4. Kipos Labs – Branded apps, but low quality
Kipos labs one of the few here to offer online ordering along with branded mobile apps. Also, they don’t charge a setup fee. This makes them the only one on this list offering branded apps with no upfront costs. But this may be a case of “you get what you pay for” as the app design is text based and unappealing while the layout doesn’t appear to be suited for modern phone screens as menus and text typically run off screen (tested on iPhone XS).
Aesthetics are one thing but what’s more alarming are the issues with functionality. In the versions we tested we repeatedly found crashes along with spelling and grammatical errors throughout. They’re headed in the right direction but maybe not quite ready for prime time.
Overall Grade: C- Best for: It’s hard to recommend their platform as it is today. It seems like their offering is “almost there” but too many issues to get past in its current state. The most devastating of which is functionality deficiencies.
5. Smart Online Order – Low cost online ordering, not much else
Smart Online Order definitely positions themselves as the low cost leader in this space. They offer a “bare bones” do it yourself online ordering platform starting at $30 per month with one-time setup fees of $200.
No option for custom branded apps so they lose points in terms of accessibility and like others on this list (apart from Hazlnut) they are not an “all-in-one” solution. This means you’ll have to find a separate provider for any loyalty programs. This can lead to integration issues along with more confusion for you and your customers.
They also lose points in terms of marketing as their platform doesn’t offer the ability to market to customers.
Overall Grade: C Best for: Concepts where cost is the main concern and features, marketing and branding are all secondary. Another example of “you get what you pay for.”
So there you go! That’s our review of five of the top ordering platforms for Clover. Have one you want us to review or do you use a different one for your restaurant? Tell us about it on Twitter.
Hazlnut is bringing loyalty rewards in-store at Larry’s Giant Subs. With a point-of-sale system (POS) in place, Hazlnut enables customers to earn points through the Larry’s Giant Subs app. Customers can walk-in, order, scan to earn rewards, and enjoy points for every dollar spent.
This enables tech-loving customers to engage with Larry’s by participating in loyalty programs. After a few subs, points quickly accrue for a variety of rewards offered by Larry’s. We sat down with Jennifer Poirier, the Director of Operations at Larry’s to show her the new features.
“I love working with Hazlnut, they’ve increased the value we provide to our customers with the app and online ordering,” said Jennifer Poirier.
It’s no secret: starting your own small business takes a lot of bravado. Small business owners are the visionaries – the hard-working risk-takers that are willing to do what it takes to transform their passion into a paycheck. Part of being a successful business owner is staying open-minded and keeping up with the latest trends to satisfy customers’ needs. In a world where consumers have become accustomed to instant gratification and ease-of-use in ordering online, food ordering apps for restaurants are quickly becoming a new consumer standard.
We Want it Now: Meeting a Growing Demand in a Millennial Market
As consumers become more familiar with online ordering in both retail and culinary trends, food ordering apps for restaurants are quickly becoming the new standard. Business Insider Intelligence Reports find that orders placed by smartphone and mobile apps will become a $38 billion industry by 2020. In just two years, it is projected that these orders will comprise 11 percent of all quick-service restaurants sales.
Now more than ever, millennials are enjoying their meals from home. In fact, when millennials order from restaurants, they’re dining in just 42 percent of what they used to. Data show that millennials are utilizing takeout services 40 percent of the time, and delivery 19 percent of the time, according to a recent study performed by Restaurant Business. As a small business, it is essential to target this growing demographic of diners who seek convenience and quality.
Branding Wins Big on Mobile
By creating a recognizable, branded ordering app for your business, you are able to insert yourself right where young consumers spend their time: on their mobile phones. The busy modern consumer demands streamlined purchasing, the ability to shop without long lines and an efficient purchasing experience. Food ordering is no different.
By developing a food ordering app for your restaurant, you will require fewer staff to take payment and fill orders. The use of an app can also work to limit long lines and wait times, meaning that you can service more customers per hour and increase your revenue.
Not only does the use of a mobile ordering app increase efficiency and productivity, it provides business owners with the ability to connect with their consumers on an intimate level. Loyalty programs can be attached to your ordering app to increase engagement with existing customers, strengthening the bond between business and consumer.
Hazlnut works to create systems that feature the branding elements that attracted your consumers in the first place. These systems work seamlessly with PoS systems like Clover, to allow for mobile ordering while increasing loyalty and providing marketing opportunities.
When creating your unique ordering app with Hazlnut, it’s important to consider your brand’s goals and to tailor your loyalty program accordingly. Thinking about what action you would like your consumers to take will work to promote behaviors that are right for your business. Creating a loyalty system that’s in-brand and features rewards and instructions that are simple and easy to understand will be the most enticing to consumers.
Top 5 Reasons Restaurants Need a Mobile Ordering App
As technology keeps improving and becomes increasingly more ubiquitous, restaurants are turning more frequently to mobile applications (iOS and Android) to enhance the customer experience. Restaurants are creating mobile apps that track loyalty and make menus available.
According to a recent statistic from the Pew Research Center, 40% of U.S. adults have ordered food online. This trend is projected to go even higher in the near future. By 2020, 70% of all foot traffic will be outside of the restaurant. That’s a staggering number.
As technology becomes more powerful, the cost for small businesses to adopt such technologies is becoming increasingly less expensive. Restaurant owners can (now more than ever) take advantage of mobile trends to increase revenues and improve the customer experience.
If that isn’t enough to decide if mobile ordering makes sense, here are a few more reasons to consider:
1. Improved customer experience
With a mobile ordering app, customers have the flexibility to order when they want and where they want. This leads to shorter lines and improves efficiency with the customer buying cycle. Employees will spend less time on the phone taking orders and more time with guests dining in the restaurant.
2. Larger average check size
When customers place orders through their phones, check sizes increase 23% on average compared to their in-store counterparts. Why is this? Seeing a menu in digital form is a lot easier to digest. Not only this the ordering process is much smoother and flows in a much more natural progression. One of the main reasons check sizes are larger, on average, is because ordering apps never forget to upsell the customer. Maybe they wanted that guacamole after all!
3. Increased take-out revenue
Not only are check sizes increasing, but take-out revenue grows on average by 30%. Some restaurants have even seen their take-out revenues double.
4. Customers are connected now more than ever
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 8 out of 10 Americans shop online on the web or through their smartphone. In addition, 51% shop exclusively on their phones. This number is only projected to increase as customers become more connected.
5. Improves the ordering process and reduces mistakes
Also, the ability to see and build orders in a mobile app also helps reduce human errors. This in turn increases order accuracy and improves the customers overall satisfaction.
While mobile ordering may seem like a new trend, it’s been fermenting for some time. What once started as order-by-fax is now done almost exclusively by smartphone apps. Most people enjoy the convenience of being able to order at any time, skipping the lines upon arrival, and millennials, especially, have grown up with the internet and apps being as ubiquitous as the fax machine once was.
To get an idea of where the industry is headed, here are some recent statistics about the growing demand of mobile ordering:
94% of millennials already use their smartphone in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops
Millennials are the most connected generation and you would be hard pressed to find one who isn’t connected in some way.So why not put all of that energy to good use at your restaurant? According to a report by Oracle Hospitality, a mere 6% said they would not use their smartphones in a food related establishment.
56% of millennials want to be able to order from their smartphone
According to the same report, 56% of millennials want to be able to order from their phone and 38% have already ordered takeout/deliver.
This is a trend that continues to climb as technology makes mobile ordering that much more convenient and when available, they will use it.
Millennials eat out 23% more per week than non-millennials
And while this demographic visits fast food restaurants more than any other, they won’t recommend it to a friend. Instead, they prefer fast casual much more.
Mobile Ordering is Expected to Become a $38 Billion Industry by 2020
Mobile payments are not only gaining popularity in the retail sector, restaurants (QSR specifically) are also building mobile ordering platforms as a way to increase sales and build stronger relationships with their customers.
These days, having a digital strategy can make or break a restaurant. While this isn’t always the case, some of the recent studies do seem to confirm where the industry is heading.
At a time when everyone has an app and the internet of things is slowly creeping into every aspect of our lives, some of the larger chains are seeing lots of year over year success with online and mobile ordering. For example:
A recent report from NRN, 26% of all Panera Bread Co. sales now come directly from digital ordering. In addition to mobile ordering, they have also installed kiosks which have helped increased same-store sales by 11.5% over the last two years.
Taco Bell has seen the average check size increase by 30% with mobile ordering and is continuing to invest heavily in this area. According to Andy McCraw, digital innovation product manager at Taco Bell, “The majority of our web traffic is mobile-based, so it’s critical that those users have a great experience.” Taco Bell has 3.7 million app downloads, according to the company.
After rolling out mobile ordering, Starbucks quickly discovered that it was not equipped to handle the exponential increase in orders . For this reason, they are now piloting mobile order and pay-only at their Seattle location.
Although, mobile ordering isn’t the end-all be-all for restaurants yet, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned customer service and tasty food. Patrons still actually care about the overall dining experience. That goes from viewing a restaurants website to dining in for lunch.
Yet, the success of some of these restaurants is a good indication that digital ordering should be considered as one of the biggest shifts in the industry since the invention of the drive-thru. Patrons today are much busier and they don’t eat inside as much as they used to. The convenience of pulling out one’s smartphone and placing a quick to-go order will be a requirement for a successful restaurant in 2018 and beyond.
Meet Hazlnut, the company that is helping to bring new-age technology to the small businesses in their community. Today, people expect to have access to restaurants and retail stores on the web.
Hazlnut is an all-in-one integrated solution that helps companies develop relationships with their customers through beautifully designed websites and custom branded apps. With Hazlnut, small businesses deepen relationships and customer loyalty with branded apps and custom websites, seamlessly integrated with your PoS.
“We’ve all ordered food online or other goods through our phones. We want to empower small brands to compete with national brands. We’re out there fighting for the little guys,” said Steven Edwards, Co-Founder at Hazlnut.
With a background in mechanical engineering, Steven Edwards has always had a desire to create something. After seeing the growth of iPhones and smartphones, Edwards saw the potential of having businesses reach their customers through the phones in their pockets.
“I had some background in coding and wanted to make apps for the digital economy. Hazlnut has grown in the last 3 years to where we now have an investor and a team of mentors at PS27 Ventures helping us to grow our company,” said Edwards.
Richard Sikes, Co-Founder at Hazlnut, has a different story. Sikes has a background in Finance and holds a CFA. He found that in his finance career, he was using software to automate basic tasks.
“With software, if you can envision it you can build it. I have a lot of fun with what we’re doing. What we do is we come in and help lift up small businesses to compete with bigger brands like Starbucks and Chipotle,” said Richard.
Hazlnut connects restaurants directly to customers through ecommerce, online sales, and point of sale kiosks. This saves time for employees so that they don’t have to pick up the phone as often and can focus on who they are serving in stores. Wait time decreases and every order can be filled faster. Hazlnut has been in business for 3 years and continues to grow. To follow their story or request a demo please visit Hazlnut.com.