November 22, 2019 Webinar Recap: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Bar or Restaurant for 2020
Goodbye 2019…Hello 2020! If you’re not ready with resolutions for your bar or restaurant, no worries. Buzztime and Poster POS hosted a webinar focused on changes you can improve business and ensure 2020 is your best year yet. It’s all about optimizing your operations: decreasing costs, increasing revenue, and improving efficiency. On November 21st, we shared 10 strategies to prime your business for success in the new year. Here’s what we covered…
Makeover Your Menu
The new year is the perfect to refresh your menu. Your goal is to make smart menu updates that improve business. First, we’ll share ways to increase customer satisfaction by incorporating hot trends. Then, the focus shifts to pricing and menu engineering tactics designed to drive more sales.
1) Try a Little Trendiness
Around this time each year, food companies often release trend outlooks for the year ahead. It may be tempting to try all these exciting trends. Resist that temptation!
Don’t remove your menu mainstays and customer favorites. To improve business through menu updates, a good rule of thumb is to select 3-4 trends and find ways to weave them into your menu. Here is quick overview of the hottest 2020 culinary trends that experts suggest may help improve business by giving customers a taste of what’s trending:
- Health conscious still reigns supreme: buzzwords like GMO-free, gluten-free, all-natural and organic entice younger customers to pay more. Just be sure that if you use these buzzwords, you – and your entire staff – know what they mean. For example, you won’t improve business if you promote items as gluten-free, yet they actually contain wheat. You could make a customer with Celiac disease very sick with even trace amounts of wheat. Educate yourself first.
- Meatless is still going strong: In your quest to improve business, definitely include a vegan burger on your menu made with Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat ground beef substitutes! Statistics show that nearly 80% of millennials seek out meat-free alternatives – and many of them are not even vegans or vegetarians.
- Middle Eastern cuisine: Spice up your menu with traditional spice blends, meat kebabs, and desserts made with rose- and orange-water.
- Pan Asian cuisine: Integrating multiple Asian cuisines on one menu is another way you might improve business by capitalizing on trends. Examples of Pan Asian cuisine include Vietnamese Pho (a broth-based bowl), Indian curry, and Japanese tempura veggies.
2) Engage Your “Silent Seller” to Improve Business
With simple “hacks” your menu can your secret weapon as you improve business in 2020. In fact, Buzztime and Poster POS just teamed up on a previous webinar to share 7 tips to increase menu sales.
Everything matters when it comes to menu engineering: from the fonts you use, to the way you show prices. Even how you name your dishes matters. Here are just a few examples of ways to improve business via your menu. Sources for these suggestions can be found in the link above.
- Use vivid, descriptive menu titles to increase sales up to 27%
- Remove zeroes and dollar signs from your menu to boost sales
- Try fancier fonts and use italics, both proven to increase sales
To Improve Business, Upgrade Your Marketing Methods
3) Draw Attention to Your Menu, Events, and More with Digital Signage
You may not realize it, but you can program the TVs in your bar or restaurant to showcase your own custom content. Companies like Buzztime provide simple software that can be plugged in via a small “Firestick” like device. You’ll also get templates made by professional designers. You just drop in your info, program when you want your ad to run, and boom…you’re ready to improve business by promoting menu items, upcoming events, employee of the month programs – anything!
Digital signage is a powerful in-venue marketing strategy that can definitely improve business and rock your bottom line in 2020. A Nielson study found digital signage at the “point of sale” (when guests are with you) increased sales of items featured by up to 33%.
4) Create a Content Calendar
So we’ve covered a way to improve business through in-venue marketing, now let’s look to outbound tactics like email and social media. Before the new year hits, prep a 52-week content calendar for all your marketing in Excel. The objective is to outline the year in advance to get ideas for social media and email content. Brainstorm with your team. How can you improve business by capitalizing on major holidays, local and national sporting events, and even minor funky food holidays like “National Fry Day” on July 13th!
Once you’ve whipped up your content calendar, the next step to improve business via marketing is to prepare your content in advance. Here’s how to do that:
- Think beyond photos: take short videos on your smartphone. Social media studies have shown that videos on Facebook and Instagram get more engagement than photos.
- Use an app like Canva or Adobe Spark to quickly create – and then convert – a graphic into the appropriate sizes for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your blog or website, etc.
- Both Canva and Adobe Spark can also easily turn positive customer reviews and testimonials into graphics you can share. After all, one of the best ways to improve business is to share words of praise from happy customers!
- Finally, optimize how you post to improve business and save time. Use a tool like HootSuite to pre-schedule your posts in advance, and monitor them across all social platforms…all via one dashboard.
5) Automate Your Email Campaigns to Improve Business
Automation has changed the game on email marketing, taking work of your plate and letting artificial intelligence handle it. Think AI is going to cost you a ton? Nope. Email management software (EMS) like MailChimp and Constant Contact range from free to under $100 a month depending on how many email recipients you have.
If you have to choose one marketing strategy to improve business in 2020, make it email marketing. Studies show it packs a powerful 38:1 ROI. So how can you make the most of it? Let’s go back to automation. Building up your email list can now be done automatically. First, an EMS like Mailchimp can provide you with simple code that results in a “pop up” at your website. This pop up will invite people to join your email list with a pop up at your website – include an incentive like $5 off their next meal. The EMS will then automatically A) add that person to your email list, and B) automatically send them their first email…genius right? It’s just one more way you can improve business through marketing in 2020.
Optimize Your Operation
6) Power to Your POS!
Of all the decisions you make in the bar and restaurant business to improve business, choosing the right POS system is critical! it’s important to make the right choice when you select a POS system. This will predefine the stability of your operations, the flexibility of your business, and even your ability to scale.
The good news for small business owners is that they are no longer bound to buy limiting point-of-sale hardware to run a POS system. Instead of buying an expensive register, finding room for a large computer server, and hiring a system administrator for troubleshooting, you have another option to improve business: a cloud-based POS solution. Why not let the vendor take care of your data and assist your staff with everything? That’s a surefire way to improve business and optimize your operations.
For example, if you choose Poster POS, you can install the POS app on your iPad, Android, or Windows tablet. Then you simply buy a subscription at a price that starts at just $29/month. You’re all set.
To optimize and improve business, look for a cloud-based POS system that is mature enough to become your all-in-one solution. The more you can get out-of-the-box the fewer integrations and additional software you’ll need in the future.
With Poster POS, you don’t just ring up sales on your tablet, there’s so much more in the way of tools to help you improve business. There’s a robust admin panel where you can manage your menu, reservations, inventory, finance, employee payroll, promotions, loyalty programs, and so much more…
In some cases, restaurant owners aren’t even aware that their POS has the power to improve business beyond just ringing up sales. This problem can involve two things:
- A business owner bought an expensive solution that has features they’d never use anyway. It means they initially overinvested.
- The software is not user-friendly or the vendor has a weak customer success strategy. They don’t help clients make the most out of their software.
To avoid the first problem, take advantage of free trials and product demos offered by software vendors. They may promise to improve business…well, let them prove it! Play around with the POS system, then try to communicate with the customer support. This is a great way to know what kind of service and assistance you can count on if you choose this particular product. At Poster POS, we provide assistance via chat and by phone. Our customer success representatives do their best to help you use the system to the fullest – and to help you improve business!
7) Step Up Your Staff Management
Along with food and beverage purchases, labor is your largest expense. Experts suggests that labor comprises 30-35% of total sales for financially sustainable restaurants. So it only makes sense that you’d look to managing your team as a way to improve business for the new year.
POS solutions, like Poster POS, can cover a huge portion of functionality you need to improve business by bettering employee management.
For example, you can track the work time for every employee and set up an automatic calculation of their wages. Whether you pay a fixed rate per hour, per shift or per month, or want to take into account the percentage from personal sales or from overall sales per shift you can set it up once – and get the payroll calculated for every staff member.
If you need more tools for employee management, you can deploy apps that simplify scheduling and improve team communication. Here are a few apps that may improve business as far as staffing is concerned.
- 7 Shifts – Everyone in the bar and restaurant biz knows that staff schedules change constantly! Employees will often send texts or emails, make phone calls, and just tell their manager on the fly that they can’t make it to work, or need someone to cover their shift. This becomes a juggling act for the manager, and it’s VERY disruptive and time-consuming. It takes away time that the manager could be spending on efforts to improve business. That’s where an app like 7Shift can help. It digitizes everything about staff scheduling…all in one place. Employees send time-off or change requests and also receive their schedules through the app. Staff can even chant with each other to coordinate shift swaps!
- ShiftNote – This is another tool that can optimize management and improve business. It features many of the same functionality offered by 7 Shifts but also serves as a digital log book for managers. Shift-to-shift communication between managers is therefore tracked, so you, as the owner can check in a make sure everything is running smoothly.
8) Invest in the Best Inventory Management Tools
Next up, let’s talk about inventory management and its role in your quest to improve business. Having the right tool for your inventory management opens opportunities for cost optimization in multiple areas:
- Lowering food cost
- Reducing food waste
- Eliminating sitting inventory
- Optimizing purchases
- Improving profit margins
Your ability to optimize costs and improve business depends a lot on what data is collected in your inventory system and what kind of reports and dashboards you have at hand. Fortunately, some POS systems – like Poster POS – provide you with valuable insights into inventory management, and even include powerful tools. Best of all, most of these tools are included with the purchase of your POS. Here are some examples:
- Low Item Supply: Everyone knows that to improve business, customers need to be happy. That means you can’t run out of their favorite food items. POS systems like Poster will send you alerts when items are low based on pre-set low quantities you set.
- Automatic Purchase Monitoring: To improve business, you’ve got to stop overspending! And that means watching your inventory and tracking your vendor prices. And today’s POS systems can help you do just that. For example, if you pull up in item to reorder in Poster POS, you will see the previous price you ordered it at last time – so you can see if there is any variance in cost.
Just Add Entertainment
9) How On-Demand Entertainment Can Improve Business
To improve business, you must ensure every guest is always entertained. After all, making every visit FUN is a powerful way to streamline loyalty and customer satisfaction! A Facebook Loyalty Study 14,000 asked to describe their favorite businesses….the #1 word used was “quality”…the #2 word was “fun”.
So, how can you serve up fun on-demand and improve business?
It can be as simple as turning your TVs on to channels that customers actually want to watch! Some restaurants and bars will keep a selection of board games for customers to use. Bar games like darts and ring toss games don’t take up much space but are fun for customers.
You can also turn to the Buzztime 24/7 trivia network. It lets guests join trivia competitions anytime you’re open. They compete using a free smartphone app and answer questions displayed on at least one of your TVs. Other options are handheld tablets that let guests play trivia as well as arcade games. For proof that Buzztime can increase business, 7 Out of 10 Customers are more likely to choose locations with Buzztime (source: 2019 Nielsen Mobile Study, actual results may vary).
10) Special Events for the Win!
Last but not least, let’s talk about running live events as a way to improve business. In fact, for the best results, run those events on a repeat business to bring in customers week after week. Here are a few ideas for events that may improve business:
- Group craft nights are trending: Pot a terrarium, paint a masterpiece, even paint a pint glass.
- Weekly open mic nights are always a win (no fees for musicians). Try a twist with an open mic comedy night
- Live trivia is a big deal, too! The new trend is going digital. Again, Buzztime can help! Using the app, customers can join in a live trivia event hosted by your own staff. No outside host needed.
- Other ideas to improve business through events: bar games tournaments, weekly dance parties, and weekly bartending demos.
Thank you again for joining Buzztime and Poster POS for this webinar featuring 10 ways to optimize and improve business in 2020 – and beyond! Cheers to a successful new year.