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How Restaurant Call Centers Are Fueling Restaurant Growth During COVID-19

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

COVID-19 has made a massive impact on restaurants in 2020. The pandemic has caused massive pivots in the restaurant's marketing and sales strategy. Recently restaurant executiv

es have shifted their focus to partnering with restaurant call centers due to the recent rise in takeout. While there is currently massive uncertainty when a vaccine will be ready, restaurants are having to adapt to changes in serving their guests.

Why Should Restaurants Use A Restaurant Call Center

70% of restaurant orders are still handled over the phone and phone orders are the easiest way to increase a restaurant's average check size. The reason restaurant call centers are becoming popular is because they offer dedicated teams trained on your menu that are up-sell specialists. Here at Order Solutions, we recently helped Denny's increase their average order size by nearly 30% just through up-selling. On the surface that may not seem like a massive difference but by simply up-selling on every phone order at 500-1,000 locations that can add up to $30M-$80M in new incremental revenue that otherwise that restaurant chain wouldn't have. Then the restaurant chain can take the new earnings they generate and reinvest those profits into other growth initiatives.

Why Outsourcing To A Restaurant Call Center Is Better Than Hiring Internally

Restaurants core competency is making great food and delight guests inside of their restaurants. A lot of in-house restaurant employees get frustrated trying to multi-task answering the phone while also trying to make food, and take care of the operations inside of the restaurant. On top of that, the in-house restaurant employees aren't incentivized to up-sell either. Also, the challenge for restaurants to handle their phone orders internally is that it doesn't scale. Restaurant call centers such as Order Solutions have a remote workforce that can scale based on peaks of a restaurant's call volume. For example, during lunch or dinner hours, a restaurant call center will add more staff to handle the increased call volume. But during down hours such as 3 PM-4 PM, they will not staff as many agents so it's more cost-effective for the restaurant.

Recently large restaurant chains that had previously set up their own internal call center are shutting down because they are realizing the potential cost savings by centralizing and outsourcing their phone orders to a specialized restaurant call center. Running your own brick and mortar call cent can be extremely expensive. It can cost a chain millions of dollars per year setting up their own call center. The main overhead expenses are real estate, healthcare, benefits, recruiting, and management costs. Restaurants would much pay a restaurant call center $1.05-$3 per order to add an additional $4-12 to their average check.

How Does A Restaurant Call Center Work?

A customer calls a restaurant and is typically first routed to an IVR to properly route the call. Then the caller will be routed to a friendly trained virtual order-taker who is completely focused on serving that customer. Typically the restaurant call center agents wear noise-canceling headsets to make the guest experience spectacular. Then the virtual order taker uses “friendly” up-selling techniques that are proven and tested so they can maximize the average check size and provide the client with a substantial ROI.

Then the restaurant call center agent places that order which integrates into the client's POS system and goes straight to that restaurant's locations for pickup or delivery. Some of Order Solutions clients use online ordering and POS systems including Restaurant Revolution Technologies, OLO, NCR Aloha, Brink, and POSITOUCH.

How Restaurant Call Centers Use AI To Increase Efficiencies

At Order Solutions, we have invested heavily in artificial intelligence to provide restaurants with the best guest experience possible. If a restaurant wants to save money but still increases their off-premise sales then sometimes we suggest them to utilize our AI voice bot that integrates into their POS System. Basically how it works is instead of a phone order being routed to a human it's first routed to our AI Voicebot. If the customer doesn't want to engage with the bot, the call is then transferred to a live human agent who is trained on the restaurant's brand.

Another solution Order Solutions has been focused on to increase efficiencies for restaurants is our fast reordering product. If a repeat customer calls into place a phone order and our system recognizes the phone number and AI Voicebot or human can ask the customer if they want the same thing as last time. This can speed up the average handle time by 120 seconds and improve customer experience.

How You Can See If A Restaurant Call Center Is A Good Fit For Your Concept

At Order Solutions, we offer free consulting calls to explore if your restaurant can benefit by partnering with a restaurant call center. If we believe there is an opportunity we will lay out a business case and proposal for a pilot test at some of your locations. Typically pilot tests are 3 months and at 10-50 locations to prove out the ROI for the restaurant concept. Then Order Solutions will propose a scaling plan to on-board additional corporate and franchisee locations.


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