How Restaurants are Surviving and Thriving on the Pandemic Rollercoaster
The pandemic has caused major challenges for the restaurant industry. Consumers have radically shifted their focus to off-premise pick-up/delivery for safety reasons (social distancing) and convenience purposes. Many workers are afraid to go back to their jobs, leading to huge staffing issues and the shortening of restaurant hours - some restaurants are even closing down on certain days simply because they cannot staff. Even with the vaccine roll out, consumer behavior and the employee environment has not returned to pre-pandemic conditions. Successful restaurant executives have implemented innovative strategies to address these new challenges with an acute focus on their off-premise services.
Restaurants such as Del Taco, Chick-Fil-A, Denny’s, Famous Daves, and City BBQ have been gaining significant market share by shifting their focus to off-premise services. Whether this be drive thru, pick-up, or delivery orders, these brands have skyrocketed during this challenging time. However, the widespread issue of hiring and retaining staff members makes it difficult to shift towards this off-premise focus, as oftentimes there is not enough staff to answer all of the call-in orders and serve the in-store customers.
“OrderSolutions has recently conducted a national survey of restaurant executives, and results show that many restaurants are missing up to 50% of their phone orders due to staffing challenges. The average check size of the typical fast-casual restaurant is approximately $45 and many national chains are missing thousands of these orders a day, leading to millions of dollars in lost revenue across their brands.”
- Nick Tubis, Co-Founder of OrderSolutions
Restaurants have resorted to desperate tactics such as increasing their labor rates up to $15 - $20 an hour, altering business hours, adding referral and incentive bonuses, continuing education payments, all of which increases total labor costs and puts pressure on profit margins. Some of the thriving restaurant brands have embraced a new solution that has emerged to solve the staffing issues, labor cost increases, and off-premise needs at the same time - the restaurant call center.
The restaurant call center has become an essential part of many brand’s strategy to thrive in this new environment. A restaurant call center provides a large amount of off-premise order takers to assist with call-in orders while in-store staff can focus on serving guests on-premise. Restaurant call centers allow brands to handle drastic swings in order volume and eliminate abandoned and missed orders. It has been the perfect solution for brands to adapt to the off-premise focus and manage the staffing shortage. Restaurant call centers such as OrderSolutions have a particular focus on not only handling all of these additional off-premise orders, but increasing the size of the orders by expertly up-selling and suggesting additional menu items to customers.
At OrderSolutions, we’ve made it our mission to solve the restaurant industry's biggest problems. We are a virtual restaurant call center that specializes in centralizing and streamlining phone orders for some of the world’s most iconic restaurant brands. Our virtual order takers are experts in customer service, up-selling, and delighting the customer. Our staff go through an extensive training program to learn all the intricacies of our restaurant client’s menu and capture all of the missed revenue from those unanswered calls.
OrderSolutions has a philosophy on satisfying the customer and increasing the order size- Up-selling should be consultative. For example, an employee utilizing consultative up-selling will say “Would you like to try one of our delicious, freshly baked, chocolate chip cookies to your order? They are to die for”. Strategically pairing this up-sell with a specific food item is very effective. It gives the consumer a guided path and promotes the experience as well. Most restaurant staff use weak up-sell tactics. “Would you like anything else?” is ineffective because it leaves the customer in an unsure state with no particular guidance. If you would like a review of your phone strategy for off-premise orders, please contact OrderSolutions.com for a complete evaluation and plan. OrderSolutions has consistently increased average order size by over 30% across our entire portfolio of brands.
If your restaurant brand or concept would like to learn how to solve some of your staffing challenges fast and increase your revenue, get in touch with OrderSolutions today.