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Check your (digital) risk

Understanding the steps to a restaurant’s digital transformation, and how to avoid pitfalls along the way.

Sponsored by OLO

Operators who don’t know where they are on their digital journey run the risk of not getting where they want to go. Knowing your digital maturity—where your restaurant is on the journey toward 100% digital—is key to determining where to focus efforts, how to mitigate risks, and who should be on your team. Use the below early-stage steps to understand where your operation sits as well as the potential risks, and opportunities you won’t want to miss.

Step 1. Go beyond basic (websites). A static website that is largely informational—think menu, hours, locations, phone number, and a bit of history—is having little, if any, impact on your operations. By using a static website, operators risk losing consumers who prefer the ease and speed of direct ordering channels, and miss the opportunity digital solutions can offer in flowing all orders into a single system for kitchen staff.

Step 2. Prioritize digital payment. If you already have the early priorities of online ordering via website and mobile app in place, you’re off to a good start. Your next step is to make it fast, easy, and secure for customers to pay and more efficient for you to process payments. Adding on a digital payment processor, such as Olo Pay, helps brands drive sales by delivering an elevated experience to consumers who have already adopted these new technologies, mainly Gen Z, millennials, and Gen Xers. Plus, an innovative and unified payment tech stack ensures payments are safe and reduces the risk of fraud and chargebacks.

Step 3. Maximize every guest relationship. If you have the right payment processor in place, the next step is connecting the cross-channel transactional data you’ve collected. Using a restaurant-specific data platform, such as Olo’s Guest Data Platform, can help operators connect their data back to individual guests so they can analyze and act on the insights instantly. For example, collecting data around ordering preferences and dining experience feedback enables operators to personalize the guest experience, or identify areas for improvement, such as speed of service, order accuracy, and food quality. And the more information you have on hand, the easier it is to craft more targeted outreach strategies based on lookalike guests.

Step 4. Integrate delivery. Once you’ve got these first three table-stakes pieces in place, it’s time to expand your reach by integrating your owned channels with third-party delivery service providers. Taking this step using a platform such as Dispatch allows you to efficiently scale your operations while spending more time on your primary business—making great-tasting food and offering memorable guest experiences. The more you can integrate digital solutions, the less likely it is that you’ll miss out on increased convenience for your customers and deeper loyalty, among other benefits.

Step 5. Expand ordering strategy. Once you’ve achieved the first four steps, it’s all about expanding your ordering strategy to include networks like Google. The biggest benefit of embracing the giant search engine is findability. Using local listings management enables consumers to find your restaurants and then order directly from your website, and allows you to digitize on-premise orders. Once you’ve expanded your ordering strategy, you can then make major moves, like marketing automation and sentiment analysis, also known as customer opinion mining, to improve service and brand reputation, and grow guest lifetime value.

No matter if your operation is on step one, step five, or beyond, there’s always room to advance on your digital journey. Start by completing this interactive self-assessment; once you know where you are, Olo can help you plot a path to success.