Technology is often the answer to adversity. Through technological advancements, we gain the ability to weather hardship while emerging more capable and agile than ever before. We're living through a period of unprecedented social upheaval defined by exponential tech growth.
When it comes to the food service and hospitality industry, one particular technology is leading the way: customer relationship management (CRM) software. In an era marked by rapidly changing customer habits –and expectations– it is crucial for venue owners and entrepreneurs to evaluate the best CRM software for restaurants and dining establishments.
Today we're going to look at why CRM integration is so crucial to your business from a profitability standpoint, and we'll discuss how embracing technological advancement, in general, is beneficial to your establishment and its prosperity. We will also take an in-depth look at the elements that help determine what makes the best CRM software for restaurants, cafes, and pubs.
Advancements in tech solutions: the best CRM for restaurants
It should come as no surprise, but businesses that are willing to adopt new technology as it emerges are better positioned for future growth by default. Take the trials and tribulations that the global foodservice industry has experienced over the last three years, for example.
To say that restaurants, cafes, stadiums, and other venues were hit by the perfect storm of bad fortune in 2020 is an understatement. COVID-19 caused severe limitations to in-person dining across the globe.
Businesses that were able to weather the storm were then hit by pronounced supply chain disruptions. In a best case scenario, many cafe owners had to increase their prices. In other instances, it was the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.
Rather than dwell on adversity, it's much more productive to view the past few years as a watershed moment for the restaurant industry, fuelled by technological advancements. You might even call it the food service industry's digital transformation.
While in-person dining options virtually collapsed at the beginning of 2020, this situation paved the way for takeout and delivery services to grow unrestrained. According to Statista, deliveries increased a whopping 67% globally – 123% in the United States – thanks to solutions like restaurant ordering apps.
Once social distancing measures and quarantines eased, technological advancement formed the basis for contactless ordering. QR code menus with integrated ordering and checkout functions proved to be another key piece of tech which allowed eateries, cafes, and other venues to quickly pivot away from their traditional business model.
Technology has helped us overcome a turbulent, dangerous level of societal change. But as the waters begin to calm, it's time to move away from survival and purpose that technology towards a brighter future populated by better customer outcomes. Enter CRM.
Finding the best CRM software for restaurants is crucial
Before we take a look at features included in the best CRM software for restaurants, let's talk about why CRM implementation is so crucial in this day and age.
According to Restaurant Nation's News, U.S. consumers on the whole spend nearly 40% of their allocated grocery budget every month going out to eat. If COVID, and the adversity that it brought, taught us anything, it's that the modern consumer is open to change, especially change that's driven by technology. The key factor? A better dining experience.
Maintaining parity in the current food service environment means adopting whatever tools are necessary to drive superior customer outcomes. Your average customer relationship management solution will include a multifaceted array of features designed to directly address the customer experience.
In the next section, we'll take a look at each of those individual features in an attempt to determine the qualities that the best CRM software for restaurants should have.
What elements should you look for in a CRM system?
For every dollar that you spend implementing a CRM in your venue or establishment, you can expect to see somewhere in the neighbourhood of an $8.71 return. That statistic alone should serve as powerful motivation to begin your venue's own digital transformation. But what is it about CRM software that makes it so valuable? Let's pick it apart piece by piece.
In order for a CRM platform to be worth your investment, it has to "play nicely" with other business solutions. That means in order for a product to be the best CRM in the restaurant industry, it has to properly integrate with your pre-existing tech stack. For example, you'll want customer relationship management software that syncs with your:
- Digital or QR code menus
- Order placement system
- POS system
This will create a seamless experience for both your employees and the customer, one that stretches from first contact all the way to customer retention activities.
Every eatery, cafe, and large-scale venue is its own unique enterprise. Your needs are not the same as your competition's needs. That's why your CRM should include a wide array of administrative customisation options. A high-quality platform should provide the ability to:
- Add, remove, or restrict users
- Select features as needed
- Designate user roles
- Set up multi-user access
Real-time data analytics
A high-quality CRM platform is built on data. Every scan, click, interaction, and transaction becomes valuable information for the software to add to the database. Everything from a customer's demographic information, to their purchasing habits, to their favourite payment method becomes an actionable data set useful in driving future sales.
When shopping around for the right CRM for your venue, make sure that it provides real-time data analytics. That means ensuring that your system is capable of both data capture and producing custom reports on demand.
The ability to automate routine tasks
Keep it simple. It's some of the best advice you'll ever hear. One of the best parts about embracing emerging tech is its potential to simplify your life AND your workflows.
When asking "What is the best CRM software for restaurants?" make sure to consider whether or not integrating that particular platform will allow you to automate routine tasks. If the answer is yes, then that CRM will pay dividends by freeing up your establishment's key stakeholders and frontline staff to better service the customer.
One of a CRM system's most important –and exciting– features is the software's marketing functions. Any CRM worth the cost will include a robust array of marketing features, such as:
- Lead generation and management
- A method for contacting leads
- Email integration
- Customisable discounts and retention programs
Look for a CRM system that allows you to reach out to your customers long after they've left your establishment.
General ease of use
It should go without saying that a good CRM platform needs to be accessible. Everyone, no matter their skill level and technological acumen, needs to be able to access the software's wide array of features. Ease of use should be a definitive priority when shopping around for a CRM system.
For your business's prosperity to soar, you need powerful hardware beneath the hood, but you also need to direct that power towards a specific purpose. You wouldn't put a tractor trailer engine into a compact car, for example, and expect peak performance. That's why a hospitality-specific CRM is essential. In a head-to-head comparison, restaurant-specific software will out perform its more generic competition and offer the full integrations and features your establishment needs to stay ahead.
Finding the best CRM software for your restaurant
The last few years have proven that technological advancement is the answer to market adversity. Establishments that embraced solutions such as contactless ordering and payment, scannable QR code menus, and high-quality CRM platforms found a safe haven amid a sea of storms.
Now that the storms have begun to subside, it's time for the restaurant industry to turn its attention toward the future. That future is a better customer experience. If you're thinking about integrating CRM into your venue's operations, Mr Yum is here to help. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.