The UK’s food & drink industry is booming with the hospitality industry estimated to be worth in excess of £100 billion to the economy. These figures help make it a crowded, competitive field with bars and restaurants vying to stand out from their rivals.

modern technology restaurantThe huge advances in modern technology has opened a wealth of new opportunities to hospitality businesses. From reviews to mobile apps through to marketing techniques – we look at how businesses can use this tech to grow.

  1. Gain honest TripAdvisor customer reviews

TripAdvisor began life as just another hotel and accommodation rating website in February 2000. However, over the past thirteen years, it has grown into the world’s largest review site. With more than 350 million unique monthly visitors and more than 600 million reviews, TripAdvisor has become an extremely powerful marketing tool. It now reviews attractions, businesses, restaurants and of course, accommodation. It boasts some fantastic benefits that are detailed below.

The benefits of TripAdvisor for restaurants:

  • Potential customers can see your reviews and restaurant information at the click of a button.
  • Others will see the honest reviews on your listing and potentially decide based on that.
  • Influence diners’ decisions with attention grabbing features.
  • Convert browsers into customers and fill your tables.
  • Trip Advisor is a unique, timely and popular resource with both reviews and photographs posted by others.

Stats at a glance:

  • 600 million reviews & opinions
  • 200 million + monthly restaurant visits
  • 1 million listed restaurants worldwide
  • 49 websites in 28 languages
  1. Utilise SEO to get your website ranking higher in Google

You might be thinking, why is SEO so important to my restaurant? You might have good footfall or word of mouth might be a way your restaurants name is known about. However, we now live in a `Google It` society…

People like to have information at the click of a button, many would find it odd if a restaurant didn’t spend time and effort on creating a website for their business, no matter how basic. But it doesn’t stop there, you’ve gone to the effort of creating a brilliant website – now you want to reach a wider audience! Get your stamp on search engines and get your business known with a good online presence.

Benefits of SEO:

  • We live in a “Google It” culture.
  • Your customers are searching locally online, get your address out there.
  • A good online presence helps build brand awareness.
  • A great search listing means great foot traffic.
  • Your restaurant will seem well established and trustworthy.
  • Many customers are now searching whilst on the go.
  • Word of mouth travels faster online.
  1. Invest in a great quality, customer based app

Tipsy Table is a very exciting, intuitive app, designed particularly with the food and drinks industry in mind. They have developed very clever features that serve as handy solutions to problems that many bars and restaurants might face; such as too much to do, too little time! I’m sure we all know that feeling. The creators of the app say that it is “A revolutionary new platform designed specifically to suit the needs of pubs, bars, restaurants and more… The future of web and app design for the food service industry begins here!” Intriguing, huh? You can see what Tipsy Table offers to business owners in the food and drinks industry below.

What Tipsy Table offers:

  • Pre-order food – Order and pay for your lunch from the office and have it ready upon arrival.
  • Flash sale notifications – Having a quiet day? Why not create a flash offer? So simple to do.
  • Live chat – Customers have a simple live chat option, instead of calling at busy rush periods.
  • Pub chat – A fun feature that allows your customers to interact with each other online.
  • Pay at table via PayPal – Saves time for your employees and your customer, and paper too!
  • Easily customisable – Fits in with a whole range of settings. Can be fully customised to suit.
  1. Use Instagram as a marketing tool

Instagram is a perfect marketing tool for the food and drinks industry! How often do you see people taking photos of their meal before eating it? Their drinks before drinking them? I bet it’s quite often! Most of these will be shared on social media too!

If it’s shared on Instagram, hashtags will usually be used. Customers can also ‘check in’ to your establishment – sharing your location to an even wider audience, some of whom may like the look of your food/drinks and want to learn more! That’s free advertising from your customers – win win!

Make sure your presentation is great, this will mean more customers are likely to share. Create your own Instagram account and post regularly on there too, you’ll soon end up with a loyal client base.

About Instagram:

Instagram is a visual content social media platform. The most popular subjects on there are food, fashion, art and travel. Adding hashtags to a post (much like Twitter hashtags) will widen the audience that sees it. Instagram is now owned by Facebook and boasts over four hundred million active users. It’s unsurprisingly to learn that almost 95% of Instagram users also use Facebook alongside it.

Pros of Instagram:

  • It’s simple to use and easy to set up. The platform is self-explanatory and even includes helpful pointers.
  • It is currently one of the fastest growing social media networks. Perhaps is has something to do with helping people feel like they are professional photographers after using a filter or two, who knows?
  • User generated content on Instagram can be very powerful.
  • It appeals to a very wide audience – every man and his dog can be found on Instagram. Even if they do spend their time lurking around, not posting…
  • Instagram can easily be utilised as a sales platform. Social influencers are on the rise; these are people (usually celebrities) that get paid to advertise a product in a `natural` kind of way.
  1. Consider offering a “takeaway” service

You don’t have to be a fast food joint to offer a takeaway service. Many big restaurants, including Nando’s and Pizza Express, now offer a takeaway service to their customers. They can either come to collect their order at the physical restaurant, or order online and get delivered by the likes of Uber Eats or Deliveroo – either way, your business will be generating more income, and in turn, more profit!

Benefits of a takeaway service:

  • You will see an increase in revenue, almost certainly. Not all restaurants are busy all the time. By offering a takeaway service, you are still generating income even at those very quiet periods. Surely it can’t just be me that would rather just order a takeaway in Winter, as opposed to going out in the freezing cold for a meal out.
  • More frequent repeat business is also a dead cert, for the reasons mentioned above.
  • Reach a wider audience with the likes of Just Eat & Deliveroo. They do take a commission which does vary dependant on the food delivery platform. Just Eat boasts some impressive stats; there are 27,000+ restaurants already partnered with them, 8,000,000 customers visit their site each month and over 4,000,000 place an order – wow!

In a nutshell

Technology is almost certainly always evolving and improving – at an extremely fast rate too! Don’t get stuck in the past with a pen and paper system while your competitors are miles ahead with the latest technology… Saving time is such an important factor to people these days, there never seems to be enough time to get things done.

By saving time using the likes of TripAdvisor listings, displaying your information to a wide audience online and utilising a great quality app such as Tipsy Table, your customers will return time and time again!

Remember to get social media savvy too, especially with Instagram, the worlds most popular image sharing social media site! A good online presence is incredibly important, this could be your starting point… Good luck!