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Winter is coming, is your restaurant ready?

With Halloween and bonfire night now behind us, the atmosphere has already turned distinctly wintery. Guests are looking forward to a festive atmosphere, comforting food and festive events - but the underlying concerns of Winter 2022 also cannot be ignored. Ongoing inflation, higher interest rates and escalating prices will be affecting both your business and your customers.

Fortunately, the hospitality industry has proven itself to be exceptionally resilient, and we are far from being all doom and gloom. Customers may be tightening their purse strings, but are also seeking out excitement and escapism - and with good planning, you can ensure your business is able to better serve and better satisfy your customers as well as save stress and time (and yes, of course, money).

Planning is key of course, and despite it already being November, here are some things to consider that you still have time to implement!

Know what your guests want.

When was the last time you checked out consumer research? In such a competitive market it is imperative to keep your thumb on the pulse in order to turn surviving into thriving. After looking at the latest research (so you don't have to) we've put together the following list.

  1. Covid trends are sticking around.

    For better or for worse, consumers have become used to the adaptations made throughout covid. Due to this, the demand for fast delivery options is still increasing. This applies across the whole restaurant industry now - not just quick service restaurants. If you're yet to implement deliveries, now is the time to start, particularly ahead of colder winter months when there's less inclination to travel to eat out.

  2. Guests like tech.

    It's likely that you're using a lot of tech already, as services like online booking systems are commonplace in hospitality! However, the market is ever improving and guests are now seeking out the new solutions - so you should be too. In the 2022 State of Restaurant Tech Report, SpotOn found that 71% of restaurants plan to increase spending on technology in 2023. Have a look at this article by FinancesOnline for some key trends you should be focusing on.

  3. The experience starts online.

    With home deliveries becoming an ever-increasing preference, guests need a reason to travel to visit you. It's time to reflect on whether you're delivering a great experience - and this starts before guests step through your doors. Reach new customers with an active social media presence, showing off both your venue and your food! When choosing somewhere to eat, the atmosphere and image matter just as much to potential customers as the food and reviews. Check out Toast's guide to restaurant social media marketing to help get you started. 

Get your staff organised.

Winter is a chaotic season for staff management: illness, no shows, holidays and childcare issues are prevalent, and it may feel like these are totally out of your control. However, by using great software (like Opsyte) you can help to prevent these issues.

With clear holiday calendars, the ability to swap shifts and request days off, your staff are given the resources to better plan and solve their own staffing issues.

Learn more about the benefits of rota software with our blog here.

Reputation management is key.

A positive reputation is a direct way of driving guests into your restaurant and is therefore vital for any growth. Similarly, a negative reputation will the do opposite and can cause your business to slowly fall apart beneath you, especially with everyone having access to social media and the ability to write a review within 2 minutes of leaving your restaurant!

Read more in our blog on reputation management here.

Give yourself an advantage for Christmas.

As the year draws to an end, it's far too easy to defer decisions until the new year. However, doing things as simple as spending a little time on your social media marketing, and a little investment in your systems, will allow you to put your best foot forward - and jump ahead of others in the new year!

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