Leaving your potential and current customers in someone else’s hands probably doesn’t sound appealing to you. Like any restaurant worker, you likely thrive on interacting with people, and it can be difficult to let others take over. You want your customers to have a great experience, after all!
At some point, hopefully you’ll realize it’s actually a good option. You can’t really run a restaurant completely by yourself, so you’ll need to hire help. A chef and a server are a good start, but as your business grows, you’ll need even more than that. These people can all be interacting with customers face to face. And when peak mealtime rush hits, who’s available? No one wants to watch a worker answer the phone to take an order while they’re standing in line. It’s frustrating and makes most customers angry.
However, without the benefit of hiring someone who can come in only for the 2-3 peak hours – which is unlikely even under the best of circumstances – you will probably need a little help. Sure, you want to greet every caller by name and ask about their family, but that isn’t realistic unless you’re operating in a very small town.
If you free yourself from phone duty, you can have more time for those face-to-face interactions that are far more meaningful to customers. You’ll have a few extra minutes to put the perfect finishing touches on a cupcake or entree, to wash an extra table, to make a patron feel wanted. Sometimes, saving those 3-4 minutes from each phone call can make all the difference in your business.
Some people choose to use an answering service for phone calls. There are pros and cons to that; it’s definitely cheaper than hiring a staff member, but it can still cost a lot, which is difficult with already thin margins. They also don’t know your business and your menu as well as you do, and may not be able to give the same level of service you want your callers to receive from a live person. Then again, it is a person who can take orders, give an address, or help customers generically with whatever they want, and maybe that’s all you need from your phone service.
Others choose to use an automated system. Not all automated systems are the same; some have AI ordering, text ordering, or just a self-serve menu with pre-recorded answers to your most common questions. There are pros and cons here, too; an AI system often can’t handle special orders or changes to a standard menu item, or, worse, some AI ordering systems aren’t compatible with all POS options and you may find yourself trying to find a way to connect your phone ordering with your in-store systems. In addition, customers may get irritated by listening to a bunch of menu options, and, inevitably, some callers will just wait to be put through to a person, anyway. Of course, done right, an automated system can reduce human error, increase customer satisfaction, and increase top-line revenue. Reachify, a full-service phone system, offers call deflection, customizable menus, texting to customers, and so many more features.
We think Reachify is great for any type, style, or size of food business! Give us a chance to show you how – sign up for a free demo here.