TISSL's Stuart Coetzee is convinced more and more people are trying to eat healthier while dining out. He recommends that restaurants use their EPoS solution to shed pounds off their clients' waistline and put pounds onto their balance sheet.
While the drastic weight loss resolutions we all make from time to time may be short-lived, the overall shift towards healthier eating is here to stay. More and more people say healthy menu options are important when deciding where to eat out. So, with better weather just around the corner (the eternal optimist!), it's a great time for restaurants to position themselves as an alternative to a fridge full of packaged meals, diet milkshakes and lettuce.
Add healthy alternatives
Using your EPoS system, you can easily modify your menu by adding new items or by creating a separate 'health-conscious' menu. For example, with a Menu Maintenance function, restaurant owners can customise and manage multiple menus and then easily access them from a button on their terminals. And, by clearly identifying healthier alternatives on your menu, diners will have an easier time placing their orders and sticking to their goals.
Provide nutritional information
Technology has made it much easier for restaurants to have dynamic menus, allowing them to adapt their products to changing consumer trends. For instance, fast food outlets can use digital menu boards to highlight updated menus and detail calorie and fat content. Even if some of your menu items aren't exactly heart-healthy, you'll be doing your customers a favour by letting them know up-front. If these digital displays aren't appropriate in your restaurant, consider incorporating nutritional content into your printed menus, or make it clear that this information is available on request.
If you're using your EPoS system for online or mobile ordering, then these platforms can be used as a supplement to your in-house menu. Why not give users access to nutritional information on your online ordering site and, if you have a mobile ordering app, use the item description area to list dish contents and identify healthy choices?
Inform your customers
Taking steps to add healthier alternatives to your menu is only half the battle. You can add as many low-calorie dishes as you want, but if no one knows about them, don't expect to see results. So, use your EPoS database to email customers about your new and improved menu offerings. You could even provide helpful tips that direct them on how to dine out healthily at your restaurant. To make the experience a bit less painful, why not run a wellness promotion, such as offering a coupon or discount when diners order a certain number of items off of your low-calorie menu? Then use your EPoS system to track spend.
Track your progress
Whilst you want your customers to get leaner and fitter, you still need to remain profitable, and that means making sure your efforts are generating sales. Use your EPoS reporting functions to measure the results of your promotions and menu additions, and then use that data to determine if you want to follow-up with a similar campaign next year.
As an example, you can use your 'Sales by Range' report to view daily and weekly sales totals for healthy starters. This report can be run for any time and date criteria you specify, making it easy to keep track of revenues. If you want to focus in on certain menu items in a department, you could also use our Movement Report to observe sales statistics by minute, hour, day, week, month or year.
It can be a bit trying for waiting staff and kitchen staff when customers try to customise dishes. However, with the multi-column modifiers that your EPoS solution will provide, it's easy to make order adjustments without having to switch from one screen to another. Staff can add or remove condiments and side orders and enter special prep instructions, allowing for more accurate order entry and happier customers.
Do you agree with Stuart's views on using your EPoS system in this way? Do you have experiences to share? Email him at [email protected]