Ready to Go From FSR to Casual Restaurant?
As a long year finally comes to a close, the restaurant industry looks back on the toll that COVID-19 took on entrepreneurs. While any business that relies heavily on FaceTime with customers has struggled, especially with the pandemic, full-service restaurants have suffered more than other restaurant models.
With few revenue streams besides dine-in service, FSRs have also had sales drop faster and further than QSRs or fast-casual concepts. Suppose you’re like a lot of full-service restaurants. In that case, you might be considering turning into a casual restaurant, opening takeout and other services, and doing all you can to weather this storm.
With cutting-edge technology and an online ordering system to tie business together, you’ll be up and running with a new restaurant concept in no time.
Why Was FSRs Hit So Hard?
With dine-in capacity restrictions (or the complete elimination of sitdown service in individual states), social distance regulations, and overall fewer in-person interactions, FSRs experienced a worse financial bind than other restaurant models at every turn. Capacity rules guarantee that you can’t serve all the customers needed to turn a profit or not enough to take in the revenue you did before these mandates. Many shops are closing entirely as a result.
But they don’t have to. If you’re in a similar situation, you can pivot: Casual restaurants offer takeout, delivery, and curbside service options, which are safer, contact-free alternative revenue streams that keep many businesses afloat. There’s no limit to how many guests can order takeout at a time, unlike the rules about dine-in seating; thus, no matter what unexpected occurrence takes place with this virus next, your restaurant can continue to lean on its off-premise services for life-sustaining profit.
Since casual restaurants are built for speed and convenience, you can think of it as merely meeting your audience’s shifting priorities rather than a concession.
Making the Transition
Now you know what to do, and all that’s left is to do it. Having already opened at least one restaurant, it can be daunting to make such a sharp pivot; you know how much work goes into the endeavor. Fortunately, eatOS is here to make life a little easier.
- Make a business plan. Research the current market before making any changes. See how similar businesses nearby do it, make sure there’s an open niche for your new concept to fill, and prepare to rebrand. Create a comprehensive strategy, so things run smoothly once you get the ball rolling.
- Change your space for off-premise orders. People can’t sit down in the service area, but that doesn’t render the space useless. Move tables to use the front of the house as a socially distanced takeout area, with arrows showing the right directions to walk and even food lockers to store pickup orders, so the transaction is entirely contact-free. With customer-facing display screens and self-service options like Kiosks, even payment gets done at a distance.
- Menu management. Your menu might need revitalization along with your services, so what arrives at the door looks and tastes as good as promised. Cutting out foods that don’t travel well and including deals on takeout might be just what you need to succeed with these new revenue channels.
- Reorganize staff. You don’t have to furlough people just because their old positions might go away until dine-in services reopen. Put waitstaff and bartenders on phones, delivery duty, or the drive-thru—wherever you need a workforce now.
- Go green. Eco-consciousness is a sweeping consumer trend. While you’re making changes and implementing all these new systems, take the time to go greener with your packaging standards.
Going from an FSR to a casual restaurant isn’t easy, but it is possible. Budget out the costs (time-wise and monetarily) of such a transition and see if you’ll need to increase revenue, if you have what’s required in savings, or if you’ll have to drum up investors to fund the venture differently.
Now all that’s left is to spread the news far and wide. Take to social media and announce the changes, and even hold a (socially distanced) grand opening with the press and fantastic special offers to build excitement.
The Power of Tech
eatOS is here to ease the transition into a new, casual concept. Advanced restaurant technologies exist to make service times faster, workforce management better, communication more efficient amongst staff to give your operations the overhaul it needs.
What do you get when you invest in eatOS? For starters, we give you an online ordering platform and branded merchant app, so the switch to delivery and takeout is easy, and unlike third party services, you keep all the profits on both. Get greater search engine exposure with the relevant landing pages and expand your customer base even more with QR codes, which link guests directly to a mobile-optimized menu they can use for self-service inside the store rather than sharing menus and exchanging payment methods directly.
Manage your customer relationships more effectively too. With integrated loyalty programs, customers are encouraged to build a profile and come back after every sale. Modifications and personalizations encourage extra spending while those guest profiles tell you all you need to know for better marketing tactics.
eatOS designs restaurant technology that will smooth your transition from FSR to the casual eatery. Book a demo and learn more about the future of restaurant management.
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