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February 1, 2022

5 ways your restaurant can go mobile-first

Mobile-first tips for restaurants. Learn how to implement a contactless dining experience, improve the guest experience and increase bookings.
February 1, 2022

The game has changed. A personalised guest experience isn’t just about knowing someone’s name and favourite wine.

It involves meeting guests where they are – and right now, that’s on a phone.

With over 3.8 trillion hours spent on mobile phones in 2021, if you’re not competing with a mobile-first strategy, you’re missing out.

The contactless dining experience

Reaching the 7.26 billion mobile phone users requires more than a web page with a static menu on it.

It’s about the contactless dining experience.

Contactless dining is anything during the dine-in experience that removes the need for close interaction with a server or public surfaces (like a card terminal). Everything from making a reservation on-demand to paying with a digital wallet is part of contactless dining.

By removing your manual billing system and keeping staff from dealing with phoned-in bookings, contactless dining decreases pressure on your team, increases your overall efficiency, and gives customers what they want – an experience personalised to them.

It’s more than knowing their anniversary or favourite cocktail. Personalising the guest experience includes meeting people where they are – and right now, that’s on a phone.

The CMO of Bluedot said it best, “The only sustainable way to address the pain points (of restaurants) is to rebalance digital and staffing resources by utilising mobile strategies to alleviate stress in customer-facing interactions while complementing those processes that are labour-intensive.

(There is) rising consumer demand for better functionality, ease and convenience. This is an opportunity for brands to eliminate friction across the customer journey, from the moment an order is placed through to the moment a customer picks up their order. For restaurant brands, the digital pivot is imperative to getting the customer experience right.”

1. Contactless payments

Going mobile-first at your restaurant connects guests directly to your POS system and unlocks user-focussed services such as contactless and digital payments.

Contactless payment methods include credit cards, debit cards, mobile payment apps and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, MobilePay, PayPal, Revolut, and Monzo.

The road to global domination for contactless payments has been a short one.

Research from 2019 (pre-pandemic) reported over 50% of customers felt that mobile payments and e-wallets didn’t provide enough protection.

Fast-forward to today, and contactless payments are the norms. Every minute of 2021 saw over €286,000 flow through mobile payment apps. That’s €17 million an hour.

Even in Italy, where traditional payment methods are often favoured, 31% of restaurant guests prefer to use digital wallets over credit or debit cards.

Superb’s GXM Pro enables restaurants to keep up with consumer demand by accepting the newest payment methods on the market.

Thanks to an integrated POS system, you can accept any payment method in the world – including all contactless and e-wallet payments. And no matter what payment you take, your business stays safe with next-day payouts, no hidden fees and no refund fees.

2. SMS and mobile messaging

Thanks to ride-share, online shopping and airline apps, your guests are used to staying up-to-date with mobile messaging.

The big difference between SMS and email is that you’re speaking to a guest in the way they prefer to communicate, on their personal device, according to their preference, not yours.

It’s not a stuffy email or a phone call with another human being. It feels more like a conversation – the way conversations go these days – and you’re more likely to get a reply.

Superb offers an SMS feature that lets you send confirmation and reconfirmation messages, avoiding last-minute cancellations and budget-draining no-shows.

Yes, it helps you keep your bottom line intact, but it also makes it easy for guests to let you know of a schedule change. It’s a win-win.

And the best part? It’s automated. No need for extra admin work or a team member to manually text during service.

3. QR codes

Today’s QR codes aren’t the same clunky, scannable barcodes from 2012.

That’s not true… they’re still kinda the same thing. The only difference is that the pandemic sped up their adoption, tossed them into the mainstream, and forced companies to make them more user-friendly.

Last year, QR code usage skyrocketed over 750% compared to 2020. Koala’s Customer Ordering Preferences survey discovered that over 80% of restaurant guests prefer to use their own mobile device over one provided by the restaurant.

Why are QR codes so popular? They’re safe. That’s how they phoenix-ed themselves from the ashes and became a part of today’s contactless dining experience.

From online ordering and takeaway to easy payment options, QR codes are also a relief for restaurants struggling with the labour shortage. It’s one less staff member needed to take a payment and an easier, more convenient way for a guest to order.

4. Website designed for mobile users

The contactless dining experience starts with the reservation.

More than 2.14 billion people worldwide shop and book tables online. And 50% of that traffic comes from mobile phones.

Restaurants globally have seen a decline in walk-ins due to stricter dine-in guidelines. Where do those people go when they want to eat out? They pull out their smartphone and make a reservation.

If your website isn’t optimised for mobile phones, you’re missing out on future bookings.

Google reports that 61% of mobile users are unlikely to return to a website that they had trouble accessing. 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead.

Having a website optimised for mobile means that your restaurant’s website looks good across all devices. But far too many restaurants have it backwards.

They build a website that looks beautiful on a desktop and then squish it down to work on a smartphone or tablet. If the majority of your visitors are coming from a mobile device, then design your website for mobile first.

Perfect that experience – the front door of your business – and then move to the desktop version.

5. Easy table booking from social media

The on-demand economy is here to stay. From binge-watching your favourites on Netflix to same-day delivery on Deliveroo, people want to see it, click it, get it.

While the restaurant industry may not seem as techy as Netflix, your guests are after that same type of service. See it, book it, done.

The purpose of a mobile-first, contactless dining experience is to meet guest expectations and be accessible on their own devices. 

Having a convenient way to make a reservation is exactly that.

67% of customers prefer to book directly from a restaurant’s website.

With Superb, you can put your reservation link in front of your guests in minutes and take group reservations with ease.

See how Ahimè makes it easy for guests to book by displaying their reservation link on their Instagram link in bio.


Ahimè in Bologna Italy is using social media to get more bookings


We’re not going back to the old way

The way we defined guest experiences before 2020 is gone. The end.

It’s a new, digital world, and people have tasted contactless dining. It tastes deliciously convenient.

But don’t people go to restaurants to escape and get away from technology? Isn’t that part of the experience?

Maybe it used to be, but today’s diner has a phone, and any restaurateur who doesn’t find a way to capitalise on it is missing out.

Look around your restaurant.

Most guests are probably on their phones – taking pictures of the meal, sharing their experience on social media or even splitting the bill in Monzo.

Even if a guest isn’t on a phone, it’s probably on the table. And if not, check how that guest booked their table – 9 times out of 10, a mobile phone was involved.

We know that introducing new technology to the restaurant industry isn’t easy. But taking a mobile-first approach doesn't require an arsenal of new tech.

It’s more of a shift in thinking.

Creating individual guest experiences requires a blend of hospitality and technology.

It’s less about the latest gadget and more about taking the next step in meeting guests where they are.

That just happens to be on the phone.

Keep exploring

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