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Chefs / Business Owners/Operators

The 2018 Foodservice Industry: your complete survival guide

Australian Foodservice is perhaps one of the most competitive industries around, garnering thousands of new participants each year all willing to take the chance their venue will be one of the lucky 51% to survive more than 3 years. 

Fantastic, on-trend food is one thing that keeps customers coming back, but what about how you serve your food? How are you reviewing and perfecting your customer service? Are you utilising technology to offer a better, cost effective way to order, deliver and pay for meals? And are you keeping up with the needs of the growing number of Gen X diners?

The big picture

In January 2014, 65% of the entire Australian population used a smartphone and of this, a massive 90% of smartphone users searched for local business information via their phone. With restaurant and foodservice searches taking up the majority of local business searches on smartphones (24%), the statistics paint a not so pretty picture for the majority of foodservice outlets.

In fact, only 1 in 5 Australian websites are mobile optimised (according to statistics taken from We Are Social: Global Digital Statistics 2014). With a potential reach of 13,023,563 people, making your business site mobile friendly should become your number one New Year business resolution. 

Read on to learn our top survival tips for the 2018 foodservice industry.

How do potential customers find you?

OLD: pamphlet/ menu drops, radio advertising, local newspaper ads

NEW: Not only having a website, but ensuring it is mobile optimised is one sure-fire way of knowing potential customers will be able to find you. But getting online reviews on places like Urbanspoon, Yelp & Facebook are as important, if not more. According to Keep It Local Project, 74% of internet users read online reviews before making dining decisions. Word of mouth is great, word of keyboard is even better.

How do customers pay for their meal?

OLD: Cash only, $10 minimum, no split bills

NEW: 15 years ago, 90% of payments at restaurants were made with cash – today more than 90% of customers pay with card, meaning a complete transition in customer payment behavior in just over a decade. But with the rate of smartphone usage exploding in just 3 years, mobile payment is set to be the next big thing. Don’t fight it- embrace these changes! Mobile payment services are quick and convenient for the customer and staff, plus it will allow you to collect data on buying decisions, allowing you to improve your menu based on measurable, definitive data.

How do you cook your food?

OLD: Full commercial kitchen, large space

NEW: Let me say this first: if you have the space, there is nothing wrong with a full commercial kitchen (it’s fantastic!). But for many operators, this type of kitchen takes tables off the floor and money from your bottom line – in fact, according to Restaurant & Catering Australia, 53% of operators saw a decreased profit over the last 3 years. Save time, money and labour by investing in smart, multifunctional equipment. The Menumaster MXP Speed Oven cooks oven quality food in the same time as a microwave, and can be located front of house, operated by wait staff yet still providing perfectly cooked, deliciously crisp pies, focaccias, pizzas and more.

For back of house, you can’t go past FRIMA’s multifunctional unit –which boils, fry’s, deep fry’s up to 4 times as fast, using 40% less energy and up to 90% less oil. A cook top, deep fryer, bratt pan, kettle & pasta cooker all in one unit – need I say any more?

How do you store your food?

OLD: Plastic ice cream tubs, cheap shelving, lots of waste

NEW: Reducing food costs can be as simple as ensuring food is stored safely to extend shelf life and avoid spoilage. Vacuum sealing food using Pure Vac extends a product’s shelf life whilst maintaining quality. For food storage and shelving, Cambro has an extensive range of HAACP compliant products that store food safely and reduce food wastage. Less waste means less money spent on replenishing food. And remember, should there be any surplus prepared food, food rescue charities like OzHarvest will distribute it to those in need to avoid prepared food going to waste.

What kind of loyalty programs do you offer?

OLD: repeat visit loyalty card, buy ten get one free

NEW: whether you decide to go with a pre-existing platform or design your own, there’s no denying that hole punched loyalty cards are out – with loyalty apps being the next big thing. There are fantastic business ready apps already out there (ie Wealie), but by investing in your own business’ loyalty app, you can track food preferences, offer queue skipping services, send automatic check-ins to a customers’ Facebook page and even incorporate a payment page. As Flurry Analytics records, 86% of the time smartphones are in use, owners are operating an app, indicating a clear preference for apps.

For more information or insights, fill in our form or get in touch with Comcater today!

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