On Saturday I sat in the parking lot of two local well-known fast-casual restaurants in Utah and watched as customer after customer tried to figure out how to order food from these two restaurants.

There were signs on the door that advertised 4 different delivery services, the brand’s mobile app, and their online ordering portal!

“We deliver with Grubhub!” 

“Order Online!”

“Download our Mobile App!”

These are all important channels, and many of our clients have seen massive increases of revenue through them. (If you don’t have online and a mobile app by now that allows you to do curb-side pickup, you should probably think that through.)

However, I fear that in the restaurant’s panic to do whatever they can to generate any kind of revenue, they may miss the revenue that’s at their very own front door. 

The principle here is to take a step back and observe.

These customers were literally at the front door. They didn’t want to go download an app. If they wanted to do that they would have stayed at home.

The question restaurants should be asking, is “How do I create the best experience possible for the customers I DO have at this time.”

Here are some suggestions from additional things we at Crisp have observed.

1. Don’t Ignore the People at the Front Door

Have your staff wait at the door to observe what’s happening outside. If you see someone pull into your parking lot, or parking stalls that are typically reserved for your restaurant, your employee should come out with a sign that asks if the customer needs to order. This sign can literally be homemade.

Then, either direct them to your preferred ordering channel or get Crisp’s access point installed to be able to take orders outside on tablets. This access point is literally less than $100 and can be installed within 24 hours. You will then have the mobility to take orders outside in the parking lot where needed.

No one should be in front of your store wondering how or waiting to order at this time. You can’t afford it.

There are probably other opportunities staring at you in the face. You need to take a step back and observe what’s happening. 

Talk to your front-line staff. Work in the kitchen. Understand what is happening on the ground and how your customers are trying to interact with you. 

Then make it an amazing experience and incredibly easy to do so.

2. Drive Social Engagement

Right now you need as much press as you can get. Desperate pleas for help don’t help. Smart thinking does. To all customers who come to your front door or to pick-up, give them a $5 gift card if they post about you on social media. Facebook, Instagram etc. 

$5 is enough to be of value to have them come back in a short period of time, but not too much where you’re giving away the farm.

You can also leave variations of cards in delivery orders that advertise this strategy. “Post about us and get $5 of your next order.” 

Tag us on social media and show us this post and we’ll send you a gift card. You can even mail it to them.

The ways to implement this word of mouth strategy are endless, and you will be reaching a local audience. Your customers are friends with your potential and future customers. Now is the time to leverage this channel. What do you have to lose?

3. Adopt Smart Technologies

Yes, Crisp is a Restaurant Growth Technology Company. We will build tech that grows restaurants. And so there is so bias here because this is the lens at which we look at Restaurant problems.

We see too many restaurants and franchisees making emotional or stupid technology decisions because they are not analyzing the potential growth that is possible, even at this time.

Use technology that makes ordering easy for your customers. An app that allows your customers to notify you when they arrive so the food can be brought out to their vehicle is a perfect example. See Roxberry Juice or Swig as an example.

The technology Crisp builds that I mentioned in point #1 – Don’t Ignore your Customers at the Front Door. How can you make that experience smooth and easy for them at this time?

And much much more.

In conclusion, take a step back and observe.

What is happening? How are customers trying to engage and interact with me? How do I make this experience easier for them? 

Leverage the customers you do have to get more.

And pick technologies that will help you grow. 

This is an incredibly difficult time – and you can make it through it. One way you will guarantee your downfall is to sit at home and act defeated. 

Get creative. Innovate.

The future of your business depends on it.

– Daniel Ockey
VP of Strategy 


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