Trading conditions are always tough in Hospitality. In 2021 it’s likely to be doubly so. So here’s Secure Payment Solutions’ 21 expert tips to help you as the sun starts shining and we start trading again!

1.    Digital Isn’t Everything

There’s a reason big brands still drop leaflets through people’s door. Because it works. It can be expensive, but done well, it gets attention and achieves results. Local Radio is much more cost-effective than you probably think too. Don’t forget your customers are at home, and bored.

2.    Digital Is Very, Very Important

Break “Digital” down into manageable chunks and it won’t seem so daunting. There are thousands of people out there who understand and specialise in managing these chunks. They will be able to help your business to stand-out. Are there any Millennials living in your house? Ask them!!

3.    Local and Seasonal. And Repeat

We can’t stress how significant this is going to be when things open up again. Importing green beans from Kenya will just not be a sensible thing to do any more. Your customers know this. Support local producers, and offer well prepared seasonal produce to your customers, in a pleasant environment. What’s Digital about this? Talk about it online and watch your following grow.

4.   App Ordering

If customers love you, why wouldn’t they download your FREE app from their favourite Appstore and order direct from you? Your customer, your brand. Why would you trust them to somebody else, or indeed pay someone else to promote other local, competitive businesses?

5. Spread the Word

While many are at home, spread the word as to what you are, how you are different, what you are doing to survive, and your plans to grow in the future. People want and need their local community to support them in feeling positive. Do it now, over and over again.

6.    Keep Trading

Click & Collect is a great way to just keep going right now. If you don’t do something and make it visible, people may think that you are closed forever. Stay at the front of people’s minds now, and customers will remember you when the good times roll again.

7.    Your Website Must Be at The Centre of Everything

Certainly all things Digital anyway. People will keep coming back to it so make sure that it is regularly updated. Even changing just a few sentences now and again will stimulate Google’s algorithm. It must, must must be optimised for Smartphones. Make it bright, airy and easy to navigate, like your restaurant or shop.

8.    SEO. Got a Website? Make Sure It Gets Found

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is hugely important. I often refer to it as a “dark-art”. In truth it’s a mixture of Art and Science. But the key to it is content. Words, images, photos, blogs, call it what you will, you need to be producing it, liking it and sharing it. Your own and other people’s. Profusely and constantly. If you haven’t got time, get someone else to do it. It’s fundamental.

9.    To Deliveroo or not to Uber Eat

We fully appreciate that these types of services help you to get found, and to find new customers. But 35%? On every order! Whether new or repeat business? We just feel that doing it yourself will achieve productivity gains and benefit your brand in the long run. And Snoop Dogg’s old hat anyway.

10.    Social is a Fundamental Part of the Digital Mix

Social Media can be like Marmite. Like it or loathe it, a Smartphone is a mini-advertising board that your customers are holding in their hands at home. It’s a unique way of grabbing your business some cost-effective airtime.

11.         Some Social Platforms Are Better for Hospitality Than Others

There is way, way more platforms out there than you know about. More certainly than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter anyway. Each has disparate audiences and demographics, also multiple ways of charging to enable you and your business to get noticed. Some lend themselves more to the visual appeal of a Hospitality business than others. This is a (far from comprehensive and avoiding the blindingly obvious) list…

·        Pinterest·        LinkedIn·        Reddit
·        Google My Business·        YouTube·        WhatsApp
·        FB Messenger·        Snapchat·        Skype
·        Twitch·        Tumblr·        WeChat
·        TikTok·        Viber·

 

12.         Social Distancing Will Be with Us for a Long Time

When you open your doors again, putting sanitiser at the front door and arrows on the floor is not going to cut it. Customers will demand minimal contact with staff and surfaces. Many solutions are already out there to enable them to pay at their table, even before they arrive, using their phones.

13.         Research and Understand Metatags

These are hidden terms that sit behind the content that you generate to make sure you get found in the Digital world. Research them and use the right ones to make sure you get noticed. There are tools out there to help you to do this, like SEMrush and SEOptimer.

14.         Creating a Website That Works Is Easier Than You Think

Restaurant or take-away, you must have a website that works. Pay someone else or do it yourself. Doing it yourself? Remember you want to sell more of what you do. Otherwise, it becomes an expensive brochure or menu. Start with an e-Commerce Shopping Cart (with in-built SEO) that you like and go from there. Many have in-built content management platforms, known as CMS. Here’s a few to get you started, there are many, many more…

·        Shopify·        Magento·        OpenCart
·        RomanCart·        Shop Integrator·        shopware
·        WooCommerce·        WordPress·        AceShop

If you are interested to see a list of the e-Commerce partners that we work with, please just click here.

15.         Reward Loyalty

If customers like what you do, reward them. Give them a little extra. Technology can help you to do that. In return they will love you, talk about you, and keep coming back.

16.         Fully Integrated?

Everybody wants everything to be fully integrated nowadays. Do it all in one place. It certainly can save time and lead to gains in productivity, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you need to do today. Like building a stand-alone Click & Ordering system or App, for example.

17.         EPOS? Till? Cash Register?

Sooner or later, you will open your doors again. Does your dusty old till system do what you need it to do? Will it manage your stock and menu items down to the ingredient level? Will it reconcile your cash and card payments to your bank statements for you? Not that it necessarily has to, but there are many out there that will.

18.         Review Your Card Payment Provider

You are probably paying too much. Way, way too much. Ask someone to check for you. You will be surprised how many times a simple analysis and switch can save over 50% in card processing costs.

19.         The Elephant in the Room. Allergies

The implications if Hospitality businesses get this wrong are horrendous. Digital menus and EPOS systems can let you and your customers know at point of sale if they are ordering something that they may be allergic to. Don’t put people’s lives at risk.

20.         Manage Your Stock and Inventory

Do you and your staff know where to find stuff? Do you know how much flour goes into your top-selling buns? Do you want it to be automatically re-ordered if you are in danger of running out? Or to know how much is getting wasted? Technology will help you.

21.         Seek Opportunity

It’s hard to see the wood for the trees right now. But there is opportunity to grow your business and find new customers. Be positive and look. What about those viable businesses who haven’t embraced the change?

 

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