Archive for the “Restaurant Marketing” Category

Paytronix powers Kowloon car hop

Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, Massachusetts has been a regional staple for decades. Founded as a Chinese restaurant in the 1950s, the family-owned eatery has added cuisines and themes over the years to keep up with changing trends, from Thai, to sushi, to an outdoor tiki bar.

So it’s no surprise that now, in the midst of a global pandemic, Kowloon is shapeshifting again. On Thursday, the restaurant will host the grand opening of its car hop and “drive-in” movie theater, located on-premise in the business’ massive parking lot.

Bob Wong, who owns and operates the restaurant with his siblings – the third generation of the family to do so – said that when he hatched the idea, he knew he needed a smart solution for taking orders.

“Just looking at the site, I was like, there’s no way I can put POS computers out there,” he said. He decided to put the ordering power directly in the guests’ hands. “I thought, why reinvent the wheel?”

What Wong envisioned was an early version of the new Paytronix Contactless Dining platform: a digital menu that would enable guests to place orders from their outdoor table and sync those orders seamlessly with the POS system. Wong was already using Paytronix Online Ordering to keep the business running during the shutdown, so he simply adapted the system to the new drive-in setup. […]

The industry rallied around gift cards, but did it help?

As the COVID-19 crisis gripped the restaurant industry, a call went out for people to purchase gift cards to help keep restaurants afloat. The hope was that an increase in gift card sales would sustain restaurants while they converted to a future dominated by online ordering, takeout, and delivery.

Download our annual Gift Card Report

The media ran with the story and restaurants nationwide sent out pleas to their customer base to help with a gift card or egift purchase.

An analysis of restaurant gift card sales in early 2020 reveals that the marketing effort worked but ultimately achieved mixed results. Overall, sales dropped during the pandemic, but that drop was much less severe than we saw in overall restaurant sales during that same period.

Around the same time we saw an increase in overall load amount on the cards purchased, with most of that increase happening in Casual and Fast Casual brands. This suggests that yes, the effort did manage to keep things from getting worse and provided restaurants with a much-needed kick. However, the actual impact on business is much more difficult to discern.

Gift card loads tend to hover around the $30 range for the industry as a whole, but in March we saw that number spike as high as $60, then settle in at about $15 higher than normal, eventually falling well below the normal benchmark.

Markets with the biggest impact

When we look closer, things vary through the industry. Fine Dining, for example, saw little movement in the average price of a gift card when compared year over year, while both Fast Casual and Casual Dining brands increases of between $10 and $30 on their average gift card sales. All that said, much of that lift was gone as we entered Q2. 

It’s also worth noting that included in the “gift cards” category are recurring loads for things like app-based purchases. Your coffee app may ask for your credit card, but you are effectively buying a gift card when you reload, then spending that money over time.

Moving forward, however, we see that gift card sales remain well below last year’s levels as we head into Q2, with traditional bumps in sales that happen around Mother’s Day and Graduation season being much less pronounced than in previous years. It is possible that people have switched to more generic gift card offerings, like those from third party delivery services, but we have little evidence to draw a full conclusion.

This is worth watching. However, given that the vast majority of gift card sales happen during the holiday season, we won’t have a good idea of whether there are major changes to the marketplace until the end of 2020.

Ninja City sees revenue jump 20% during pandemic thanks to online ordering

While plenty of restaurants pivoted to digital ordering and delivery during COVID-19 as a means of staying afloat, a few did more, harnessing an opportunity to expand their reach and customer base. Even fewer did it as well as Ninja City Kitchen and Bar in Cleveland.

“I almost feel guilty saying that we’ve done well during the pandemic,” said co-owner and executive chef Bac Nguyen. “In a nutshell, we’ve done quite well, and [Paytronix] is a big part of that.”

Ninja City was quite successful before the pandemic, regularly packing its dining room full on weekends and some weeknights. But its Asian fusion pub grub was in such high demand during the height of the shutdown in April that the restaurant was making an additional 20% in revenue weekly – and with shortened hours to boot. […]

‘You can’t wait for people to come to you’: Restaurants adapt, learn with online ordering

Justin and Cynthia Loeb, owners of Elote Mexican Kitchen and Oliva Italian Eatery in Fort Worth, Texas, know a thing or two about getting through tough times.

Justin graduated college and headed into the telecommunications field around the turn of the millennium, just as the telecoms crash hit the stock market. He moved to New York City and opened a

wine shop instead, where he met his wife, a restaurant professional.

The pair moved to Fort Worth to be closer to Cynthia’s family and bought a local, struggling full-service restaurant – right as the financial crisis devastated Texas in 2008.

Despite the economic downturn, the Loebs built themselves a stellar reputation at Oliva Italian Eatery, and a few years later expanded their local footprint with Elote Mexican Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant. The secret, according to Justin Loeb, is to anticipate what guests want and provide it before they demand it.

“You can’t wait for people to come to you, you have to go to them. Whether it’s social media or the email blasts, whatever you can do, it’s being proactive instead of reactive,” Loeb explained.

The Loebs themselves got into online ordering at Elote when a large fast food chain opened nearby. The couple anticipated competition for younger guests’ business, and quickly saw the need for technology solutions, which led them to launch online ordering and email marketing with Paytronix Online Ordering.

[…]

Turn customer engagement into meaningful guest experiences.
Get A Demo