The National Restaurant Association announced this month its forecasted trends for the industry in 2021. The trends largely represent a continued reliance on off-premises services and indicate that the association anticipates the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to exert a heavy influence over the industry throughout the next year.
Restaurant brands that haven’t already found their ideal technology partner must do so now, as industry trends and shifting consumer preference both indicate that omnichannel digital experiences are the future of hospitality.
“Technology that might have been ‘nice to have’ before the pandemic suddenly became ‘need to have’ to enable touchless transactions,” the association wrote in its prediction. “Many of the innovations deployed not only helped keep restaurants afloat in 2020, they also signal the trends shaping 2021.”
Here’s the technology the NRA expects to define the restaurant industry this year:
- Off-premises foodservice takes precedence
Pre-pandemic, 80% of FSRs’ traffic was on-premises, according to the association. Now, curbside pickup and delivery are the bread and butter of all service types, not just QSRs. […]
Gift cards make gift-giving easier for consumers and provide a valuable revenue stream for restaurants. Unfortunately, gift card fraud is a common and pervasive problem for merchants. According to a recent report by Mercator Advisory Group, fraud affecting digital gift cards alone represents a $950 million annual loss to the gift card industry – and that doesn’t account for physical card fraud.
A common form of fraud that targets the merchant involves criminals’ use of technology to “guess” the gift account numbers at lightning speed, enabling them to test many randomly generated numbers until they hit a valid card. When successful, this approach, called a “brute force attack,” is the first step in enabling criminals to access the value on compromised cards.
Any form of stored value is susceptible to fraud, including comp cards and stored value linked to a loyalty program.
There are some steps merchants can take to reduce fraud exposure, typically provided by the gift card provider. When choosing a provider, ensure the following safeguards are in place:
Avoidance of sequential numbers. While using sequential numbers when issuing gift cards seems like a logical thing to do, it vastly increases the potential for fraud. Sequential numbers allow criminals to make educated guesses about subsequent card numbers in a series. You’ll want a provider that randomizes the number sequence on the gift cards it issues in order to prevent criminals from deducing entire card numbers. […]
Today’s successful loyalty programs rely on personalization. As technology has expanded marketers’ capabilities through data collection, consumers now expect messages and rewards that match their own specific wants and needs.
This has elevated a new concept in loyalty: using artificial intelligence to drive individual action. Put more succinctly, it’s AI to IA℠.
Artificial intelligence enables marketers to identify patterns and idiosyncrasies among customers in a much faster, more efficient manner. A group of like-minded consumers that might have taken an entire marketing team months to identify can be spotted by a computer in a matter of minutes. Leveraged strategically, that can make a big impact in terms of incremental visits and revenue.
Here is a common example that at least one large brand used to drive astounding results: a 37% lift in visits and a 28% lift in spend from the targeted customers. […]
Subscriptions can be a boon to your bottom line, thanks to benefits like increased customer loyalty and higher per-customer purchase amounts, but if you don’t have the right technology to streamline it, achieving those advantages can become an ongoing headache.
In the same way that subscriptions can be tailored to each restaurant or c-store customer base, technology must be flexible enough to accommodate additions and modifications, like adding referral bonuses, sending membership prompts about renewals, swapping out perks, and other features.