January 27, 2023

How restaurants use answering services to provide the best customer experience

How has technology changed restaurant operations? 

Restaurants today cook delicious food, provide warm service, and do whatever they can to provide a great customer experience, just like restaurants have always done. But over the past decade, restaurant technology has dramatically changed how restaurant workers and owners get it all done. 

Gone are the days of the notepad, the frazzled scribbling of orders, and the frantically searching for chits on the line. 

Almost everything in restaurant operations has evolved dramatically in the past 15-20 years, from bookkeeping to ordering to managing vendors to reserving tables. 

Here’s how various restaurant technologies have changed the game for restaurant businesses of all sizes. 

Popular types of restaurant management technology

  1. Restaurant management technology like point of sale systems keep the whole restaurant connected, ensure order accuracy, and help with inventory and accounting. 

  1. Restaurant online ordering technology lets customers enjoy your food from the comfort of their couches, and lets restaurants increase revenue by reaching customers who don’t want to come in. 

  1. Restaurant employee scheduling technology has replaced the age-old system of a printed schedule hung outside the locker room, ensuring that all staff are scheduled for the right amount of hours. 

  1. Restaurant accounting technology has made running payroll and reconciling invoices into a minutes-long process — not an hours-long one.

  1. Cooking technology like instant-read thermometers help ensure safe storage temperatures at all times and provide detailed analytics and alerts that help eliminate manual work. Smart thermometers can be programmed to take temperatures every 10 seconds or every 12 hours, depending on your needs. 

  1. Restaurant marketing technology like CRM systems and social media scheduling platforms can help restaurants stay in touch with customers and capture the attention of new ones. 

  1. Restaurant answering service technology has helped restaurant staff focus on serving guests who are onsite, without getting pulled away to answer a simple question over the phone. It has also helped restaurants take reservations and even orders without taking up the valuable time of a staff member — especially in times when the restaurant is short-staffed.

Learn more about building a restaurant tech stack that makes all your operations run smoothly.

5 ways that restaurants use virtual call center software or answering services to improve the customer experience

Anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant knows that it’s the type of work where there’s always something (or 10 things) to do. When the phone rings, it’s usually just added to the ever-growing mental to-do list of everyone on the floor. Especially during peak times, they can’t just drop the tray of drinks, stop talking to a customer mid-sentence, or run from the pass to the phone to see who’s calling. 

That means the phone is ringing, and ringing, and ringing, until either a staff member is finally free to pick up, or the person on the phone gives up. 

And when a person calls a restaurant, they’re signaling huge interest in partaking in whatever your business has to offer. But if they hang up because no one can come to the phone, you’ve lost their business and they’ve gone to a competitor. An ever-ringing phone means repeatedly missing revenue. 

A restaurant call center software, also known as a virtual phone answering service, can help. 

Here’s five ways that a telephone answering service for restaurants can help you capture all the business that comes your way over the phone.

1. Answer calls when staff isn’t available, or during off-hours

When the phone rings, an AI virtual telephone answering service will answer right away. It can provide human answers to all questions the restaurant programs it to understand, which will take care of most calls that come in without needing a staff member’s attention. 

AI answering services are also ready to talk even if the restaurant is closed and a call comes in. That means no more missing out on potential business just because you’re closed when a customer happens to call. 

2. Make reservations, or confirm availability

The number-one reason why people call restaurants is because they’re looking to make reservations or confirm availability. Even when a restaurant has an online reservation system, some customers will always call anyway. Luckily, an AI phone call answering service that’s linked to a restaurant reservation platform can book reservations — all without needing a staff member to pick up the phone. 

3. Take orders and provide digital ordering options

You can even program your restaurant phone answering service to take orders by connecting it to your online ordering platform. This way, customers are automatically directed to order online during off hours or busy times. 

4. Provide information like hours, locations, directions, and specials

When a potential customer calls a restaurant, they’re often trying to confirm if what they saw online is correct. Is the restaurant actually open on Mondays? Which location has the special I saw on Instagram?

You can program your virtual answering service to answer all these questions, and to share helpful information that can even lead to upsells, like ordering the special instead of a typical go-to. 

5. Route calls for special requests that need to get to a human pronto — like urgent service needs, event inquiries, or staffing

When a call does require the attention of a staff member, your restaurant phone answering service can identify its own limitations and route the call to the right staff member. For example, if a customer calls to ask about event catering availability, the service will route the call to the GM right away, or provide an email where they can request more information.

Virtual answering services have all the benefits of a traditional call center, plus the ability to integrate with the rest of your restaurant tech stack 

PLNT burger implemented Slang.ai to save employees valuable time spent answering the phone and handling simple customer questions. In the first month, Slang.ai handled 245 calls and saved the team 20 hours across PLNT Burger’s three trial locations — a not-insignificant labor cost savings when busy, high-volume restaurants often need to assign a staff member to be mostly in charge of the phone. 

With Slang.ai, your restaurant can answer every call as if it was you answering it. No more hang-ups, no more endless ringing. Slang.ai ensures the calls are answered in a friendly and helpful manner each and every time, while providing service that gives the caller the exact information they’re looking for.

Want to learn more about how Slang.ai can help your restaurant business save hours a week? Get a demo today.


Alex Sambvani

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