All around the world, the F&B world has been one of the hardest-hit industries following the pandemic. But there’s also been a transformation underway: people are starting to more frequently order food online to be delivered to their homes rather than to dine-in at a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
While this comes as good news to some restaurant chains, others are struggling to keep up. In 2020, Malaysia saw more than 2,000 permanent closures of F&B establishments in 2020 alone. More savvy restaurants are turning towards certain F&B innovations like cloud kitchens to try and get a competitive edge in the industry.
At Kitchen Connect, we’re at the centre of F&B innovation. We’ve seen exactly what it takes to find success in the new norm by offering our cloud kitchen solutions to a wide range of restaurant businesses in Malaysia. Here are 10 different tips you can implement in your business to take it to the next level.
1. Open your own cloud kitchen
There are numerous benefits to opening a cloud kitchen over a traditional restaurant. In a cloud kitchen, you’re not catering to dine-in orders, meaning you can skip paying rent for seating areas, private bathrooms, offices, and more. Instead, you only need a kitchen. All of your orders are then handed off to a food courier service who will take the food to your customer’s door.
Cloud kitchens are often organised by a dedicated operator like us. At Kitchen Connect, we handle all the licenses, insurance, renovations, constructions, and other bureaucratic matters. They’re also much cheaper to run, as you won’t need prime real estate nor need to pay the salaries of a front of house team. Because of this, cloud kitchens see, on average, profits of around 15-20% – a figure much greater than the 3-6% of a typical traditional restaurant. Operating with innovative F&B solutions like these make kitchen expansion a realistic possibility, even under the pandemic.
2. Search for better suppliers
No matter whether you’re running a dine-in or food-delivery restaurant, your food is only as good as your ingredients. Spend the time necessary to find suppliers which offer the highest possible quality ingredients at the price point you need. This way, you’ll be able to cook up better food that your customers love, and squeeze a larger profit margin for your restaurant.
3. Uphold continuously high standards
Good first impressions are vital – but so is maintaining this image. To keep customers coming back to your restaurant, you need to deliver consistently good food. One bad experience can be all it takes to turn someone off your restaurant.
This is particularly important when undergoing periods of kitchen expansion. If you can implement high-quality control over your food as your brand is growing, customers will be more willing to dine in your new outlets and trust the food that you serve.
4. Partner with delivery platforms
It’s no secret that third-party delivery platforms have been at the forefront of F&B innovation for years now. In 2021, it is estimated that more than $267 Million USD will be spent on these platforms alone. This is a major shift away from predominantly dine-in orders, and failing to embrace it will see your brand fall behind.
5. Upgrade your online presence
Developing your online presence is imperative if you want your restaurant to succeed. Many people will find out about your website by using search engines, social media, and more.
To start, make sure your website has attractive visuals, is user-friendly, and has all the relevant information, including a menu. This menu should be easy to read, regularly updated, and feature clear descriptions of all the food and beverages you offer.
6. Encourage your customers to leave reviews
Without a steady flow of customers from online sources, you wouldn’t last long as a food-delivery business. When people weigh up food options, one of the first things they take into consideration is online reviews. These could be longer-form reviews left on Google, or simple star ratings left on the delivery platforms themselves.
7. Invest in data-driven solutions
Data is at the epicenter of F&B innovation. Data enables quick and responsive solutions to be made for issues that would potentially go unnoticed. This has the benefit of streamlining your operations and allows you to cut costs in areas that are causing harm to your profit margins.
In our cloud kitchens, all orders are managed and tracked through one centralised tablet. With the data collected here, you can see which dishes are your most popular, which give you the largest profit margin, and where the bottlenecks are in your kitchen. Following this, kitchen expansion becomes a far more realistic evolution for your business.
8. Get professional visuals
High-quality images and videos can be all it takes to persuade someone to order your food instead of one of your competitors. You need to make your food look appetizing and delicious from the moment potential customers scroll past your restaurant on the device they’re using.
Consider hiring professionals to get a bank of visuals you can use and reuse, as long as you offer the same menu items. Post them on social media, your website, third-party delivery platforms, and more.
9. Embrace promotions
Offering seasonal promotions or dishes is a great way to keep your restaurant news-worthy and in people’s minds. You could become known for a great Christmas special or potentially stellar birthday events, depending on what suits your style of food.
For a delivery-only business, this is slightly more complicated. However, you can still offer seasonal dishes, larger catering services for at-home events, and much more.
10. Your staff are your greatest asset
Your employees are the backbone of your organisation. Through their organised and driven collaboration, your business finds success. It’s essential that your employees remain motivated through even challenging times, so that they may remain productive and continue to help produce quality food for your customers. To do this, you should consider offering incentives to them. This way, you can help them feel as invested in your restaurant’s success as you are.