Restaurantology Blog

How to know when restaurants are in a buying cycle

May 27, 2022 | Trends and Advice | by Grant Gadoci

All restaurants share a goal: do better than the day before.

Seems simple, but when the economy came to a screeching halt, restaurants pivoted to to-go and delivery. Pizza and chicken-driven brands prevailed, and quick-serve restaurants were the new in-store dining. As restrictions eased, the once price-conscious consumer was now willing to invest more in a top quality experience if it meant they didn’t have to manage any of the details.

So wait – does that mean 3rd party delivery investments are no longer a priority? Should all full service restaurants now invest in table management software and add QR codes to every table? Yes and no.

Aaron Allen of Aaron Allen & Associates predicts the next five years will be a turning point for the industry – which means the brands you’re targeting are likely making critical investments today. To understand how and when to start engaging with them, you first have to understand what makes up their current operational DNA. Let’s take a walk…

What is a restaurant’s lifecycle? 

A restaurant opens. The team operates according to plan to the best of their abilities, identifies the elements outside of their control, and captures enough data to dictate what to do next.

Factors within their control: where they open up locations, what decor they purchase, who they hire

Factors (largely) outside of their control: customer sentiment, supply chain challenges, team retention

Currently, restaurants aren’t granted the time or resources it takes to truly ramp teams, develop menus, and monitor overall brand performance. But restaurants at any point in their lifecycle have to bridge the gap between the controllable and uncontrollable. Here’s where restaurant technology can help, as long as the value it brings is clear.

Where does your solution add the most value? 

The longer a brand has been in the market, the more established they believe their product and/or processes are. For emerging brands, their tech stack is limited and full of opportunity, but they might not know where to start. Fortunately, the latest tech is all about finding another way to operate through automation and real-time intelligence, but what causes friction between a rep and a buyer is misalignment of priorities. What we know:

  • Commercial teams are tasked with using product launches and enhancements to generate pipeline.
  • The biggest priority for restaurants today is consistency, productivity, and results (often measured in $$$).

While your solution might directly address one of those priorities, the magic is in your timing and delivery in order to successfully convey the value it will bring. What restaurant operators are looking for:

How happy are my guests? → customer experience management platforms like Yumpingo, InMoment, and Medallia

How do I pay my team? → Human capital management solutions like ADP, Fourth, and Paylocity

How lean can the team run? → Labor management and forecasting software like 7Shifts, HotSchedules, and Schedulefly

How are my sales? → POS analytics through Revel, Toast, and SpotOn

How do I keep up with customer activity? → Customer management software like Tap the Table, SevenRooms, and Wisely

Every product is going to have a blind spot – sorry! But the value of your solution is strengthened through integrations that help structure and push the data to a centralized place. However, restaurants will be looking to find an end-to-end solution to keep operations as streamlined as possible for teams. If you know what their current tech stack is, you can market an end-to-end solution through integrations to show value.

When is it time to start engaging?

When it comes to engaging a customer or prospect, you shouldn’t approach any two brands the same. Whether a restaurant is preparing for growth or addressing a pain point it usually stems from:

  • New leadership
  • Acquisitions
  • New concepts
  • Store openings/closings

Getting visibility into when these changes happen is instrumental for any sales cycle. The key to success is acting on it – fast. For anyone in a selling-based role, you can accelerate opportunities when your competition doesn’t have access to the right data, is inundated with manual data entry, or fails to show the value early on in sales conversations.

Takeaways

Does your solution help with consistency, productivity, or reporting? Look at the current restaurant data of your target brands and ask yourself:

Partner data: Is this an opportunity to integrate?

Competitor analysis: Can I displace an outdated system?

New concept/locations: Are they ready to introduce a completely new solution?

While restaurants historically have been slow to adopt new technology, you want to be the first to identify when there’s a shift in how restaurateurs want to run operations.

Restaurantology is an emerging stealth startup specializing in restaurant data capture like never before. Each month, Restaurantology visits over 15,000 multi-unit restaurant websites to verify a variety of public data points that we can extract, analyze, and turn into valuable insights. Our proprietary technology speeds up information gathering so reps and companies can spend more time generating revenue and less time on low-impact, administrative tasks.