How visual communications can serve up a great dining experience

Javier Lopez discusses how visual communications created and printed in-house can cut lead times and play a critical role in driving loyalty and repeat bookings for restaurants and cafés when they reopen
Restaurant and café operators are up against countless challenges, from staying ahead of market trends and keeping the menu fresh, to competing with other businesses through loyalty offers and promotions. 
 
With social media and online platforms making it easy for customers to impact their reputation, providing the best possible customer experience has become more important than ever before. As 2020 has taught us all, unexpected challenges can completely turn the trading environment upside-down overnight. 
 
European dining establishments face ongoing operational struggles amid challenging conditions such as infection waves, mandated reductions in seating capacity due to social distancing regulations, and consumer safety concerns. Add to this the fact that the pandemic has altered our eating habits and lifestyles as well as accelerated the use of digital channels such as online ordering meaning the ability to be able to adapt and respond has never been more important1.

A taste for print

Having the flexibility to print signage on demand can make it easier for restaurant and café operators to quickly respond to evolving circumstances, reassuring customers by keeping them informed of changing opening hours, menu updates, promote outdoor dining, and social distancing measures, while maintaining great customer service and delivering an amazing experience.
 
Ensuring every customer feels special is essential to driving loyalty and repeat bookings. However, dealing with changing demands and expectations at short notice and with tight budgets can be a common challenge particularly when relying on costly suppliers and their long lead times. By eliminating the lead times associated with third party print suppliers, for example, restaurant and café operators can take full control of their customer communications. 
The ability to produce, print and place a wide range of collateral in-house and on-demand can empower dining establishments to meet changing customer expectations and react to other emerging challenges quickly, cost-effectively and to a professional quality. To achieve this, restaurant and café operators can invest in a compact media flexible device such as OKI’s Colour Printers that can produce everything from personalised banners and signage up to 1.3m long to tablecloths, place cards, waterproof menus, door hangers, tent cards, vouchers, floor and window stickers. Furthermore, in a period where the use of low-touch solutions is key, table stickers with QR codes to access changing menus as well as enabling customers to place orders can be printed on a daily basis. Or single use / wipe clean menus can be created and printed on demand. The options are endless for café or restaurant owners by simply having the right printer in place.

Food for thought

To respond to emerging challenges facing the HoReCa sector such as the impact of the pandemic, dining establishments should consider exploring new industry trends such as pivoting to enable online ordering for collection or delivery. Launched in 2017, Deliveroo Editions connects restaurants, chefs, and kitchens with customers in residential areas that are typically underserved by inspiring and exciting takeaway options2. Kitch, a Portuguese start-up, has secured €1 million in investment to build ‘delivery-only’ kitchens that allow local users to order online3
 
Cafés and restaurants that are unable to open due to restrictions or are operating at limited capacity can take inspiration from these concepts and build new revenue streams from local diners craving great takeaway options. Printing in-house can support establishments in adapting to such a business model quickly and seamlessly by enabling the printing of professional quality branded packaging, menus, flyers and leaflets promoting this new service. 

Looking ahead

Restaurant and café operators shouldn’t just learn to expect the unexpected, they also need to be ready to adapt to unanticipated challenges, and fast. Dining establishments must respond to sudden operational changes, shifting customer expectations and embracing new business opportunities quickly, seamlessly and cost effectively. 
 
As part of its Adapt Today campaign, OKI is offering a Business Agility pack valued at approximately €500* to provide restaurant and café owners with the flexibility to swiftly respond to changing circumstances. 
Free 'Adapt Today' Pack - Valued @ €500+*
The pack includes a free** six-month subscription to The Design Hub and ABBYY FineScanner Premium, media for sector-specific applications and access to templates and artwork. These tools and assets are designed to help businesses quickly adapt their customer signage and communications to changing circumstances, such as adhering to government guidelines or reacting to evolving market and social trends, without having to rely on third party suppliers.

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