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In May 2020, SevenRooms’ GM of Europe, Danilo Mangano had the opportunity to speak with top UK restaurateurs -- Sunaina Sethi, Group Operations Director & Co-Founder at JKS Restaurants, and Brian Tollip and Stephen Neudegg from Dishoom, who serve as Chief Operating Officer and Financial Director, respectively.
Together, they touched on three main pillars over the course of their conversation: shifting guest experiences, the role of delivery throughout the pandemic, and the implementation of new technology. Read on to learn how Dishoom and JKS Restaurants incorporated new operational practices and how technology and data play into their strategies moving forward.
DM: What is top of mind for you when you think about guest experience throughout the pandemic? How are you planning on communicating these changes with guests?
SS: From our point of view, new procedures that have been put in place will definitely continue once restaurants around the world reopen their doors. We are doing what we need to do in order to make our guests feel safe and hygienic at our venues. It’s a bit hard to say what the “new restaurant” of the future will look like because of all of the different measures the World Health Organization and other local governments are suggesting. To ensure guests are not at risk when dining, we reassure our guests and make sure we are following guidelines and regulations. We’re communicating this messaging with our guests when they order delivery or takeaway by including messages of reassurance. It’s tricky to predict how guests will react but the best thing to do in this situation is plan for various scenarios and outcomes.
DM: Do you predict delivery will be a long-term revenue stream for businesses or just something to help navigate through these difficult times?
SN: First and foremost, it’s fascinating to witness how retail has gone multi-channel. What this has shown us is that in-person restaurant experiences mean everything to guests. However, it makes us think about how to translate in-person experiences and adopt an omni-channel approach. Delivery will be a sustainable part of restaurants. For example, we have seen great innovation around meal kits and prep-at-home meals. Consumers are keen to interact with brands they love, and delivery’s important because it gives an opportunity for them to interact with these brands in their own physical space.
SevenRooms’ GM of Europe, Danilo Mangano, Sunaina Sethi from JKS Restaurants, Brian Tollip and Stephen Neudegg from Dishoom
DM: Technology will play a large role in restaurants in this new era of hospitality. As many restaurant operators look to revisit their current technology stack, what has been top of mind from a tech standpoint?
SN: In the beginning of 2020, there were a number of technology enhancements that Dishoom was looking at implementing, including contactless payment solutions, digital receipts, streamlined ordering and more. This has obviously been accelerated and adopted quicker than planned. But new areas we’re curious about include employee scheduling tools and reprioritizing employee communications.
DM: What is one thing that excites you about the post-pandemic future?
BT: Amidst the impactful last few months, one thing the pandemic has made me realise is that it’s really important to stop and reflect about the world, as it is today. It’s truthfully really exciting to think about the opportunity to look after our employees and guests in a better, more innovative and safer way in the future. Throughout all of the hard work the world has put in over the last few months, it’s refreshing to find vibrant energy in creative thinking!