Shared challenges that every restaurant faces include employee turnover and increasing sales. What if there was something that could address both of these hurdles, all while introducing FUN into your operations?
If you're not already familiar with the term "gamification", you probably are familiar with the concept. But how does it apply to the restaurant business?
What is Gamification?
A relatively new concept (the term has just become widely used in recent years), it's essentially the use of game thinking and mechanics in a non-game context. It takes the fun attributes of games, like design and competition, and applies them to real-world processes like your restaurant's sales initiatives and operations. It's a concept that can help your employees enjoy their jobs and your customers enjoy their experience.
So what if you could decrease your employee turnover, all the while potentially increasing your sales?
One of the most challenging aspects of running a restaurant is hiring & retaining staff. Gamifying processes throughout your restaurant can foster enjoyment and alleviate some stresses in a few different ways.
Training & Development
Even if you don't have a formal training program in your restaurant, you can still utilize these concepts by making the training process enjoyable and engaging. Offering badges and certificates when a new hire (or even a current employee) "levels up" and reaches an achievement. Made it through all the closing procedures without missing anything on the checklist? Achievement unlocked! Cross trained to some back of the house responsibilities? High Score Bonus!
In a restaurant enviornment, teamwork and communication are essential to operate efficiently and maintin productivity. You can go the competitive route by splitting employees into teams and providing them with cooperative tasks or challenges against other employee teams, or simply hosting a team sports event outside of the restaurant. Some ideas? Set up a scavenger hunt or hold a dough throwing contest to see which employee could win the title for you at the next Pizza Expo.
Keep in mind that team building isn't a one time thing. Once you complete your team building event or experience, keep everyone on the right track by continuing to encourage and uplift your staff on a regular basis, even if it's just a monthly bowling night.
Gamification and Custuomer Loyalty
Gamification isn't just for your employees (although your customers will definitely appreciate the effects of a happy and productive team). You can use these concepts in your restaurant marketing to boost your loyalty and keep guests coming back for more than just the good food.
Building Loyal Customers
Gamified promotions allow restaurants to build deeper engagement than your typical loyalty program. One of the oldest loyalty tricks in the book is actually already a great example of gamification! The "Buy X, Get X Free" is a tride and true way to incentivize guests to return. The trick is to design your loyalty offers to add the right amount of value for the customers. For example, 10 visits might seem like a lot just to get a free appetizer, but 5 visits seems more achievable.
Badges and Certificates
When that customer does earn a free menu item, it's a great opportunity to be fun and create in how you let them know! Their first time ordering a dessert? Earn that "Sweet Tooth" badge! Visiting the restaurant for the 100th time? Unlock VIP status with even more awesome incentives.
This is also a great idea for employees. Having a "Wall of Achievements" with certificates recognizing team members' hard work is a great way to boost morale.
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