This Diner Can Eliminate Your Downtime and Increase Foot Traffic: Meet the Remote Worker
It’s 3pm. Your servers have polished and rolled all the silverware. The tables are gleaming. Sunlight is streaming through the windows. The floors are clean enough to eat off of and there isn’t a single diner in the restaurant. Restaurant downtime is a struggle for every establishment and we are all looking for ways to increase foot traffic. Luckily there is a new diner on the horizon who can fill that gap and draw other customers in as well. The remote worker is a rapidly growing demographic with simple needs and money to spend. Here’s how you can draw them in.
Remote workers could be made up of freelance web designers, authors, software developers, bloggers, traveling salespeople or conference attendees. The possibilities are endless. According to Regus, 76 per cent of Canadians have seen an increase in remote workers compared to five years ago. “As more forward-thinking companies adapt to a new way of working, the remote worker is becoming much more popular when compared to the workforce five years ago,” said Wayne Berger, VP, Regus Canada. “We are seeing more and more companies allowing their employees to work flexibly, however there’s still the challenge of finding the right place to work flexibly.”
Coffee shops score relatively low in popularity for remote workers – unreliable internet connectivity, lack of space and too much background noise are primary reasons for dissatisfaction. The coffee shops loss can be your gain though. Increase your foot traffic during restaurant downtime by offering tables to remote workers during a time that your restaurant is quiet and promoting an ideal work environment. The low cost to provide reliable WiFi coverage to these workers will be offset by the revenue they bring in. In 2015, Canadians spent over $72 billion dining out and business diners made up a significant portion of that spend.
Workers aren’t looking to take over your restaurant for hours without ordering more than a cup of coffee. They expect to need to order food, respect your time and tip well. If they aren’t going to be spending that money in your establishment they would be paying to work from a business center, airport or another location. Capitalize on being able to provide what they need by offering specials geared towards the business diner. Offer appetizers that are friendly to touch screen operators. Provide to-go cups with lids to minimalize spills. Your extra efforts to make their experience enjoyable will not go unnoticed.
Getting these workers in the door can be a challenge if they don’t know the possibility of working from your establishment exists. A new service called OOOT – Out of Office Thinker is designed to bridge the gap and connect workers on the go with the establishments that have tables waiting for them.
The OOOT app (available for IOS) allows OOOTers to search for location near them that have a table available. They can then make a reservation for a time window, show up and get down to business. The benefit to restaurants is that in addition to revenue coming in from the diner, the app sends a gentle reminder to their phone letting them know when their reservation is ending. This allows the restaurant to fill tables during downtime but to also turn that table in time for the lunch or dinner rush. OOOT also takes the next step by connecting with their partners on social media so they can alert OOOTers to which locations have joined or are offering specials to OOOTers.
A simple search of Yelp, TripAdvisor or the internet shows countless users asking for advice on friendly locations to work from when traveling, moving to a new city or even in their own hometown. Remote workers are social and viral. They have a vast network which can increase your foot traffic through word of mouth recommendations. A conference like DX3 can attract over 3,000 attendees. Many will be looking for a place to work while they have downtime. One satisfied OOOT user could easily recommend your establishment to their entire social and professional network in seconds after leaving.
Restaurant downtime will always exist. Finding ways to fill it that increase revenue and create new opportunities takes forward thinking and a willingness to change the status quo. Can you invite a group of food bloggers to come work from your location? Ask a business if they’d like to host a late working lunch? Business diners and remote workers could bring in the bacon, if you can bring them in the door.