The present-day restaurant ecosystem is immensely diverse and audacious. According to the National Restaurant Association, the projected sales of the U.S. restaurant industry in 2019 was $863 billion dollars-which equates to 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Back in the 1970s, the projected sales were around $43 billion dollars.
David Henkes, a senior principal at the foodservice industry analyst firm Technomic, told Washington Post, “For a number of years, the rate of restaurant growth has exceeded population growth. Too many restaurants are chasing too few consumer dollars.” Amidst this changing ecosystem and competitive market, restaurants must keenly observe the market and consumer-centric trends like a hawk and ensure that they stay relevant by adopting the right strategy and technology.
One such strategy adopted by several restauranteurs all over the globe is the implementation of drive-thrus. The concept of the drive-thru was introduced back in 1948 by a 100-square foot burger shack called In-N-Out. Since then, drive-thrus have thrived in the restaurant ecosystem, helping the restaurants attract customers due to the added convenience quotient
However, setting up a drive-thru is not an easy task—it’s more than just having a window on one of the walls of your restaurant and taking orders from there. It’s like setting up a completely different business and will probably cost you almost half as much as your restaurant business. So why go through the trouble of setting up a drive-thru? Because it’s not just a revenue driver, it has a lot of marketing benefits as well.
Here are a few of the marketing benefits of a drive-thru:
- Use the real estate for advertising purposes. While customers are waiting in their cars, you have their attention. You can use the wait-time for advertising your brand and new product offerings to your customers using bright digital LED signage. Displaying delectable videos and images of high-margin food and beverage items can entice customers and drive sales. These signages can also be used to display promotional videos of your brand and other drive-thru-only offers.
- You can use drive-thrus to gather valuable customer data and insight to over personalized services to your customers, which will help you offer better customer experience and thereby brand loyalty among your customers. You can even use a third-party personalization platform to collect and analyze real-time and historical customer data to create personalized campaigns.Last year, McDonald’s Corporation acquired Dynamic Yield-an Artificial Intelligence-powered personalization platform for over $300 million. The fast-food giant will use provide an enhanced personalized customer experience with digital drive-thru menu displays to show food based on various parameters such as time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic, and trending menu items. “The decision technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer’s order based on their current selections,” the company claimed.
Using customer data such as phone numbers, vehicle information, and loyalty and membership accounts, restaurants can gauge different customer preferences. This insight can be used for mobile marketing and sending personalized newsletters about the various offers available, changes in the menu, upcoming events, and other restaurant-centric news.
- You can use various tech for restaurant drive-thru to streamline the operations, thereby freeing up your restaurant staff to engage with the customers, thus enhancing the customer experience quotient of your brand. Reinforcing your drive-thru operations with technology and state-of-the-art equipment can not only help offer a better drive-thru experience for your customers, but it can also boost brand your restaurant.
- Most customers waiting for their turn in a drive-thru use their smartphones to kill time. By offering these customers a small incentive such as a free beverage, you can get them to participate in a brief market research survey. The survey results can prove to be a treasure trove of valuable insight sourced directly from your key target crowd.
- Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing tools for restaurants. You can incentivize customers to post pictures on their Instagram handles using unique hashtags that promote your brand and tag your restaurant, while they document their drive-thru experience.
You can also use Snapchat’s Geofilter feature to create a customized Snapchat filter specific to your restaurant brand, maybe even incorporate your logo. This filter can then be used by Snapchat users in your restaurant or the drive-thru to add to their content, thereby enhancing the visibility of your brand.
Drive-thru Drives Your Brand
Setting up and running a streamlined drive-thru service is no walk in the park. It’s a massive investment and requires your blood, sweat, and tears to succeed in this game. However, with the right tools and strategy, drive-thrus can be a powerful branding platform for your restaurant. Don’t be afraid of investing in technology to streamline your drive-thru operations. The right tech tools can work wonders to enhance the drive-thru experience for your customers and thereby boost the brand value of your restaurant.
Learn How To Streamline Your Business Processes To Make IFTA Reporting Convenient
The processes and regulations of a trucking business are as complex and intricate as the size of the business itself. It is not possible for a single person or a small team to oversee and run everything in a trucking company. So, any small upgrade or tool that would help in making the business processes easier is readily absorbed by the industry as long as they are economical.
When the IFTA was created in the 1900s, it was aimed to:
- Quickly and effortlessly log data
- Eliminate extra personnel.
- Set up a clear process.
- Automate repetitive tasks.
- Help keep things organized.
A wave of happiness flowed across all personnel in the trucking industry. It had just made many of the processes and documentation that much smoother.
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What is the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)?
IFTA was created in 1996. It stands for the International Fuel Tax Agreement.
According to the South Carolina Legislature, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an organization of states and the Canadian provinces under which the fuel use tax obligations of interstate and international motor carriers are administered.
Motor carriers across the country had to maintain a report of the miles they drove and how much fuel they consumed all the time. This was particularly bothersome when carriers had to constantly cross different state borders.
Before the IFTA was created, the trucking company had maintained tremendous amounts of documents, paperwork, unit conversions and much more every time their trucks drove across different jurisdictions in order to file the fuel tax reports, i.e., each jurisdiction had its own rules and regulations for filing the fuel tax reports. This meant the vehicles also required multiple fuel tax licenses.
The creation of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) in 1996 brought together 48 states of the United States of America (USA) and 10 provinces of Canada together to enable trucking companies to file their fuel taxes under a single license. This saved the trucking companies a lot of time and money. Visit Samsara for the complete list of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) member jurisdictions.
Some jurisdictions where the IFTA credentials are now valid are Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.
Despite all of this, there can sometimes be mistakes in the IFTA reporting process. But the quest for perfection never stops.
So, what are some ways that can help to make the reporting more convenient? An effective way to go to the roots of the problem – Business Processes. Streamlining business processes has the potential to substantially improve efficiency and speed of any associated task, and filing IFTA reports is no exception.
Streamline Your Business Processes
By undertaking simple, yet significant measures, business processes can be effectively streamlined to make the reporting process of IFTA buttery smooth. Their benefitting consequences result in making the IFTA reporting process more convenient.
Here are 5 measures that you can take:
1. Process Monitoring and Control
Process monitoring and control can radically transform the way your business works. It brings with it:
- The motivation to collaborate.
- Improvements in team management.
- Enhancements in communication, visibility, and transparency.
- Advanced data analytics, pattern recognition, and more.
- Ease of data access, transmission, and maintenance across people and platforms.
- Automation of repetitive tasks and periodic error corrections.
- Design and form tools to customize dashboards and profiles.
- Safety and security from hacks and data breaches.
2. Maintaining an Accurate Record of the Miles
Maintaining a record of the miles and fuels consumed is vital to file the IFTA reports.
You might be tempted to provide a rough estimate of the fuel consumed, and miles driven as the tax filing deadline closes in on you. But do not make this mistake, because the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requires you to be as accurate as possible. Failing to do so can put your company and the fleet at the risk of an audit.
3. Good GPS Tracking
The incorporation of a good GPS vehicle tracker will surely benefit in the long term if not in the short term. Samsara’s GPS tracking helps to provide real-time vehicle visibility. This reduces the scope for any falsification.
The benefits of GPS tracking are not just limited to real-time vehicle tracking and visibility, but also extend to the following:
- Optimization of routes to improve efficiency and decrease time.
- Improving security to lower the risks of losing assets.
- Improving customer service by providing features such as live sharing.
- Reducing costs by providing insights to help make better decisions.
4. Using ELD and Fleet Management Software
Failure to file reports on time can cost you a lot. They can result in the suspension of the license or heavy fines for the company. However, paperwork is tiring, uninteresting, time-consuming, and repetitive.
Turning towards technology to track vehicles, miles, and fuel purchases can do wonders in making the experience of filing tax reports effortless by seamlessly integrating into your workflow to improve efficiency, strengthen safety and ensure compliance.
Modern innovations in the logistics industry, like ELD compliance solutions and fleet management software, made the process faster, streamlined, and efficient.
5. Using A Dedicated IFTA Software
A dedicated IFTA software will help you ease many things starting from:
- Maintaining a directory and organizing all your fuel receipts.
- Accurate and updated logs.
- Recording all the miles driven.
This will help you file reports faster and better.
It is not easy to log each and every small and minute mile of your truck. A dedicated IFTA software takes care of them for you by helping you log data incrementally without any hassle.
The aforementioned processes will have thoroughgoing reforms in your business to make IFTA tax filing and reporting more convenient than ever before.
Modern technological innovations improve speed, efficiency, increase accuracy, decrease errors (especially human errors) and ensure compliance to the Hours of Service (HOS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
This article helps guide you through a process that can otherwise seem intimidating and can become a challenge.
All of this works in synergy to eliminate paperwork and repetition, enabling you to dexterously file quarterly IFTA reports for your company.
No More Cutting Costs, This App Helped Me Improve My Standard of Living Big Time
I remember reading a quote once, “an empty room is a story waiting to happen, and you are the author.” This quote left behind a lasting influence on my mind and artistic soul. It made me realise how much we influence our surroundings and vice versa.
I started to appreciate the efforts that people put into transforming a house into a warm and loving home. It was almost as if our homes are a reflection of what we are on the inside.
India’s home decor and furnishing market has been flourishing. It was estimated that the sector would have a valuation of about INR 40,000 crores by 2020. Keeping this trend in mind, I decided to jump the bandwagon and kickstart a career in reselling home decor.
My Tryst With Home Decor
I was always fascinated by home improvement projects. It had become an obsession for me to scroll through Pinterest or watch home transformation videos on YouTube.
As much as I liked to watch such home improvement-related content, it was my biggest regret that I could not afford the posh and expensive home decor items.
Living on a shoe-string budget and wanting a dream home was almost an oxymoron. I took up a regular 9 to 5 job and slogged through the years.
I didn’t make a lot, but it was enough o make ends meet. However, through all these struggles, there was always a part of me that nurtured this artistic streak.
In this period, I would often frequent the local handicraft and flea markets to bag some cheap but pretty home decor items. Honestly, these rendezvous were very time consuming, not to forget that these markets were often overcrowded or located in dingy places.
However, it still could not dampen my dream of having a luxurious home with shaggy rugs, silky curtains, and walnut wood furniture.
Once while visiting a mall, I noticed that the home decor items on display were a lot more expensive than the bargains that I scored in the local markets. I saw a similar trend when browsing through online home decor products.
At that very moment, the idea struck me – I wanted to start a business selling home decor products at affordable rates.
Why I Chose Selltm and How it Helped me
I came across the Selltm app while looking for home decor wholesalers. It blew my mind how the app had a wide array of home decor products to meet every homeowner’s needs. Plus, everything was affordable!
The Selltm App was easy to set up and operate. In a couple of clicks, I had created my profile on Selltm and was ready to get selling! There are several reasons why I chose Selltm, but the primary reason remains the same – it had a variety of products at pocket-friendly rates!
All the home decor items available over Selltm were not only a treat to the eye but were high-quality products. How do I know? Because I started my business by purchasing a couple of items for myself! The experience was seamless and hassle-free, while the on-time delivery was excellent too!
After my trial run, I browsed through the collection and created a personalised catalogue for a friend and forwarded it to him over WhatsApp. He was massively impressed by my suggestions and ended up purchasing two items from the catalogue right then and there.
My phone’s notification informing me of my earnings was one of the sweetest sounds that I had ever heard. I almost could not believe that landing an online business was this easy!
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As a start, I began displaying my catalogues on family WhatsApp groups. I asked my family to share their honest feedback on what they thought of the products.
The response was mostly positive, but the icing on the cake was when a few relatives started placing orders from my link. They got their favourite items at a cheap rate, and I got a cut on their purchase.
To test the waters further, I asked the members of my housing society’s group on whether they would be interested in purchasing home decor items. After receiving an affirmative answer by a few, I created a separate group for the interested individuals and began sharing my catalogue with them.
The society’s WhatsApp group paced things up for me. The cute and trendy home decor products on Selltm were such crowd-favourites that I had to place advance orders and keep stock at home!
In the final stage of setting up my business, I pooled in my office contacts and tried my luck there. And what do you know, my business took off to a whole new level!!!
How to Start Reselling Home Decor
If, like me, you want to get into a business of reselling home decor, here are a few useful tips to help you get started:
- Install Selltm on your phone: I cannot express what a blessing this app was for me right from the day I conceived the idea. The app is loaded with amazing features, and as a seller, you get daily payouts. Buyers get 7-day refunds and COD facility, which keeps them happy.
- Presentation matters: You are not selling a home decor item; you are selling a missing piece of a jigsaw that makes your client’s home complete. Share high-quality product images so that customers can scrutinise it thoroughly before making a purchase.
- Know your audience: As I have stated previously, we like to decorate our homes as per our personal choices. Hence, you wouldn’t recommend something modern and artistic to someone who prefers vintage items, right? Take the time to understand your client.
- Promote your goods: Everyone knows that you sell good stuff, but don’t just stop there! Customers don’t buy home decor products often. However, when they plan on doing so, you should be at the forefront of their minds!
I firmly believe that we are a product of our environment. Several individuals understand this fact and make an effort to create a surrounding that is nurturing. And I am here to help them achieve that.
Thanks to Selltm, I am no longer living from paycheck to paycheck. More importantly, I am finally living the dream of beautifying not only my own home, but everyone else’s too!
5 Interesting Facts about Running a Restaurant
The restaurant industry can seem like a bit of a mystery to those who do not run them. All the moving parts of the business can actually be rather fascinating the more you learn more about it! Are you interested in getting into the industry or even just curious about the ins and outs of a restaurant? Keep reading for some interesting details you might not normally consider affect food businesses!
The Technology Aspect is Actually Pretty Impressive
In today’s modern-day, technology is everywhere, and running a restaurant is no exception. Almost every aspect of your life is aided by technology, and restaurants can also utilize these tools to help to run a smooth and successful business. Without it, sales would not go as smoothly as they do today.
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant and the technology was down. It was hectic, right? You wouldn’t think of it usually, but easy tasks like payments, tracking inventory, and even managing employee schedules are all coordinated through technology. The best pos hardware systems can do all three so restaurants can provide an efficient, streamlined service.
Location is More Important Than You Would Think
It is always a bit annoying to find out that the one restaurant everyone is talking about is completely out of the way. For most restaurants, location is the determining factor for their success. It allows people to reach them conveniently, and if the restaurant is on a main road or busy area, people are more likely just to walk in to be served.
Concept Plays a Large Role in a Restaurant’s Success
Have you ever been to a restaurant that had no specific cuisine? How about a place where the ambiance was all over the place, making for a confusing atmosphere?
Concepts are essential in the success of running a restaurant. Without a cohesive idea for food, location, and overall offering of the business, it is highly likely that the restaurant will not succeed. If you think about it, the restaurants that become well-known are those with a precise concept-such as an Italian restaurant with its food names in Italian, good music, and a traditional Italian dining room that serves food family-style, for example. This is the type of concept that creates an experience that the customer is more likely to enjoy than one that does not focus on one aspect.
The Anticipation of a New Restaurant Is Key
If you are looking to begin in the restaurant business, marketing is vital to your business’ success. Before the doors open, you should be sure to get the word out about your business, especially to places that will promote it. Word-of-mouth marketing works great as well.
The first month is incredibly important to gauge the number of customers you will bring in, as well as identifying any issues that prevent running a smooth operation. Everyone wants to try a new restaurant, so spreading the news of your opening can help to bring in a steady customer base. Who knows, maybe your first customer will be a regular!
Family Can Make or Break Your Business
When it comes to opening a restaurant, it can be tempting to hire those closest to you instead of trying to outsource for employees. While this works in some cases, it is important to remember that your closest relations may not turn out to be your best workers.
Running a restaurant can be challenging to start with, and the last thing you want is for your business to be in peril due to straining relationships. Keep business where business belongs, and personal ties separate.
Of course, it is absolutely possible to work with your family, but tight boundaries should be drawn to ensure a lasting vitality for your business.
Remember to Stay Passionate!
The restaurant business is tough. There will be many highs and lows, and it is easy to get stuck in the mindset that things will not work out the way you envisioned them.
When times like this hit, remember why you started this business in the first place: your passion. Without that, it will be easy to decide to give up. If you have a solid reason and dream for your business and you work toward it every day, along with remembering these five steps, you are sure to find success in your future.
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