Restaurant call centers is a new a disruptive concept helping restaurant chains dramatically increase their sales while helping restaurants decrease their labor costs. As major restaurant chains face a tide of increased competition and tighter margins, they are searching for solutions to bring down costs. Restaurants in all sectors face rising labor and food expenses as well as high expectations for customer service.
That’s why restaurant call centers have been gaining traction across quick service, fast casual, and fine dining restaurant segments.
In case you’re not familiar with it, a restaurant call center is a service that allows restaurants to outsource certain operational functions to a third-party vendor outside of the restaurant location.
To help restaurants experience lower costs and better service, the TSD Global’s Off-Premise Division was launched to support drive thru, call-in, and catering orders as well as reservation scheduling.
With the growth of third-party delivery services, and the corresponding costs, it’s clear there’s a big need for a cost-effective solution to streamline the call-in take-out and delivery ordering process. With restaurant call centers, restaurants and consumers can have a better and more cost-effective customer service experience.
Our solution eliminates the need for you to hire phone service employees internally and will allow your on-premise employees to focus on providing a great guest experience to your customers inside your restaurant.
We’ve seen clients cut costs by 30 to 50 percent by streamlining drive thru, catering, and call-in order taking by utilizing our restaurant call centers. Restaurant operators cut costs by reducing labor and using potentially smaller real estate footprint in designing store layouts. You’ll get the benefit of having the capability to handle orders quickly without the fixed labor costs.
In addition to lower labor costs, benefits accrue to the bottom line through higher restaurant throughput and increased upselling revenues.
In this e-book, we’ll take a look at the key restaurant operations that benefit from off-premise support. We’ll give you a taste of the TSD Global secret sauce that allows us to exceed customer expectations.
HOW RESTAURANT CALL CENTERS WORK
Essentially, if a restaurant company has multiple locations and a customer wants to place a call-in order, they speak directly with one of our trained and certified agents to place their order. For fast casual restaurants we typically set up a phone number or multiple phone numbers to route calls to our service center and take the orders for those locations.
It doesn’t matter if 10 people call in at one time because we train teams of agents to be prepared to handle the flow of orders at any time. All calls are answered immediately and professionally with your restaurant name and standard greeting.
By creating these on-demand teams, orders can be received at the store in a streamlined fashion, saving money on traditional labor costs spent to staff for phone calls. The on-premise customer experience is better because the staff is not distracted by phone calls, taking attention away from customers in the store.
Our centralized, well-trained restaurant call center reps can handle all types of orders and reservations in a consistent fashion in keeping with a company’s brand standards and standard procedures.
Customers love not waiting on hold, and being able to talk with a phone agent that can hear their order clearly. Agents can up-sell and cross-sell, giving educated answers about menu items that lead to increased sales.
Orders flow into your POS and KDS systems at the appropriate location. We have built out multiple integrations to streamline order taking and maximize order accuracy.
Our company has a tremendous experience in up-selling and cross-selling for major Fortune 500 companies. Based on our experience with other industries, we have integrated our unique and proprietary up-selling techniques into the QSR and FCR space to boost average ticket size in these market segments.
We’ve seen off-premise drive thru order taking lower the labor cost by 30-50% on average while increasing their average ticket size by over 15%.
How is this possible? We have significantly lowered the cost per order by only charging our clients for the transaction time of the agents, eliminating salaries for a staff to handle order taking or reservations.
RESTAURANT CALL CENTER BENEFITS
Multiple trained agents can handle incoming calls and increase throughput at restaurants, resulting in more people getting through the door faster. A busy sandwich shop can take lunch orders from 10 customers at a time instead of one at a time.
There’s no telling how many customers may have hung up after waiting on hold. Each additional order taken through the restaurant call center is incremental revenue for that location.
A certified restaurant agent can handle a complex phone-in catering order while other support agents handle the other daily transactions with no delays.
Orders can be taken faster in a quiet work environment, and entered directly into the restaurants POS instead of taking an order on a paper ticket and punching it in.
In our experience, restaurants increase their average ticket size by at least 10 to 15% due to our up-selling initiatives. Our phone agents are trained just like your in-store staff and understand the opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell, and are incentivized to up-sell on every order.
With the massive push for online ordering from restaurants over the past few years, the segment has grown to about 13 percent of the takeout and delivery market. However, about 90 percent of customers still prefer to place a takeout or delivery order by phone.
The chief goal of driving customers to use online ordering is to lower costs through fewer on-premises staff. The downside to this strategy is online ordering doesn’t necessarily improve the customer or guest experience.
Basically, most people don’t feel comfortable enough with technology to trust it with their take-out order. Most customers want the peace of mind that comes with speaking with a live person to ensure their order is correct and to validate that the restaurant is open and able to handle the order.
As great as technology is today, a lot of things than can happen to an order as it wings its way from the customer’s phone to the restaurant’s servers to the customer’s preferred location. There is no more reassuring experience than an empathetic live voice answering the phone.
Poor experiences such as a delay or confusion about the order can damage the brand’s reputation and result in negative feedback on social media. Once a customer has a bad experience they may never return to your restaurant. Our agents focus on the customer on the phone without dividing their attention among other patrons.
A few years ago, there was a lot of hype around off-premise drive thru ordering. A few companies conducted pilot programs with some of the major fast food chains. They could execute from a technical perspective, but they couldn’t crack the code to manage the cost per order low enough to make economic sense.
With rising labor and food costs, the business case for QSRs to lower labor costs is strong. It’s time to look at off-premise drive thru ordering again.
Through our partnerships with technology companies and restaurant executives, we have been able to streamline drive-thru order taking for restaurant chains across the country. We have figured out how to lower the cost per order significantly and make sure it would cost less than hiring a full-time employee for each restaurant.
What makes our solution different is utilizing both at-home agents and in-house agents. Our agents are virtual order takers, kind of like Uber drivers.
Off-premise catering is a growing portion of restaurant sales, reflecting the growing need to provide food for personal or corporate gatherings. QSR and FCR operators are tapping into this market that serves both consumer and business customers. Restaurant operators can increase their success – and average ticket size– by serving this market segment with an off-premise catering support center.
To successfully grow the catering segment, operators face challenges in staffing and training to provide a high level of service and product knowledge. Receiving and scheduling catering orders requires deep familiarity with each location’s menu to plan food prep and production to ensure a great customer experience. Competing in the catering marketplace requires a strong commitment as catering orders can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for large corporate events.
Catering orders are complex and people typically schedule orders in advance, expecting strict pick up or delivery times driven by event schedules. Making the CEO’s luncheon late or forcing the event planner to find a back up breakfast can lead to upset customers and potentially ruining a long-term relationship.
For catering and most to-go orders, phone calls are still the favored channel. According to a CEO of a fast growing casual dining chain, people make phone orders for catering and to-go orders four times as often as they order online.
While online ordering has it place, it does not have the depth and flexibility to up-sell and create customized packages. To make catering a successful channel, it requires a seamless integration into POS and KDS systems. We have built many integrations that streamline order taking and maximize order accuracy.
If your restaurant accepts reservations or employs call-ahead seating, off-premises support can deliver a better customer experience.
Our agents can conduct a phone conversation in a quiet place rather than straining to hear at the host station or bar. Our systems link with yours to place the reservation into your POS of choice.
Your staff remains free to serve the customers in the store, without being interrupted to take a phone call.
There are few greater challenges to businesses today than data security. From customer data to proprietary internal information, the responsibility for ensuring its safety and protection becomes a collaborative effort among all businesses involved in deep strategic relationships.
Since our founding in 1989, TSD Global has been laser focused on providing the highest level of security for the critical data entrusted to us by our partners and their customers. TSD Global is fully committed to maintaining industry standard security certifications by investing in our people, processes, and technology. We accomplish this by exceeding the standards set by governing authorities like the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
TSD has achieved PCI DSS Level 1 certification from a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and has achieved the SOC 2 Type 1 audit certification for our call center sites. Both of these certifications require stringent annual audits by a certified third party, and include onsite visits, along with internal and external penetration tests.
These milestone achievements are a reflection of our commitment to data security for our partners and their valued relationships.
Our goal is to ensure our partners have the utmost confidence in our ability to safeguard their customers’ data. It is simply mission critical that all of our employees understand their responsibilities regarding integrity, confidentiality, and availability of customer data.
We require annual security training for all of our employees. This training is designed to ensure standards and processes are followed, and allows for new regulations and data security mechanisms to be made known to all members of the team. Above all, we ask our people to treat customer data with the same care and respect that their own personal data should receive.
TRAINING FOR SUCCESS
Our agents go through the same training as if they were full-time employees in your restaurant.
We send our restaurant call center trainers to spend one to two weeks inside our clients’ restaurants so they can experience your unique processes and culture, and translate that knowledge into training for our virtual order agents. Each virtual order agent goes through extensive training and must pass a certification test to be able to handle orders for the restaurant they represent.
Thorough training helps your restaurant call center team seamlessly handle orders as if they were working directly in your restaurant, but they actually could be working from home or from one of our contact centers.
Our teams of trained reps have restaurant experience and are ready to handle any size order as soon as the phone rings. The success of a big catering or delivery order doesn’t depend on the experience level of whoever happens to answer the phone. Catering orders can include price negotiations so a knowledgeable, professional phone presence is vital to land the business.
One of the top benefits of off-premise restaurant is the customer interaction with a well-trained, empathetic person who is focused on the call, not juggling the phone at the host station or the bar. Every call is answered in a quiet environment, providing an exceptional customer experience.
To ensure world-class service, we provide a portal for our clients to hear the quality of our reps and give them a way to rank each call from 1 to 5 stars, similar to how you rank an Uber driver.
For some operators, transitioning to off-premise restaurant support can be a big step. To ensure all of our partners can see how they will experience a great ROI, we offer a 30-day free trial to gather data on call volume, handle time, up-sell opportunities and other valuable metrics. During this time, TSD Global sends trainers to work directly inside of the restaurant to gather insight and learn your systems. They’ll know exactly what it’s like to actually work at the restaurant.
We do this so our trainers can train our virtual order takers more effectively and provide an amazing customer experience while saving our clients 30-50% on costs for these functions.
After the 30-day free trial is complete, we drill down into the data and figure out which pricing model is most cost-effective for your operation. Once the ROI is determined, we scale out our services across more of our client’s restaurants and set goals each quarter to increase the average order size and throughput at each restaurant location.
If you’re thinking about trying off-premise restaurant support, take a close look at the pricing models that are available. TSD Global is the most cost effective off-premise solution by far because of our unique pricing.
Typically we offer engagements based on three different models:
- Per minute of order time
- Per order price
- Percentage of each transaction
We have been able to save restaurants 30%-50% on costs compared to hiring internally because they only pay for their virtual order taker’s talk time. This is very similar to when you get in an Uber and you only pay for the drive from point A to point B.
Our solution is more cost effective than hiring internally because it’s purely on-demand based so you pay only per transaction. Through our strategic up-selling techniques, we have consistently increased the average order size by over 15% on average.
Within one month of partnering with one of the top 20 fastest growing chains in the country, our restaurant call center increased their average order size over 14% while improving their guest experience.
Talk to us about getting started with off-premise restaurant support. We can answer all your questions, and offer a 30-day trial to help us understand your operations. Start transforming your restaurant today.
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About TSD Global
TSD Global is an award winning global customer care and back office outsourcing company. They have been called the secret weapon for growth of some of the world’s most notable brands and companies. Since 1989 TSD Global has been a leader in helping companies acquire and retain millions of customers for Fortune 50 clients. TSD Global offers a full omni-channel solution including voice, chat, email, and SMS text to some of the largest companies in the US. They support businesses in many growth verticals such as technology, telecommunications, home services, and financial services. TSD Global is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and operates customer experience centers in the U.S. and Philippines.