Focus On Internal Customers: A Surefire Way to Increase Retail Revenue
Healthcare foodservice has moved into a new arena, one that is more in line with the retail restaurant industry. They are being held to a higher level of fiscal responsibility like those in revenue generating departments within hospitals. The question is how can this be accomplished?
One way to increase revenue is to focus on internal customers, which includes staff, medical personnel, and even surrounding medical office employees that might be located close to the facility. The key is making their customer experience so good they want to come back.
For example, consider expanding the borders beyond the cafe. One method that has been successful at several facilities is to offer a delivery or phone-in pick up service. Customers call in, place their orders, and then pick them up at a designated window or area of the cafe. These internal customers have limited time and making sure that they are able to get in and out FAST is key.
There are additional things you can do that will encourage customer return and one of them is to offer incentives. Coupons, discounts, and BOGOs (buy one/get one) are all common in the retail market and are things that customers are familiar with. These can include a percentage off a specific item, a frequent flyer (buyer) card, or offering "happy hour" specials such as coffee and a cookie for $1.00 between 2 -4 PM.
Other ways that can improve the customer experience include moving to cashless solutions to increase line throughput such as payroll deduction, taking credit cards at the register, using declining balance cards, and using an efficient healthcare retail POS solution that has the ability to process transactions quickly.
Menu variety is also a key piece in keeping the customer coming back. The same old spaghetti with meat sauce every Thursday is not what the customer wants anymore. Customers are demanding more menu choices and meeting those demands is not an easy task. There is planning and purchasing that needs to be addressed. Utilizing an efficient healthcare foodservice software system allows you the ability to make menu changes quickly (as it relates to creating menus and ordering items for them) and gives you the flexibility to meet those customer demands.
There are certainly other ways to keep customers coming back other than what's mentioned here. The key is to be creative! Doing so will help you to meet demands, increase revenue, and more importantly, keep customers happy.
Article by: Kim Helmey, RD, SuitePoint! Product Manager; Fusion, 2nd Quarter, 2015