How to Combat the Shift from Dine-In to Digital (Hint: Give Your Customers What They Want)

At the 2018 Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit (RFIS), panelists from La Madeleine, Fazoli’s, and The NPD Group took to the stage during “I’ll Take Digital to Go” to discuss how restaurants can execute a digital strategy that drives customer frequency and spend.

Question from the audience: How can we overcome the number of customers shifting from dine-in to digital? How do I sustain dine-in traffic?

Jacqueline O’Reilly, La Madeleine: At La Madeleine, dine-in is still the bulk of our volume, but we recognize that 50% of our sales in five years will be off-premise. Our catering channel has been fully rolled out since 2014-2015 and it represents over 6% of sales. The consumer is changing…. but we’re not looking at [this shift] as a negative thing. We’re asking: how can we give our guests the La Madeleine experience whatever way they want it? Whether they want to cater a baby shower or a work lunch, or pick up dinner on the way home… we want it to be a great, easy experience. We do believe 50% of our company sales will be off-premise in 5-6 years.

Jodie Conrad, Fazoli’s: Historically, most of Fazoli’s business has been dine-in… but our business was already moving away from dine-in before we engaged with digital. As of the end of last year, for the first time, 50% of our business was off-premise. It’s just where the consumer is going. We don’t really see any way to fight it, so we’re working to create a great experience for our customers no matter how they choose to access us.

Want to learn more about pursuing a digital strategy? Watch the full panel, I’ll Take Digital to Go, recorded at RFIS 2018. To make sure you never miss out on the hottest news, stories and industry insights, subscribe to the blog here:

Suzy Whalen

Suzy Whalen

Suzy is the B2B Marketing Manager at LevelUp, where she brings the conference circuit to life with food, fun, and cool (yet useful) swag. When she isn’t coordinating conferences, you can find Suzy planning her own travel, bouncing around the gym, or crossing off her list of Boston restaurants to try.

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