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How to optimize the guest experience during reopening

Photograph: Shutterstock

With restaurant dining rooms reopening in many parts of the country, consumers are eager to go back to some semblance of normalcy, at least in regards to dining out. But many restaurants are beholden to reopening guidelines that only allow for seating a fraction of standard capacity—typically 50% of their standard capacity, and in some places, even less.  While reopening certainly has its perks for both consumers and operators, diners can quickly become frustrated with longer wait times as a result of these capacity guidelines. In order to keep customers satisfied, however, operators have an easy solution: Installing televisions in waiting areas to keep diners entertained while they wait for their table.

It’s no secret that technology is playing an increasingly bigger role in the dining experience. From quick-order kiosks at fast-casual dining restaurants to tablets at tables to streamline paying the tab, utilizing technology to make the guest experience better is nothing new to restaurants. And there have long been televisions in bar and dining areas in plenty of restaurants, but the addition of TVs in the restaurant’s waiting area has the potential to make diners’ experience better in a whole new way—especially with sports coming back soon.

Calm, comfortable environments boost customer satisfaction

According to Technomic’s 2019 Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report, 47% of consumers said that a short wait time for a table is important in creating good value at a restaurant, and 49% said that a quiet, relaxing atmosphere is important, too. By installing televisions for diners to watch while they wait for a table is a great way for operators to ensure the atmosphere remains relaxing rather than frustrating.

Whether indoors or out, televisions also represent an opportunity for restaurants to attract more diners and even increase check averages. Restaurants can offer cocktail or drink service in addition to the televisions in the waiting areas, a combination which keeps diners happy and patient during their wait times—and boosts the amount they spend during their visit.

By adding TV to restaurants, operators can also encourage longer stays, which in turn means consumers ordering additional rounds of appetizers and drinks. This is particularly true during sporting events, and DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket gives restaurants what they’re looking for—according to a February/March 2019 national survey of bars and restaurants, sports bars that subscribe to DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket report that they draw an average of 45% more people on days when DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket is on compared to other weekends. NFL regular season games averaged 16.5 million viewers in 2019—imagine the power of attracting those sports fans to restaurants!

Promoting social opportunities

Televisions also help restaurants promote events. From sporting events to award shows, political debates, other cultural events and even local news updates, TVs in restaurants offer consumers a way to connect with others, whether they’re dining at the same table or not.

Customers can also use DIRECTV’s Sports Bar Finder app to find a nearby bar or restaurant that is broadcasting the games they want to see—restaurants and bars that offer DIRECTV sports coverage can enjoy an additional boost of promotion and traffic from the app.

Restaurants can highlight their television offerings in promotional materials, too.  With many sports teams set to return by the end of summer, restaurants with DIRECTV can enjoy offering exclusive sports broadcasting, such as the exclusive DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket Package—perfect as restaurants and bars head into the fall sports season. In addition to sports-related assets, DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS℠ has also made available digital signs and banners to help restaurants promote their ever-important off-premise offerings, including takeout and delivery.

DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS℠ has everything restaurants need to ensure diners are kept entertained during any length of time spent waiting for a table. Find out more at www.business.att.com/forbusiness/learn/enterprise.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠