‘Customers first!’ This is what the motto of every restaurant should be, but when customers are greeted by a busy or noisy phone line or need to make multiple calls to get in touch with the person at the establishment that they’re looking for, they may ultimately feel that the restaurant is unprofessional and may decide to dine somewhere else. That’s why restaurateurs who take their businesses seriously should upgrade to a cloud phone system.
In fact, such a switch will only have benefits since all business VoIP systems come with enterprise-grade features with which customer requests and general communication between staff members can be handled in a highly professional manner. What’s even more impressive is that VoIP is a relatively cost-friendly solution, meaning that business owners can focus on the most important thing: putting their restaurants on the gastronomical map.
What to Look for in a Phone System for Restaurants
Aside from its straightforwardness and fair pricing, VoIP is best known for offering plenty of enterprise-grade features. They are all pretty useful, but some of these features are particularly important for restaurateurs:
In the restaurant industry it’s impossible to answer every incoming call, especially during peak hours. With an auto-attendant, however, not only are callers dealt with in a courteous manner – thanks to the availability of professional greetings that can be played at certain times or dates – but they can also be automatically directed to the right person via an interactive voice response menu.
While this feature can be complemented by the typically pay-only call recording feature, call monitoring is an optimal way for restaurant owners both for keeping an eye on employees and to use past calls for educating staff members on how to behave with guests on the phone and help to train them to provide the best service.
Best VoIP Systems of 2020
|Editor's Choice 2020|
Extensions and Ring Groups
Although certain VoIP providers limit the number of extensions per system, in most cases you can create as many extensions as you want. This is particularly important for restaurant chains who, after assigning individual extensions to each establishment, can hook up all restaurants to the same phone system and therefore save significantly on the monthly costs.
Additionally, more advanced VoIP solutions even allow users to create ring groups, which ensures that no matter how many extensions belong to a single establishment, the call will always be answered in the right place by the right staff.
All VoIP services come with their own designated apps with which a smartphone can be added as an extension to the phone system. This way employees can move about freely inside the restaurant as if they all had their own handsets, without having to be restricted to a single spot for the landline. However, unlike handsets, these mobile apps allow users to enjoy all the benefits of the cloud phone system outside the limits of the establishment – a feature that can be particularly useful if you provide a food delivery service as well.
If a restaurateur owns multiple restaurants, then it’s important to have a channel through which the staff of each establishment can be connected at once. The conferencing feature that VoIP services offer allow for the creation of a conference bridge dedicated to handling calls between multiple people. It’s worth adding, though, that both audio and audiovisual conferencing are usually pay-only features and they only allow a limited number of participants per conference.
Recommended Restaurant Phone Systems
Though it is often overshadowed by better-known companies, MightyCall has its fair share of unique features too, including an easily customizable auto-attendant or the option to set up business hours and custom greetings. System admins can list VIP and unwanted callers, but they can also check employee’s performance by generating specific reports. Additionally, MightyCall can be used to create click-to-call widgets for the restaurant’s website and can also allow users to communicate with customers via Facebook and Twitter from within the account manager, too.
This and the fact that MightyCall can be tried via a live demo may already be convincing enough, but the most outstanding aspect of MightyCall is its value for money. Even the cheapest plan ($19.99 per month) offers the most important features but even more important is how there is no limit on the number of users and extensions that can be used, in either of the available plans.
Considering how RingCentral provides all of the necessary features that have been detailed above and more, the company’s leading role in the market isn’t surprising. But, actually, it’s the VoIP provider’s interesting and uncommon features that makes it stand out from the rest. For instance, RingCentral is capable of sending one-way announcements via paging or intercom, which is ideal for the quick forwarding of orders to the kitchen and other restaurants in a chain.
The company also provides Glip, a team messaging platform through which staff members can communicate with each other in a faster, more efficient way. And the addition of extras like preconfigured desk phones, call log reports, the built-in softphone, or integration with two of the best CRMs on the market is just the icing on the cake.
As for pricing, RingCentral’s lowest price plan is available from $19.99 per month per user, though prices may vary depending on the number of users and the length of the subscription.
Phone Devices and Hardware
Admittedly it is possible to keep all analog phones and hook them up to the new cloud phone system with adapters but it’s a much better idea to purchase IP phones, which aren’t complicated to configure at all. However, regardless of which devices you want to use, remember that the phone system won’t perform well without a proper internet connection. This is why having switches and routers to ensure the right coverage to all fixed-position phones and smartphones within the entire establishment is a must. For this reason having at least two routers can be a huge help: one exclusively for the VoIP service and one to provide free Wi-Fi for guests.
The general rule of thumb for the positioning of phones is to have them at places that are easy for all employees to reach, such as the staff and dining area. However, it’s best to consider adding at least one handset to the system as well, especially in cases when you are mostly outside of your office but want to be ready to answer the phone if needed.