by Dallas Henderson, Account Manager at RizePoint
Electricity may be the future of transportation. As gas prices continue to soar and OPEC+ announces they’ll cut oil production, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more appealing to many. In fact, 2021 was the strongest year yet for EVs, with electric cars outselling their gas-powered counterparts. Demand for EVs is so high that many brands are requiring buyers put down deposits, and some models are already sold out for the next two years.
The migration to EVs presents a great business opportunity for restaurants. Adding EV charging stations to their parking lots can be instrumental in attracting key audiences, driving more business, and boosting restaurants’ profits.
This is the right time for restaurants to:
- Welcome the EV trend. The EV market experienced tremendous growth in 2021, which is expected to continue this year and beyond. As more automotive brands introduce EV models – and government incentives provide another reason to buy EVs – more consumers are transitioning from gas to electric cars. California is leading the way in EV sales, and vows to stop selling gas-powered vehicles altogether by 2035 to meet ambitious environmental goals. As more people adopt EVs, their needs will change, and they will no longer rely solely on gas stations and convenience stores to fill their tanks. Now, restaurants with charging stations can capture the important EV owner demographic and enjoy the significant benefits of doing so.
- Recognize the significant changes that EVs will bring. For many years, consumers wanted a “grab and go” experience when they filled their cars. They’d visit gas stations or convenience stores, gas up their cars, quickly grab a snack and a beverage, and be back on the road in a few minutes. Now, that model is changing. Consumers will need to periodically charge their cars, which can take an hour or more, and will need something to do while they wait. That means restaurants will be competing with other businesses – including shopping centers, grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacies – to be viewed as an EV charging destination. Brands want to attract EV owners and convince them to come stay – and spend – with them.
- Do something that your competitors aren’t doing. It’s wise to provide an amenity that your competitors don’t have. EV owners will patronize your restaurant over the competition if you offer EV charging stations and they don’t. Additionally, your competitors will look like they’re not as sustainable or environmentally conscious as your restaurant. Installing charging stations is a powerful way to differentiate your restaurant from other brands and give customers a good, eco-friendly reason to choose your place over another.
- Give the people what they want. People (especially millennials) want to support sustainable brands, so adding charging stations is a great way to attract customers and prospects. Keep in mind that more than 70% of EV buyers have a 4-year college degree or higher and make $100,000+ per year – so this is a highly appealing demographic with money to spend! And, increasingly, people want to work for sustainable companies. During the ongoing labor shortage, your restaurant’s commitment to sustainability can be an important differentiator to attract new employees. Lastly, many investors are eager to support sustainable brands and are investing in eco-friendly companies.
- Amplify your sustainability efforts. You might already be using cloth napkins instead of paper. Perhaps you provide incentives for guests that bring their own reusable coffee cups or to-go containers. You could be composting, eschewing plastic straws, and providing QR code menus instead of disposable. If you’re looking for the next sustainable initiative for your brand, consider adding EV charging stations. While eco-minded customers and prospects won’t see your cloth napkins or biodegradable straws when driving by, they’ll surely notice your EV charging stations outside and recognize your sustainability efforts. This is a powerful sign to key audiences that you take green initiatives seriously.
- Improve brand awareness and loyalty. Potential customers, employees, and investors are looking to support socially responsible businesses. An EV charging station presents a unique opportunity to show these key audiences that you’re forward-thinking and committed to sustainability. It can also increase visibility and awareness of your brand since some EV charger manufacturers offer the option to customize EV stations with your company branding. This is a good way to generate more attention, traffic, and revenue.
- Attract visitors as well as locals. EV owners rely on apps like ChargeHub, PlugShare, Zap-Map, etc. to find nearby charging stations. Once you install EV chargers onsite, be sure to register your restaurant on these sites to help you attract a loyal, local customer base, as well as EV owners who are visiting – or just passing through – your area. As EV sales continue to surge, this will become an even more important tactic to drive more EV traffic to your location – literally and figuratively.
- Prioritize QA and safety. Consumers want a clean, safe place to eat, hang out and charge their cars. Therefore, it’s critical to use tech tools to conduct safety inspections, ensure foods are held at proper temps, check cleanliness, etc. Manual (or outdated/disjointed tech systems) can’t provide comprehensive views of your restaurant and critical real-time data. Instead, rely on integrated software that will identify areas of noncompliance so you can take immediate corrective actions. Today’s digital solutions are affordable, accessible, and user-friendly, and are viable for restaurants of all sizes and budgets.
- Monitor suppliers all along the supply chain. It’s not enough to implement strict QA and safety protocols in your restaurant – you should also monitor all your suppliers to be certain that they’re following strict food safety and QA protocols, as well. Tech tools make it easy, fast, accurate, and affordable to manage supplier certifications, organize these documents in one central area, and ensure that suppliers throughout the entire supply chain are compliant.
There are many significant business benefits to installing charging stations. This effort can help you attract key audiences, boost visibility, demonstrate your sustainability, and increase your bottom line.
Dallas Henderson, a 25-year veteran of the service industry, is an Account Manager at RizePoint. RizePoint is disrupting traditional market software with their innovative, new product platform Ignite™ Supplier Certification Management, which helps small to medium sized businesses simplify the supplier certification and maintenance process. To discuss RizePoint’s solutions, please contact Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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