Restaurants are great locations to install electric vehicle charging stations. Fine dining establishments, whose clients often rank among Tesla drivers, are already known as a hot spot for installing EVSE. Likewise, fast food and fast casual restaurants close to freeway exits are great places for EVSE, as they allow EV drivers to charge up and get back on the road fast. Casual and contemporary casual restaurants, however, often lack electric vehicle charging stations, but can be great opportunities to attract the attention of EV drivers to a restaurant from a long list of dining choices.
Set Your Restaurant Apart
Casual and casual contemporary dining restaurants abound. According to Civilized.com, America’s favorite entrees include pizza in the Midwest, Italian in the Northeast, seafood in the Southeast, burgers in the South, and Mexican or Steakhouses in the West. American’s favorite restaurants according to Cheat Sheet online-- The Bonefish Grill, Maggianos, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Longhorn, Carrabba’s Italian Kitchen, Pizza Ranch, and TGIFriday’s—are all casual or casual contemporary restaurants which offer, or specialize, in these favorites.
In a suburban area, there might be several of these kinds of restaurants within a couple of blocks of each other. They are all within easy driving distance, all have similar menus, and all have mid-range pricing. All encourage customers to sit down and take their time with a large, fun menu. Customers with time for sit-down, casual dining have a lot of choices, and no particular reason to choose one restaurant among the many choices.
Why should a diner choose one over another? Give EV drivers an immediate reason to choose yours by installing electric vehicle driving stations. EV drivers are loyal to those who support environmental issues and are customer-focused, thinking of the needs of EV drivers. In fact, contemporary casual restaurants, which often serve healthy food or minimize their carbon footprint, are particularly good matches for EV charging stations and send a consistent message to consumers.
If a group is going out to a restaurant and even one person in that group has an EV, odds are greatly increased the group will go to the restaurant with a charging station at their friend’s request, rather another restaurant where food and prices are nearly identical. The EV driver can fuel up while they eat instead of searching across town for a charging station later in their evening.
Even if you think few of your customers drive EVs, installing a charger can still be good for business. When your restaurant chooses to join a network, your EV equipment appears on special maps that electric car drivers utilize to find locations to plug in and charge. These maps are easily accessible to anyone who owns a smart phone. Having your restaurant appear on Google apps can increase your business with all customers, and literally put your restaurant on the map!
Doesn’t Charging an EV Take a Long Time?
Some restaurant owners may have heard it can take 8 hours or more to fully charge an EV, and think drivers would never make use of a charging station at a restaurant. However, the majority of EV owners fully charge their cars at home overnight, and are not looking for a full-charge from EVSE at a restaurant. Just like drivers of gas-powered cars, EV drivers can find themselves lacking needed fuel at inconvenient times, and utilize charging stations on the go.
Most of these drivers are looking for a needed charge to get home, to the grocery store, to daycare, or a meeting across town, not a full charge. An hour is plenty of time to give drivers the amount of charge they need. Blink’s IQ 200 charge rate of 19.2 kWh is plenty to fill your customer’s needs.
Do your customers stay long enough to use EVSE? A 2002 Cornell University study showed 65% of Americans eat out once or twice a week, and diners consider approximately 60.2 minutes to be the ideal length of a meal out, while 29.9 is considered short, and 81.6 to be long. Diners may see themselves as faster than they really are however since, according to Travel and Leisure, servers expect a party of two will stay in a restaurant as long as an hour and 45 minutes, while allotting two hours for a party of four. Most customers who frequent casual and contemporary casual restaurants stay long enough to get the charge they need, making the addition of EV charging on the menu a win for everyone!
EV chargers can help bring in business, and be a great convenience for customers who can grab a bite and get a charge at the same time.