Restaurants and technology have become increasingly intertwined over the years, and that trend is only speeding up. While food quality and service should always be top of mind for restaurant owners and employees, the importance of efficiency can never be overlooked.
A restaurant POS system is a great starting point, but new technologies are changing workflows, restaurant designs, and the way customer data is handled. Many of these changes are motivated by the ubiquitousness of technology in the everyday lives of customers. Automation isn’t just a benefit for the restaurant itself; customers are much more comfortable with technology in general, and anything that can speed up their orders is considered a benefit.
With customers embracing the shift toward more personalized and efficient restaurant experiences, business owners must come to terms with the five ways technology is changing the industry.
Full-service and fast casual restaurants can both benefit from the addition of handheld devices, which can boost efficiency and order accuracy. In sit-down restaurants, handheld tablets allow servers to put orders in without having to go back to a stationary device. This drastically cuts down on wait times for drink and meal orders – pleasing the customers – and allows the restaurant to seat and serve more patrons in a given period of time.
Fast casual restaurants can benefit from handhelds during their busiest hours by deploying extra employees for line-busting. Nothing angers customers like long, slow-moving lines, which is why employees taking orders from handheld tablets are so beneficial. More orders can be taken in a shorter amount of time, and customers don’t have to wait in long lines
2. Payment Methods
Credit cards are still the most common method of payment in restaurants, but mobile payments are steadily gaining popularity. Although most restaurants still do not accept payments from mobile wallets, there’s a lot to gain from making the jump. Whether your restaurant accepts mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay or develops a mobile ordering app, giving customers additional payment options can only boost sales.
These days, customers value speed and convenience above almost anything else. Making it easy for customers to order from their phones before even getting to your restaurant – or allowing them to pay without having to pull cash or a credit card out of their wallet or purse – checks both of those boxes.
Much like handheld devices, self-service kiosks cut down on long lines and improve order accuracy. However, self-service kiosks help restaurants cut down on labor costs without hurting order efficiency. In some cases, customers might even prefer to use a self-service kiosk instead of interacting face-to-face with an employee. While most restaurants have yet to catch on to this newer technology, customers have made it clear that they would visit more often if self-service kiosks were available.
In the cutthroat hospitality industry, it pays to have total control over your business metrics. It can be a pain to manually track labor costs, inventory, sales, and other business analytics, which is why POS technology now does a lot of the work for restaurant operators. The more your technology can do for you, the less you have to worry. Instead, POS systems can alert owners to trends and issues in real-time, so the proper action can be taken immediately.
Knowing what a patron wants is going to play an important part in customer retention in the coming years. Whether a customer is picky, likes to make a lot of substitutions or additions, or is simply allergic to certain foods, this information is a lot more valuable than most people realize. Technology can be used to build customer profiles, which can then be accessed by cashiers and servers.
Everyone likes feeling special, and a restaurant remembering that you have a gluten allergy or don’t like tomatoes can add a personal touch. Personalization is still a newer aspect of restaurant technology, but it will continue to be a focus in the coming years.
Efficiency and customization are the two leading factors in evolving restaurant technologies, which is why it’s important for business owners to catch on before it’s too late. Failing to meet new customer demands could spell trouble for a restaurant, but embracing these technological advancements can push you to the top of the pack.
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