Technology is changing everything, affecting our homes to how businesses are managed. Restaurants are no exception. In many ways, restaurants are leading the charge in the adoption of business technology.
From payment processing to marketing to deliveries, technology offers robust cost savings and revenue generation opportunities. It is enabling restaurateurs to find new levels of profitability that were never seen before.
Here are ten ways technology is changing restaurants for the better.
Offer Customized Experiences to Diners
No restaurant can operate without happy diners, and for that reason, restaurateurs can expect technology to play an important role in improving diner experiences and expectations. With integrated CRM software, restaurants can use data to fine-tune the customer experience to diners.
It can also be used to automate the ordering process for guests, reducing both friction points and labor costs. This way, technology will continue making it possible for restaurants to predict and personalize their services based on data from previous visits.
To this end, artificial intelligence will play a big role in boosting customer satisfaction. For example, some businesses are using Facebook bots to assist diners in ordering food. If the diner tells the bot they are lactose intolerant, it will immediately tailor a menu by excluding all dairy items. This experience requires no extra time from staff while simultaneously delighting the diner.
Pro tip: More diners are becoming aware of their allergies - some of which can be fatal. Offering a customized menu to customers based on their allergies can affect their loyalty to a restaurant. Add to this the possibility of avoiding a lawsuit for misinformation, and customized menus start looking like a great option.
Big Data for Actionable Analytics for Diners
One of the main benefits of technology is that it allows restaurants to aggregate and derive actionable data.
Keep in mind that data must be protected at all costs and should not fall into the wrong hands. One of the biggest concerns these days about the proliferation of big data is the difficulty in protecting it.
Hint: As restaurants increase their online presence, so too does their risk of falling prey to a malware attack—case in point, all the data breaches that have put millions of consumers at risk. The good news is that most small and medium-sized restaurants can easily adopt and invest in big data technology. With a provider like MenuCRM, they can dominate their market segments effortlessly and without breaking their budget.
The most obvious advantage of technology for restaurants is the flexibility of online reservations. The internet has made it easy to access informality. User-friendly restaurant booking and takeaway systems make it easy to manage reservations, tables, and orders. This allows restaurant staff to stay focused on their work at hand, while diners can book tables through the restaurant website (followed by confirmation through email or SMS).
These systems are universally compatible with Androids, iPhones, and PCs - basically, any platform that supporters an internet connection.
Easily Manage Online Reputation for Restaurants
Today's tech-savvy diners rely on social media and review platforms to voice their opinion. In such a state of affairs, restaurants are allocating more resources to manage their social media presence through influences, brand advocates, and brand ambassadors. In some cases, some restaurants go so far as to hire dedicated online reputation teams that scour the internet for reviews, respond to negative feedback, and carve out a positive brand image to increase foot traffic.
Although technology has shifted the balance of power in favor of diners, restaurants that are willing to match customer expectations will be sure to reap incredible profits.
Targeted Restaurant Marketing for Better ROI
From the perspective of marketing, technology allows restaurants to target their prospective clients with greater accuracy. At its simplest, technology can be used to remind diners about their reservation schedules, targeting specific groups with special deals and offers, or more. The ability to connect with potential customers in real-time reduces marketing costs while increasing their effectiveness.
It also gets easier to pitch a discount or new product when your diner is already subscribed to your email list.
Streamline Internal Processes
Technology allows restaurants to make their internal operational processes more seamless and effective. They can utilize a fully integrated CRM suite to organize and manage information from a single dashboard, process payments, fetch the complete history of the customer, and know what to offer.
CRM suites can also help a restaurant's ongoing marketing strategy by customizing interaction with diners, sending automated emails to diners as required, and automating many tasks with greater success
And as mentioned earlier, the restaurant can also leverage AI to structure food menus better suited to diners in their local area.
Whether it's through QR ordering systems or handheld POS systems, restaurants can leverage tableside ordering to make life easier for their staff while also delighting their guests.
These services are a big deal for restaurants, allowing customers to order right from their tablet or waiting for the server to arrive. If they want seconds, they longer have to flag down the server. A few taps on the tablet will notify the server, and the food will be delivered without talking to anyone.
Diners can also place an order for their favorite items from the menu, at any point while they're eating, and have it delivered to them relatively quickly. Payments are also collected via the tablet - everything is happy
The installation of tableside ordering systems may come with their own initiation costs, but they will most likely improve turnover rates and overcome friction points.
In the age of contactless payment, tableside ordering systems will allow restaurants to offer diverse payment solutions to younger consumers. According to NRA's 2021 State of the Industry Report, nearly 50% of full-service restaurants have added digital menu access via QR codes since March 2020.
HR Tools for Restaurants
For obvious reasons, being understaffed can pose serious problems for restaurants. The lack of staff can result in slower kitchens, subpar service, and details falling through the cracks. To avoid mishaps such as this, restaurants can utilize hiring software to vet the best candidates, get their open listings in front of the right candidates, and more.
Restaurateurs can also integrate their HR and POS systems together for large cost savings. Investing in the right HIR software can help restaurants hire, run payrolls, manage shift schedules, and keep up with their day-to-day tasks.
Promote Marketing for Direct Channels (Website, Social Media, etc.)
Delivery marketplaces like Grubhub and UberEats will eat into a restaurant's profits. Instead, the best way to stay operational is to promote one's own website operable across all devices, including desktops and mobiles.
It's worth mentioning that some diners like to order their meals by doing a quick search on places like Grubhub. But an appreciable percentage of diners may decide to use a restaurant's dedicated website to order food (perhaps to avail discounts or participate in loyalty programs).
In order to increase traffic to their websites, restaurants should use the same tools that most marketers do to increase their online visibility: search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements combined with a sophisticated and easy to use booking system and a strong online marketing campaign. Since these online marketing tools require additional resources, restaurants should look for a marketing provider that can handle all of these aspects of online marketing for their property.
By increasing traffic to their website (and thereby increase the percentage of online bookings made through the website), a restaurant can decrease the cost of acquiring new diners and drastically increase online revenue.
Lower Security Concerns
The significant amount of data stored on a restaurant's POS and systems is a big focus for data thieves, causing data breaches that have tarnished the names of many businesses - including restaurants. Fortunately, companies can stay ahead of hackers and malware attacks by using cloud-based software.
Migrating to the cloud removes the need to store private data on-premises and sends it to an off-site environment that is safe and secure from the threat of malware attacks.
Wrapping Up - Technology is Expected of Restaurants
Technology is essential in 2021. Diners walk into restaurants and expect convenience, seamless services. You can greatly improve their experience by embracing new and interesting technology ideas. But how do you know which new tech is right for your restaurant?
A good idea is to look at your current systems, diner feedback, and day-to-day processes. This will help you determine what can be fixed or improved through the use of technology. You can then use these findings to help you look for the right solution.
Although technology offers many benefits in the restaurant industry, it's still important to provide good human experiences to your diners. If implemented correctly, technology can your restaurant run more smoothly and efficiently, allowing your staff to focus on what matters most: your customers.
Would you like to learn more about how technology can streamline your restaurant operations and maximize staff productivity? Schedule a demo today!