Most businesses (if not all) have to blend technology as a key part of growth and profitability or be faced out by their competitors. The restaurant business field is no exception. To stay ahead of the competition, restaurants must embrace technology and update it for enhanced efficiency.
Technology can be used to attract new customers, save time and resources, optimize operations, prevent food waste plus reduce labor inefficiency. So, let’s explore the top restaurant technologies.
Technologies for Restaurant Management
Management is arguably the most vital aspect of running a restaurant. Restaurant management software helps streamline complex and time-consuming tasks to increase efficiency.
1. Online Reservation
An online reservation system prioritizes the customer by allowing them to place a reservation fast, efficiently, and at their convenience. Think about it, this strategy allows your business remain operational 24 hours a day since the system is always available online. Today, calling a restaurant to reserve a table is being phased out by reservation applications such as Eat App and Open Table.
Here’s another thing worth noting, reservation systems create a customer database that’s beneficial in tracking reservation history, notes, allergies, and important dates of your customers. The restaurant can use the information to make customers’ experiences memorable each time.
2. Inventory Management Software
Food and beverage inventory software should be integrated with your restaurant’s POS system to track, automate all inventory processes, and schedule re-orders, giving you complete visibility and control of your restaurant inventory. Moreover, the system can also minimize food waste and costs, thus increasing efficiency alongside sustainability.
3. Scheduling Software
A restaurant scheduling software is a tool used to manage the work schedules of restaurant staff. The software streamlines the scheduling process by tracking the availability of the employees and their requests for time off.
Some of the essential features of the scheduling software include:
- Automated Schedules. If an employee requests or has no problem working particular days of the week or during holidays, you can log such information into the software. The program automatically schedules the employee to work on such days.
- Vacation Requests. This feature allows employees to enter vacation requests online. When confirmed, the software notification will pop up if you try to schedule them during that time.
- Schedule Checks. It lets restaurant staff check their schedules online besides allowing restauranteurs to plan ahead and avoid miscommunication or shift collisions.
Ordering Technologies in Restaurants
4. Online Ordering Software
The popularity of applications for ordering online has grown over the years among customers. This growth, accelerated further by COVID-19, triggered the closure of some restaurants, as ordering online gained traction since it was the only service restaurants could offer.
Benefits of ordering online include:
- Increased revenue. Customers can browse—rather than hurriedly place their orders in person or over the phone. Since there’s no pressure, customers are more likely to order extra items, leading to higher sales.
- More Accurate Orders. Over-the-phone orders could be recorded incorrectly due to a bad connection and language barrier, among other reasons. Ordering online eliminates such errors increasing efficiency, reducing food waste due to incorrect orders, and improving customer experience by getting their order right.
- Data Tracking. You can track your customers' information by the orders they place via the restaurant's website. This data assists in knowing customers' repeat purchases and purchase trends. The data will help you offer customers reliable services, thereby ensuring their return.
5. Online Food Aggregators
Aggregators build on the traditional model for food delivery, offering access to multiple restaurants through a single online portal. By logging into the app, consumers can compare menus, prices, and reviews from peers.
6. Point of Sale Software
Point of sale (POS) software has been used in restaurants for years, helping streamline business operations relating to sales, cash flow, food/beverage inventory, bookkeeping table reservations, and order management.
Upgraded POS systems allow the customer to do more. For example, a customer can place an order themselves. Furthermore, the customer does not need to wait to be attended to, especially during rush hour, enhancing their experience in your establishment.
7. Contactless Payments
Contactless debit/credit cards, smartwatches, smartphones, and many other consumer devices can now pay via contactless payment. The demand for high levels of hygiene and social distancing due to the COVID -19 pandemic has seen contactless payments popularity grow.
Today’s restaurant POS systems make contactless payments a seamless process, with the ability to facilitate numerous integrations with popular payment methods such as Apple and Google Pay.
Technologies for Marketing
8. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are a good way of achieving repeat customers. Restaurants can sync loyalty programs with POS systems to automate point collection and calculation processes, unlike before, where the procedure was done manually.
Loyalty programs help you track customer behavior that may influence your marketing strategy—and hence increase the efficiency and profitability of your restaurant. Customers also get to save more due to an efficient points-collection method, thus encouraging them to return.
9. Email Service Providers
This is perhaps one of the most affordable restaurant technologies to try today. An ESP is a 3rd party software you can use to manage and send email marketing campaigns.
You can send emails to your customers outlining your upcoming events and specials with easy-to-use templates. The ESP will track analytics, like who opened your email and what they clicked on, so you can progressively improve your campaign.
Entertainment Restaurant Technologies
According to a DirectTV survey, 70% of consumers say that visiting a restaurant is a form of entertainment. Make your restaurant the go-to place by adding these entertainment-focused restaurant technologies.
10. Customer-Facing Tabletop Tablets
Restaurant tablets allow customers to order and come loaded with games and entertainment. Customers can be engaged as they wait for the food, making them less agitated.
11. Free Wi-Fi
There are many ways you can successfully market your restaurant to potential customers. Best example? Simply advertise you have free Wi-Fi.
Most customers like browsing or working on their laptops while dining. Free Wi-Fi enhances their experience, brings more customers into your restaurant, and can lead to a higher sales revenue as a result.
Choose the Right Restaurant Technology
Technology in restaurants increases efficiency and enhances the customer experience. Choose the right technology for your restaurant to tap into this potential and grow your restaurant business exponentially. Examine the right technology for your business and pick the programs that will work best for you.