Why Use Restaurant Technology?
Restaurant technology can help you systematize your business and drive profit. Examined from the customer perspective, research has shown that 71% of consumers say Restaurant Technology, both online and on-premise, enhances their overall guest experience. Giving customers the ability to create the food they want without compromise can be of great benefit.
Technology is indeed shaping the future of food service. You need to ask yourself: How can your business still be relevant in the years to come, while overcoming the biggest challenges like labor cost, meeting evolving customer needs, and reducing waste?
The restaurant with properly implemented technology brings countless benefits. It helps to systematize your food service business – the systems run the business, and your employees in turn run the systems. It saves you time: you should not be spending time doing things manually when you can automate. Restaurant technology will help boost your profit in a variety of ways. You need to think of restaurant technology as an investment rather than an expense.
Yet the restaurant industry has typically been slow to adopt new technologies. COVID-19 has changed this for the most part, forcing many in the restaurant industry to upgrade their restaurant technology stacks. Online food orders and contactless home food orders have grown in popularity. Contactless technology is going mainstream.
From self-order kiosks to digital kitchen boards, to automated inventory management software to overall boost digitalization of the food service sector, restaurant technology has taken on new life post-Pandemic and will continue to shape the industry for years to come. Let’s dig into the varieties of restaurant tech you should consider for your business’ tech stack.
What types of Restaurant Technology are Available?
There are a variety of key restaurant technologies that you need to ensure your business not only survives, but thrives for years to come.
- A great POS system: are you happy with yours? Is it user-friendly? How is the reporting. Is it yielding a favorable ROI? It is the central nervous system of your restaurant or food service business. It gives you the data you need to run your ops: from food cost, to preventing theft. It’s the cornerstone of your tech stack.
- A great online ordering system – guests should be able to order easily to go, scan QR codes, and order from the table or from their phones on the go. It should be easily interactive. It increases sales and lowers your labor costs.
- Scheduling software – there is great scheduling software out there to consider that can really save you time.
- Inventory management software – inventory is a must, so it’s the low-hanging fruit when it comes to saving costs. You need an affordable inventory app. Automating inventory helps reduce time, and reduce food waste.
- Marketing automation – specifically marketing automation and loyalty programs, are extremely powerful marketing tactics which you can use. You need to be collecting emails. It’s an easy way to personalize and to build a raving fan base, for almost no cost.
- Digital kitchen boards – kitchen display systems (KDS) are digital menu boards to help staff manage back-of-house operations. They’re directly linked to the establishment’s POS, tracking delivery times. It promises a more sustainable kitchen operation.
- Restaurant technology in the form of Restaurant robots, such as ones that accurately prepare food, is increasingly gaining momentum. The restaurant industry is significantly behind when compared to manufacturing, and logistics. But many of the back-of-the-house tasks in the restaurant have not evolved for decades – and the restaurant industry is starting to catch up. The fast-food industry for example, has not historically been an early technology adopted.
What restaurant technology do restaurants use?
A typical restaurant tech stack might look like this:
- Point of sale (POS) system
- LMS – learning management system; training is key and can help with retention and to easier onboard new hires.
- Social media management
- Branding and marketing platforms
- Accounting software – how can you control your business, without knowing your numbers?
- Customer feedback tools
- Phone & voicemail systems
- Payroll software – help make it accurate and on time.
- Online checklist app – helps with the accountability of staff.
- Third-party delivery apps
- Customer service & feedback tools
- Online and mobile ordering
- Food delivery trackers or partner programs
- Digital checks/receipts
- Digital menus with QR codes
- Digital menu boards (annual store sales per unit can be increased by almost $16,000 by using digital menu boards. (Presto, 2021).
- Loyalty programs – boost your business retention.
- Scheduling app (ideally one that links to your POS system).
- Reservation software
- Food Safety app
- Team communication app to help facilitate better communication.
- Tabletop tablets with card payment systems
- Food and beverage inventory management systems – critical to run your business.
- Vendor management platforms or spreadsheets
- Equipment management tools
- Employee onboarding and training portals
- Compliance and policy management tools
- Employee and customer communication apps
- Self-service kiosks
- Delivery robotics
How can Restaurant Technology Help with the Labor Shortage?
There is now a pressing labor crisis, with 1.5 million unfulfilled jobs in the food service sector. Automation is a viable way to help remedy the situation. Repetitive tasks in the kitchen can be replaced with robotics. In the kitchen, they can also be put to work to automate prep lines and get food out to customers more quickly. Automating the food prep process can help restaurant owners overcome labor shortages and allow staff to focus more on the customer experience.
While automation hasn’t been as important in the restaurant industry as it has been in manufacturing, or even in food processing, it is imminent. With the rise of labor costs and the difficulties of staffing, some restaurants have already started thinking in new ways.
Looking Ahead + the Added Bonus of Restaurant Technology Integration
The biggest bonus with an integrated tech stack is also the access to customer data. With the right tech in place, you can really own customer data and use it to build loyalty, offer personalized offers and experiences, analyze trends, and improve every aspect of the customer journey.
Approximately 95% of food operators said that technology improved their overall efficiency. From automated prep work to going fully virtual, restaurants now have more options to keep costs down without sacrificing food quality or the customer experience. Restaurant Technology can help restaurant and food service operation owners adapt to changing customer preferences and keep their doors open, and even future-proof their businesses.
Don’t be left behind! Conduct a thorough tech stack audit and assess key technology gaps you may need to close.