3 Emerging Technologies Taking Restaurants by Storm
Restaurant owners are in a unique position. Now more than ever, countless restaurant technology companies are promoting their “new and innovative solution” to a problem plaguing the foodservice community. But before you decide which companies to partner with in your restaurant, it’s best to first determine which restaurant technologies are the right fit for your restaurant.
It’s important not to hop on the next tech trend just trend because it appears to be innovative. Instead, consider the new features and ask yourself if it’s the best fit for your type of restaurant instead of the industry as a whole. If the answer is “yes,” then you can start considering vendors and companies to work with.
Below is a list of three restaurant technologies that are generating a lot of buzz in the foodservice world of 2017. Consider which would be the best for your concept, your business, your employees, and your customers.
1. Handheld Tablets
Imagine it’s a crazy Friday night. One table is ready for the check, and they’re able to wave their server over. The server then has to go to a terminal, close the check, and bring it to the table. Then, they have to come back a few minutes later after a payment method is decided. Then, they have to come back again after running the card or making change.
The whole process takes five or ten minutes. It would take one or two with server handheld tablets. Tablets allow servers to take payment (and orders) right at the table, boosting efficiency and turning tables faster during your most hectic nights.
While these tablets have been enthusiastically adopted in FSRs (full service restaurants), they’re also beneficial to QSRs (quick service restaurants). In the quick-serve environment, the line can literally go out the door. Using these tablets to “line bust,” or working your way down the line to get orders to the kitchen, is another way restaurants can boost efficiency with handheld tablets.
2. Self-Order Kiosks
Alright - this one’s admittedly for QSRs, but self-order kiosks are revolutionizing the quick service restaurant experience by empowering restaurant-goers for the first time. Don’t believe it? Well, maybe you’ll believe Wendy's, Protein Bar, and McDonald's - all of which are using kiosks in their restaurants. Specifically, there are three reasons why kiosks are being embraced by QSRs:
Reason #1 - Efficiency: With fewer customers ordering from the register, this frees up your staff to do other activities like cook, serve food, and even interact with guests without the pressure of a building line. This improves the guest experience and stresses your staff out less.
Reason #2 - Labor Costs: With the rising minimum wage, some restaurants simply cannot afford to staff as many employees in a single shift as they were once able to. Using a self-order kiosk is a way to combat rising labor costs without putting your entire workforce out of a job or closing your doors forever.
Reason #3 - Upselling: With the ability to customize the kiosk experience, you can incorporate an easy upsell path for additional menu items. After all, people tend to buy with their eyes, and so adding pictures of your irresistible food to the kiosk interface is a surefire way to more sales.
3. Online Ordering
Yes, we’re including online ordering on this list. If you don’t think it’s an emerging technological feature for restaurants, take a look at this graph showing the growth of online delivery orders.
Some restaurants are still in the past when it comes to online ordering, relying exclusively on a third-party or aggregate site for their online ordering. While this can be helpful for getting discovered in a saturated market, the fierce competition on these sites and the high per-order commission cost make the endeavor more difficult than it needs to be.
Both full-service and quick-service restaurants can benefit from an in-house online ordering system. Typically, this involves paying a flat fee instead of a per-order cost and lets restaurants customize their guests’ online ordering experience.
With online ordering on the upwards trajectory, it’s better to hop on this train sooner rather than later.
Emerging Technologies in Restaurants
While it can be tempting to bring on every new restaurant technology that you’re presented with, it’s better to choose selectively and wisely. After all, too many of these “solutions” can lead to more problems. Instead, start by focusing on finding one concrete solution that can benefit your restaurant in more ways than one. For example, an all-in-one restaurant management platform that acts as a restaurant POS, offers kiosks and handhelds, and integrates with online ordering is a good start to getting your restaurant up to speed with new technology.
So what are you waiting for? It’s 2017 - bring on the tech!