Technology touches each and every aspect of people’s lives, as it always has. However, with the emergence of mobile devices and cloud computing making more impact today more than ever, it is impossible to go anywhere and not find a high-tech hardware or software around. The technology advancements have made an impact all over the world, and one of the places is the restaurant industry.
Technology advances is a big deal in the industry. It defines the future of restaurants and the way guests dine out. In retrospect, the industry usually is ten to twenty years behind every other industry when adopting new technologies. Normally, it is a one-touch experience, eating at a restaurant. Now however, with loyalty programs, digital receipts, email marketing, there are even more opportunities for a guest to interact with a restaurant and for the said restaurant to create a powerful database.
Since most businesses are digital, using technology to advance operations, why not the restaurant industry? Between the dawn of mobile devices on the table, social media, online reservation and new payment methods, technology has infiltrated the sector like never before. Some advancements serve to boost the experience, both for the field and for the customers. However, with every new advance comes a new challenge as well. Moreover, as technology moves faster, the challenges may appear insurmountable. It is how the industry deals with the technology advancements and the challenges along with them that would determine the fate of a lot of restaurants, whatever is on the menu.
MAJOR DIGITAL ADVANCEMENTS IN RESTAURANTS
- POS or Point of Sale Tablets. These differ from tableside tablets. These tablets could be terminals that are stationary that will flip to face the guest on the counter. Another option is small handheld tablets brought to the patron’s table by a server. These tablets save time by minimizing trips of a server to the terminal drastically. Guest accomplish their transaction on a handheld unit, rather than waiting for a server to pick up their credit card, run it and go back to the table. The time for a guest to see their bill, tip a server and get receipt is quicker, meaning that the establishment would be able to serve more people in a night.
- Kitchen display screens. Processes will not only be easier on the side of the guest, but also on the chef’s side. Menu orders could be communicated instantly and seamlessly to the kitchen. These systems are not stapes at fast food joints, but have been advancing through the years. Cloud systems could fire items back to the kitchen right away from the POS tablet. Furthermore, the screens could actually aid chefs to learn about the pace of their line, the time it takes to complete orders, segmented by menu item and group. This provides kitchen managers a great new way of thinking about how their kitchens could efficiently operate.
- Digital Receipts. These days, receipts are no longer stored at the bottom of the guest’s pocket to be forgotten and show up crumpled in the laundry. Now, restaurants find guests wherever they are, in their inboxes or phones. Best thing of all is that they go for this communication, which brings restaurants closer than ever to the customer base. Moreover, some new restaurants allow guests to handle payment and tip through their application so that a bill will never even come to the table. One of the many complaints that restaurants receive is that guests wait a long time for their bill. This method could have an impact on how a restaurant charge guests and keeping track and distribute gratuities.
- Managing Inventory software. There is an inventory management software, which provides a big opportunity for restaurant owners. Most have detailed spreadsheets, which need data input that could take hours, with inventory costs and profit margins over the years. New technology aims to make inventory, which include food cost percentage easier to manage and track. This way, there are no opportunities wasted in terms of menu engineering and the establishment could better impact the cost of goods sold and the profitability. All this is about having accurate numbers so owners and managers could take action at the right time and at the right way. Ultimately, this helps a restaurant to be more profitable, contributing to the business growth.
- Cloud-based labor and sales reporting. Restaurant sales are the cornerstone of the business. The system allows checking reports anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection with this software. Of course, there are numerous myths regarding cloud-based POS software, but they have been debunked. Ultimately, a restaurant owner or manager will be able to see gratuity, net sales, total guests, and labor cost percentage, table turn time, payroll reports and breakdown of all types of service and payment methods whenever one wants.
- Restaurant Hiring. Restaurant hiring applications also are becoming much more prevalent for restaurateurs that enable them to look for their employee base. With hiring, training and retaining staff is the number one challenge for restaurant owners. New technologies are looking for ways of improving what managers could do well in terms of hiring and training employees in order to minimize the cost of hiring, training and reducing employee turnover.