One of the common denominators among the next generation of successful restaurants is their adoption of the latest technologies to enhance the customer service experience, get access to insightful customer data, act on key management information and reduce operating costs and inefficiencies.
Whilst new technology often requires a significant up-front investment and the range of technology options can confuse many restaurateurs and lead them to procrastinate about integrating it into their business, those who wait too long will see irreparable damage to their bottom line.
With this in mind, I’ve focused on 6 high priority technology areas that we focus on with restaurants that use our restaurant consulting services. Let’s get started!
1. Online Ordering
With rent and rates being at an all-time high, every restaurant needs diverse revenue streams that they can monetise to remain profitable. Delivery and take away is one of those and requires a solid foundation in place to drive additional revenue.
Delivery apps provide customers with a leisurely experience to browse rather than hurriedly placing their order in person or over the phone. Since they’re ordering from a place of comfort, customers are more likely to order more, leading to higher sales. Not only do apps eliminate errors during order handling they also give you insightful data on who your regular customers are, how often they order, and which items they usually purchase.
Whilst EPOS systems have been widely adopted by restaurants, to realise the real benefits of using them, you ideally need one that is cloud-based, which can sync with your other systems and apps, provide you with meaningful data for internal decision making and marketing and which integrates with tabletop tablets so customers can browse a digital menu, place orders, and pay themselves.
3. Loyalty Apps
Emerging restaurant technologies are putting a new spin on loyalty programs. It’s easier than ever to design a great loyalty program and integrate it into an app or online program. Loyalty apps have proven to be one of the most effective means of re-marketing. After all, it’s much easier to woo back someone who has sampled your food and enjoyed your restaurant experience.
Unlike traditional stamp cards, online loyalty programs provide great marketing insight to restaurant owners or marketing directors. You can track customer behaviour that may influence your marketing strategy, like how often your customers visit (and why), trends in customer spend and potentially even glean data that helps with the evolution of your menus!
Rather than having to track their visits on a card (which can get lost easily), customers conveniently keep tabs on their app which can send them push notifications. Certain apps can even track a customer’s birthdays or anniversaries, so you can offer a special discount on their big day.
4. Restaurant Management Software
Restaurant management software is a complete back-office solution that can integrate with third-party systems so that you can get a full overview of your business and have the data you need for strategic decision making. From staffing and inventory forecasts to cash flow and profitability reports and menu performance analysis, a restaurant management software takes the hard work, legwork and guesswork out of running your restaurant. Your chosen solution should ideally be cloud-based so that you can access your data and reports, wherever you are in the world.
5. Table reservations manager
Table reservation software like OpenTable, Resdiary and Collins are a great way to free up staff time from taking reservations over the phone and allow you to take table reservations 24/7 via your website. Such software enhances the customer experience by enabling them to scan free tables and time slots and automatically populate bookings with their preferences. Not only that, they allow staff to spot trends for quieter nights of the week so that special promotions can be run. Table reservation software also facilitates more personalised customer service by viewing client visit history and recurring preferences.
6. Inventory Tracking
Inventory tracking software and scanners can save you hours each week if you currently manually log your inventory. With traditional spreadsheets, restaurants run the risk of administrative errors that lead to costly over or under ordering. Furthermore, if you want to run a comparison or check for inconsistencies in inventory – you have to manually configure the data. Instead, inventory tracking software’s can instantly run reports for you and provide you with an automated list of suggestions.
Technology offerings evolve at an uber fast speed and with so many offerings, incorporating these into your business can seem like a minefield. But for restaurants that are ambitious and want to grow, integrating technology that makes customers happy and turns tables faster will be a no-brainer.
This article presents a mere snapshot of the technologies your restaurant can adopt, to create efficiencies and revenue growth. There are so many more that I would love to share with you as part of our restaurant consulting services.