Nearly two decades into the 21st century and we are now consuming technology in every way imaginable. The malls we shop at, the trains we travel on, the hospitals, the banks, even our workplace - the web of technology has infused our life with so much convenience that the mere thought of living without it may make our knees wiggle in fear.
So, the question is - why should the food service industry lag behind?
As a restaurateur, on several occasions, you may have felt the need to employ a wizard to walk around your restaurant, wave a wand and deal with all your ordering issues and management horrors.
While that isn't possibly just yet, restaurant technology could very well be solution to all your problems. Whether you are still cradling a new cafe or running an established restaurant, it is important to understand that in 2019 your business's success will only be measured in terms of how tech-savvy you or your restaurant are.
Coming off the backend of 2018, we've already started seeing a lot of action with regards to linking restaurant operation and tech. To be specific, everything from online ordering, free Wifi, tabletop tablets, and mobile payment, restaurant technology is a turn-key trend in the food service industry.
If your business still hasn’t adopted the tech-innovation, now is the right time to kickstart and learn more about how you can meet your customers’ expectations.
To help you prepare yourself, we’ve compiled a quick guide of upcoming restaurant trends to look out for with the key takeaway that restaurant management in 2019 is going to be all about technology.
Restaurant Technology Trends in 2019
Entertainment: Back in 40s, going out was all about getting a few rounds of drinks with friends and enjoying music out of a jukebox. Some three decades later, karaoke became a thing.
If you look at the trends today, you’ll see a wide variety of options that restaurants are using. Most bars and lounges use HDTVs, free WiFi and tabletop tablets to keep the guests entertained. Many restaurants are also warming up to the idea of live performances, where artists use the most sophisticated, technically-enhanced instruments and devices to keep the customers engaged.
Management: Gone are the days when penning down an order on a notepad meant efficient management and customer satisfaction. As eating out has become a cult, using the pen-and-paper is a practice of the past. Restaurant POS apps have taken over.
Many restaurants are choosing digital inventory software as it helps them manage and track the inventory more efficiently. Through a mobile device, waiters are able to receive orders, directly submit and view inventory counts without chances of any human errors. Point of sales systems for restaurants also allow managers to set up customized schedule for each product in the inventory. Not only does POS software keep track of actual product counts, but it also monitors inventory levels, improves kitchen communication, aligns order management and takes you one step forward to developing a loyal customer base.
Payments: A few years ago, cash payments were the only way to pay at a restaurant. Well, thanks again to advancements in technology, you don’t really have to expect your customers to carry that cash all the time anymore. Digital wallets, credit and debit cards, Android Play and Apple Pay have become very popular and efficient payment methods. In fact, customers now prefer to carry their phone in lieu of a phone, wallet, and cash. Making it more likely for guests to dine at your restaurant if you offer smart payment methods.
- Online Reservations: In the past, making a reservation at one of your local hotspots meant having to pick up the phone, dial a number, wait for an answer, and then spend a few minutes repeating your name multiple times until the person on the other end gets it right. Thanks to technology, your potential customers can now book a table at your restaurant in the fraction of the time with even higher accuracy through booking widgets. Booking widgets are quickly becoming industry standard across restaurant reservation software providers, and rightfully so. A single link can be placed on your website, Facebook page, Instagram page, and even your Google my Business profile to help convert your online fan base into paying customers.
In 2018, 25% of customers made bookings exclusively online, in 2019 that number is only going to keep growing.
These are the four key trends that are set to play a decisive role in the restaurant industry in the coming year. If you’re planning to open a new business or upgrade the existing one, make sure you align your strategy with respect to these upcoming trends. Do enough research, plan ahead of time and put the best services across on the table - that’s the best mantra to succeed with a restaurant business.