Restaurants haven’t always been the quickest to respond to new technology.
Restaurant owners generally focus more heavily on premium ingredients and fantastic customer service to differentiate their location from the competition. However, in an age of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant tech is proving to be increasingly valuable.
The right solutions effectively reduce expenses, improve team performance, and make the right impression on your target audience.
In a world where 52% of customers would rather go to a restaurant than spend money on a physical item, you can’t afford to underestimate the importance of these technological solutions.
So, which technologies are changing the way restaurants operate? Here’s a list of the latest innovations.
Self-service technology has been gaining steam in the restaurant industry for some time now. Research in 2019 found that around 65% of customers would happily visit a restaurant more often if self-service technology were available there.
In the years following the 2020 pandemic, self-service technology will only become more essential, helping make consumers safer while reducing face-to-face interactions. Customers are now relying on self-service technology to help them navigate experiences safely.
The technology also delivers benefits like:
Speed: Self-service kiosks will often help consumers to order and receive their food faster than waiting for a staff member. It reduces the strain on employees and allows them to focus on delivering the food faster too.
Accuracy: In a busy restaurant environment, it’s easy to mishear a customer request. Self-service technology eliminates this risk by automating the order-taking process.
Convenience: Whether it’s paying for a meal without contact or making a special request, self-service can make it easier for customers to get what they need. It’s even possible to order food on an app without having to speak to a worker.
Delivery Apps and Ordering
With restricted travel and limited options for outdoor dining, the demand for delivery and ordering apps is increasing. Consumers want to ensure that they can get the food they need most safely and comfortably possible. Around 97% of customers say they’ve left a purchase because it became inconvenient for them.
While online ordering and delivery options have been around for some time, it’s not just a convenient option today – it’s a necessity. Creating your own app for your restaurant and offering an excellent delivery experience will help maintain customer loyalty when they may not be able to visit your restaurant themselves.
Online ordering experiences open the door to a continued relationship with crucial repeat customers, no matter what the surrounding circumstances may be. However, businesses will need to ensure that their mobile app offers the simple experience that customers crave.
Ghost kitchens are becoming increasingly popular for restaurants that want to boost their income and discover new ideas. They’re basically “restaurants without dining space” that focus on fulfilling online-only orders through their own or third-party delivery operations. Food in this environment sometimes comes from a kitchen cooking for multiple different locations at once.
Ghost kitchens cost a fraction of the cost to operate as a new space and allows for minimal risk for entrepreneurs. With restaurant delivery sales destined to grow at over three times the speed of on-premises experiences through to 2023, companies can’t afford to ignore the benefits of ghost kitchens.
A ghost kitchen allows a restaurant to deliver a highly flexible experience to its customers, contending with the growing need for contactless experiences and convenient out-of-premises dining.
Many of the growing technology solutions in the restaurant world today are growing faster, thanks to COVID-19.
However, some tech solutions are appearing specifically to respond to the pandemic. For instance, contactless dining experiences allow consumers to see the menu, order food, and make payments without interacting with a human staff member.
Order and pay without touch solutions are now essential to the dining experience, with 34% of consumers saying the technology helps them feel safer visiting a restaurant. On top of contactless payment solutions, restaurants are also using things like CRM tracking and computer vision to ensure that they don’t go over capacity for serving walk-in customers.
Too many people in close proximity increase the risk of disease spreading, meaning that companies need to be increasingly careful about how many consumers they serve and where they place them in the dining space. Fortunately, capacity management solutions like Eat App allow restaurants to adjust capacity however they need it. Need to switch from 100% to 30% capacity? You can use such tools to change floor plans in minutes with drag and drop, customizable editing features.
Restaurant CRM Software
Excellent customer service and experience have long stood at the heart of an excellent restaurant experience. Any customer buying from your company has a 60% chance of becoming a repeat customer, but only if you can deliver the right experiences.
Cultivating loyalty from your diners means paying attention to their preferences and needs when they visit your location. A dedicated restaurant CRM tool allows companies to track everything from which of their meals are the most popular to when their busiest hours are, so they can schedule more staff to be available. The right technology can alert business leaders when they need to order more stock to prepare for a spike in demand.
With your restaurant CRM, you can pinpoint the gaps in the customer service experience and improve your customers’ perception of you. CRM solutions often plug directly into your POS, so you can gather as much information as possible from both in-person and online interactions, depending on how you sell.
Restaurant Experiences Are Evolving
There’s no ignoring the demand for new technology. Restaurant owners everywhere are tapping into technology to reduce costs and increase their value in the hospitality industry. It’s time that you seriously consider adopting these technologies in your own restaurant.