Isn’t it hard to believe that just a decade ago, ordering food from your favourite restaurant or getting a surprise meal delivered to your parents in a different city would have been unthinkable?And all of this with just a few swipes on your phone screen from the comfort of your home. But thanks to technology, online food delivery apps have made this possible.
Tech trends and its importance in restaurants
The true potential of technology has remained largely untapped in the hospitality and restaurant business in the last decade. However, changing guest expectations, new innovative technologies, and internet penetration have totally transformed how restaurants operate. Restaurants which were once dominated by manual processes, have now embraced technology to meet changing consumer needs, deliver better customer experiences, increase efficiency, and most importantly focus on what they truly enjoy doing - serving people yummy food.
Restaurants are quickly adopting technology for many of their day-to-day operations and for long-term business benefits. In order to meet the ever evolving guest preferences, optimizing day to day operational efficiency, and increasing profitability restaurant owners must continue to invest and explore in new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. Even before the pandemic struck, big food chains had already started investing in self-ordering kiosks, QR Code menus, kitchen robots, online food ordering apps and many such disruptive technologies. The good news is that small restaurant owners have begun to realize the benefits of technology and are now willing to invest in the same.
Restaurant technology tools to take your business to the next level
Are you planning to jump on the technology bandwagon or are you already ahead of the curve? Whatever the case may be, here is a list of restaurant technology tools you must have in your arsenal to run your restaurant business efficiently and delight your guests.
- QR Code
QR Code technology is gaining immense popularity in restaurants around the world. Though the technology has been around for a few years now, the pandemic has fuelled its growth and restaurants big or small are adopting it in this era of social distancing and contactless dining experiences. QR code menu enabled restaurants allow guests to auto-scan barcodes/QR codes on posters, tables, coasters, doors, or websites with their smartphone cameras or QR code scanner apps. QR codes enable customers to navigate the menu, place orders, make payments, and submit feedback all with a few swipes on their smartphone screens. QR codes offer a plethora of benefits without having to invest hefty amounts of money.They are convenient to use, and make employees and customers feel safe. QR code technology is now a must have in restaurants.
- Automated Inventory management software
Food and beverage, cleaning supplies, cutlery, serving ware, and dinnerware inventory are the lifeblood of any restaurant business. A well-managed inventory is the key to the success of any restaurant business. It impacts revenue, profits, and reputation too. However, keeping a manual track of all inventory is cumbersome and prone to errors. By automating inventory management, you as a business owner, can track your food and beverage stocks, anticipate quantities, and schedule reorders without investing a lot of time and labour. By implementing an automated inventory management software you not only save time, you streamline processes, curb food wastage, and in the long run, save money too. You take a step closer to running your business more efficiently.
- Self-ordering kiosks
Self-ordering kiosks have gained immense popularity in quick service restaurants and fast-food chains over the last two years. In fact, McDonald’s was one of the first few chains to install these in its outlets and now many food chains, big and small, are happily embracing the trend. And why not? The benefits self-ordering kiosks offer outweigh the investment in the long run. Self-ordering kiosks give guests more control over the ordering process with a top-notch digital experience and an easy-to-use interface that simplifies menu navigation and order customization. A well designed kiosk enables restaurants to increase average check size through upsell prompts, ensure no long ordering queues, and let staff spend more time on more productive tasks.
- Online food delivery apps
The lockdowns were strange times, however online food ordering became quite popular. Though dine-in businesses were adversely affected, online deliveries helped many restaurant businesses stay afloat. By the end of the lockdowns people got accustomed to getting the food they wanted at their doorsteps, and the trend is here to stay. A McKinsey report estimates the global food delivery market to be worth $150 billion, which is thrice the value as in 2017. No wonder many hotel chains, including 5-star chains are following in the footsteps of fast-food chains and launching their own online food ordering platforms and apps. Players who cannot afford that scale of investment are partnering with third-party food delivery apps such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates.
- Online table reservation systems
We live in an era of the internet and smartphones. Everything from booking a doctor’s appointment to ordering groceries happens through an app. Making a reservation for a lunch date or dinner date at a restaurant is no different. Gone are the days when people used to call up their favourite restaurants to check availability and make a reservation. Advanced online table reservation apps such as OpenTable and EatApp enable customers to see available slots and make their own table reservations. Online reservation systems help restaurants manage seating, customer loyalty programs, guest dining preferences, and collect vital client data for contact tracing, and marketing and promotional campaigns.
- Digital kitchen boards
So far we’ve talked about enough technologies to streamline things for the front-of-house staff, customers, and admin teams. But kitchens are one place in a restaurant where the action never ends. So how can technology help streamline kitchen operations and make them more efficient? Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) are a perfect solution to help restaurants streamline their kitchen or back-of-house operations. KDS refers to a digital menu display installed in kitchens and linked to a restaurant’s point-of-sale system. KDS eliminates the process of carrying order tickets to the kitchen by displaying orders as received along with special requests if any. It also tracks meal delivery times, monitors inventory, and ensures clear communication, accurate processing of orders, and agile and efficient kitchen operations.
The last two years were a roller-coaster ride for restaurant business owners. As things slowly get back to normal, restaurants must embrace and leverage technology to stand on their feet again and to survive and thrive. Consumer expectations, lifestyles, and thought-processes have been completely altered in the wake of the events that have unfolded in the last two years. Embracing technology is the only way-forward to meet new customer demands and expectations. Today, there are tech platforms like Delightree that can help you manage various areas of your restaurant operations on the go. If you are still contemplating how technology can benefit your restaurant business growth, act fast. Technology is indeed your best friend.