What technologies have contributed to the growth of restaurants? Think of OpenTable or GrubHub, where you could book table from home rather than going to the food joint. Doesn’t it help consumers? The ability to accurately provide waiting-time to consumers so that they don’t have to wait in queue and even return disappointed after traveling to restaurants, if there is no vacancy on that day is a great respite for consumers. These were being expected for some time now. And being able to provide these facilities will count as great examples of hospitality. The restaurant technology space is changing fast. It’s hot time to be in this field too.
Today it is changing the way eateries interact with consumers. But adoption of technology has some complexities. Because technology is growing at rapid rate, when do you decide to purchase without ending up lagging behind pretty soon in the future? This is not predictable, take for example, HD DVD. The technology of HD DVD was discarded. Similar things can happen to even versions. For example, consider Windows Vista, and it was not that recent buyers of the operating system were given easier upgrade option.
Newer technology higher price
Other times, a new technology in the market is priced substantially higher, as in the case of USB 3.0 or 3.1. In this case a buyer may not feel as bad as in the previous cases, especially when budget were constrained. The price too declines as technology advances, and a set of buyers actually don’t look forward to buying the latest tech rather something useful but when the price falls. Another important aspect of adopting new restaurant technology is that if something is not tested and in enough use to get credible reviews operators wouldn’t come ahead to risk it on themselves. Thus either a tech-vendor has to be a reputed brand or provide a trial to be quickly adopted by consumers.
On the other hand, restaurateurs have the risk of being left behind by competitors if they delay too much in adopting the new technology. Most often the tech would bring about some efficiency improvements and the absence of which might even send customers away.
Present State of Restaurant Technology
Also, the departments in a restaurant have been segregated without much mutual implementation of technology that creates a challenge of its own. Separate systems for handling ordering, inventory and marketing campaigns have existed for a long while now.
Technology has no doubt the potential to reshape the business altogether, while some of the advancements that have been received well are listed below:
- Digital Menuboards: As the name suggests, it takes the place of static displays and menu boards. It can easily be edited and programmed to schedule display of products with time. Digital menus can easily be modified and design from common software such as PowerPoint can be used. It reduces customer order time.
- Social media campaigns: Restaurants have been among the most active users of social media platform to send ads. They have benefitted from these too. The users spend most of their free time on social media and almost everyone eats out. It reduces cost per acquisition of customers.
- EPOS: It is the electronic point of sale, such as getcirq.com/pos.html that accepts payments through cards or via bank, verifies transactions, generates reports and insights, and even performs inventory control. It reduces reconciliation time and effort.
- Mobile POS: A mobile PoS can also enable display of menu on mobile. Also, it can manage operations by accessing the entire point of sale system from mobile itself. It improves efficiency like an epos even more.
Since users could not have all the apps on their device to order food from, the aggregators and listing apps came into being and are widely used. This helped restaurants to focus on their core business rather than to sustain an IT team to look after an app or ordering system. Nevertheless, the mobile website still holds significance to this day and near future.
A point of sale has been the central and most old piece of technology restaurants have had. Around this revolves staff management, supply chain, customer loyalty, and reporting. But modern systems also provide customer engagement, predictive and real time analytics, layaway, and more. This has been possible by developing products in modules and integrating them based on requirements of a restaurant. Further, the development of software as a service model enables having complex systems in the cloud and providing all of these as a service. And restaurants have been eagerly waiting for these integrated systems to become available. The offering that integrates all of the restaurateur’s needs into one system is being anticipated to be the game changer.
What to look for?
Modifying ads that go into the social media so that customers can directly make transactions from the interactive ads rather than have to come to website could be next hot tech for restaurants and retail. The customer facing technologies of OpenTable and GrubHub have become most popular in food-service in the US. On the back-end the technology is just catching up. It is going to change the way restaurateurs look at technology. People now don’t complain and rather expect that Apple come up with a new version of iPhone every year. Similarly, restaurateurs will be used to increasingly using new technology and throwing obsolete ones.