Should restaurants embrace high tech?

Technology develops to make things more efficient, and restaurant tech is no different, according to RestoConnection.

New tech is exciting and engaging, but the end product is always increased efficiency for your business. There are certainly some arguments against the use of tech in certain circumstances. However, when it comes to your restaurant business, technology is essential for growth and future success.

Some types of tech provide an obvious or immediate benefit, like an online ordering system. Other forms, such as interactive tables, might pose more of a question mark. Do they really make a positive impact and are they worth the investment?

Digital menus
Digital menus don’t just make things more efficient when it comes to the ordering process. They can also be utilised to enhance the overall customer experience.

Inamo restaurant in London does just this, using their entire table as a digital menu, with touchpads installed directly within the tables. Inamo really uses this creatively and even shows the customer what the food looks like on the plate.

The tables are also connected to the kitchen, allowing customers to see what the chef is doing via a ‘chefcam’. This type of unique experience is innovative and will attract customers purely on that basis. The new exciting experience this creates for the customer should keep them coming back again and again. 

If your menu changes regularly, a digital one allows you to make updates as and when needed. If you re-brand or take on a new design for the interior of your restaurant, again the menus can be changed in accordance with this. Menus can often get damaged; from general wear and tear or from spills and accidents. With a digital menu, there’s no need to replace tired looking menus. 

Online ordering
A streamlined online ordering system is a no-brainer. You will attract many more customers looking for a quick and easy way to order food from their phones or devices. You will literally open up the doors to groups of entirely new customers and your business will have a much wider reach.

If you opt for an online ordering system that is entirely yours, you will save money on paying commission to third-party aggregators. You have complete control and will benefit greatly from the data collected in relation to online orders, allowing you to better understand the customer journey. 

Self-service kiosks
Kiosks have been proven to increase the average order-value compared to face-to-face orders. This seems to be true across the industry because a kiosk takes away any element of embarrassment in relation to the amount ordered, or the specific items ordered.

A self-service order point also substantially reduces queues and frees up staff members to focus on other areas of customer service. As kiosks become more widely used in restaurants, even a technophobe can feel 100% comfortable following the simple steps to complete their order. 

Interactive tables
Interactive tables can make the wait for food more enjoyable for the customer. You can set-up games for customers to play together or as a family. You can include ways to entertain children, with applications for digital drawing or children's games. For adults you can include digital newspapers and magazines; the possibilities are endless. Over time, you will also understand which apps are most popular and how you could improve this experience further. 

A digital table gives you the opportunity to collect customer feedback or allow customers to benefit from loyalty programmes as they are seated.

With technology comes real-time data; giving you the ability to make data-driven decisions. Technology allows you to see the overall picture from a birds-eye view.

Which drinks or meals are most popular when ordered from a phone? What is the average order fulfilment time when a customer orders using a kiosk? What is the overall customer satisfaction according to the feedback collected via an interactive table? Data is king and tech gives you easy access to this as well as boosting customer satisfaction and improving efficiency.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSRMedia UK. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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