Modern technology is changing every industry, including the food service industry. Technological advancements have led to new ways of conducting business, increased efficiency, and productivity, and improved safety and sanitation standards. For many restaurant owners, this is a welcomed change.
However, with any new technology comes a learning curve. Many restaurant owners are still trying to utilize these new tools to their advantage. Here are a few ways that technology is changing how restaurants operate.
1. Online ordering and delivery
Almost every restaurant now has an online presence, which means that customers can order food from the comfort of their own homes. This is a massive advantage for those who live in rural areas or don’t have time to cook. Online ordering also makes it easy to track orders and ensure that they’re delivered on time.
Now is the time to start if you’re not already offering online ordering. Several online ordering platforms can help you get started, such as Toast, Square, and ChowNow. These platforms will allow you to take orders and payments online and track delivery times. Some even offer customer loyalty programs to encourage repeat business.
2. Contactless payments
Contactless payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, are becoming increasingly popular. These payments allow customers to pay for their food without touching a physical credit card. This is more convenient for customers and also helps to cut down on the spread of germs.
Especially during this pandemic, offering contactless payments is a great way to show that you’re taking the necessary precautions to keep your customers safe. Many point-of-sale (POS) systems now offer contactless payments, such as Square and Shopify. If you’re not using a POS system, you can still provide contactless payments using a mobile payment app, such as Venmo or Cash App.
3. Robot servers
Robot servers are starting to pop up in restaurants all over the world. These robots are designed to take orders, deliver food, and clean tables. They’re a great way to increase efficiency and free up your staff to do other tasks.
Some popular robot servers include Miso Robotics’ Flippy and Sally the Robot. These robots are designed to work in commercial kitchens and can even cook food. But if you want to get started with robot servers, you can find simpler and less expensive ones. Some robots will use a rolling tray cart to push the food to the table, while others will use an iPad to take orders.
4. Self-service kiosks
Many restaurants are now using self-service kiosks to avoid long lines and speed up the ordering process. These kiosks allow customers to place their orders without waiting in line. They’re also great for those who want to avoid human interaction altogether. These are common in supermarkets but are starting to pop up in restaurants.
When installing self-service kiosks, it’s essential to ensure they’re easy to use. It would be best if you also considered adding a customer service representative nearby in case anyone has trouble using the kiosk. This way, you can ensure that your customers have a positive experience.
However, self-service kiosks are not suitable for every restaurant. If you have a smaller restaurant, focusing on personal service might be more beneficial. You should also consider your customer base before deciding to install self-service kiosks. If you have a lot of older customers, they might not be as comfortable using a kiosk.
5. Automated kitchen equipment
From dishwashers to ovens, there’s now a wide range of automated kitchen equipment that can help your restaurant run more smoothly. This equipment is designed to make the cooking and cleaning process more efficient. Automatic dishwashers, for example, can clean dishes faster and more effectively than manual ones.
Automated kitchen equipment can be expensive, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to improve your restaurant’s efficiency. If you’re not ready to invest significantly, there are also less expensive options, such as automatic soap dispensers and paper towel holders.
6. Online reservations
Of course, online reservations are becoming more and more popular, especially among busy restaurants. Online reservations allow customers to book a table without calling the restaurant. This is more convenient for customers and helps to cut down on no-shows.
There are several online reservation systems, such as OpenTable and Resy. These systems allow you to manage your reservations and keep track of your customer data. They also provide features such as online waiting lists and table management.
Technology is changing the way restaurants operate in many ways. From contactless payments to the automated kitchen equipment, there are many ways that you can use technology to improve your restaurant. But it’s important to consider your customer base and make sure that you’re using technology to benefit them. Otherwise, you risk alienating your customers and damaging your business.