Sorry dad, but the rule of no tech at the table doesn’t fly anymore.
Restaurants must refresh their in-house technology, to not only meet their customer’s need but also, to stay on top of the ever-changing foodservice world. Here are three areas with technology suggestions for your restaurant to incorporate:
For Sales and Operations
Every restaurant needs a cash register, an inventory workflow, and a scheduling system—so why not utilize one software that can do all that and more?
Today’s multi-feature point of sale systems can process the aforementioned tasks, plus labor management, track and update customer loyalty programs, send bank deposits, and are built with internal training aids. Plus, the best are cloud-based, meaning each terminal is connected with one another so the front of the house can communicate with the back of the house, without the chaos of wires or loud, unproductive yelling. Many modern POS systems offer mobile apps as well for restaurant owners to view reports and inventory in real time. The app allows for flexibility, so restaurant owners can reach any data needed without physically being at the POS terminal.
For Serving and Reserving
Sometimes customers don’t want to make a night out of eating dinner by sitting down at a restaurant and would rather eat in their pajamas on their couch. But gone are the days of calling restaurants to order takeout. Customers desire the convenience, no pressure, reduced human error, and ease of customization of mobile or online ordering.
If your restaurant isn’t a franchise, it can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult to build an app or website just for your restaurant to take online ordering and reservations. Luckily, there are several mobile apps or websites that can do this for you for a fee or commission rate.
Some of the most popular mobile apps for online ordering are GrubHub, Seamless, UberEats, Eat24, and Postmates. Each service has different features like no added delivery fees, endless hours, and nontraditional payments like PayPal and Venmo.
But of course, sometimes customers do want to get away for a night and have a relaxing dinner at their favorite restaurant but even so, still might not be willing to deal with the wait of dinnertime rush.
Online or mobile reservations are a huge hit among these customers. OpenTable is the largest online restaurant reservation taker, but others like it are Yelp Reservations, Reserve, Resy, NoWait, Allset, and Spotluck. Again, each have their own features like showing current wait times, meal discounts, and most are free to use.
The internet and all that it encompasses is such an integral part of the average consumer’s life today. It’s often the first place we go to when we want to learn about something quick, like where the closest deli is. But the only way Google do its job and bring a searching customer to your restaurant is if you have a website or social media.
While owning your own digital space is the first step, maintaining that space is the next. For instance, there are several software built to help businesses manage digital marketing and their online presence as a means to get their name out there and build brand loyalty.
Restaurants can use social media marketing tools to build strategy, plan posts, analyze audience engagement and demographics, and more. Buffer and Hootsuite both offer scheduling posts across many platforms, posts analytics, and options to help follow up with audience engagement. Sprout Social is a multi-functioning tool with the unique feature of task delegation. Bitly shortens URLs to fit into social posts and offers analytics. Each social media platform you utilize will also provide analytics, like impressions, clicks, or media views.
Restaurants can utilize email marketing to send out specials and promotions, event details, or even general news. MailChimp is very popular to send to email groups at a predetermined time, autorespond and integrates well with popular CMS tools. ConvertKit, Constant Contact, and Drip are other tools with offerings similar to MailChimp.
Introducing new tech can be intimidating and costly but when done well, it’s worth it for the increased customer satisfaction and business.