Imagine the benefits of tracking and monitoring your entire restaurant operations with just a few strokes on a keyboard. Think about how a minor reduction in food waste could significantly change your bottom line. Consider the time and effort saved if you could take accurate inventory counts across different F&B service units using an automated supply chain.
It may sound too good to be true, but restaurants across the country are getting ready to integrate technology into their operations. The benefits are clear. Digitization of traditionally manual restaurants drastically improves operations. Inventory management reduces food waste and keeps costs low.
Like any other data-driven organization,studies show that restaurants are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable. So the use of technology in the restaurant industry is here to stay!
This article will review the different types of restaurant technology used in the F&B industry and the benefits they bring to business growth.
The Most Important Types of Restaurant Technology
Restaurant PoS System
When touchscreen terminals and tablets are used at the point of sale (PoS) between restaurant employees and the end customer, they make the ordering and payment processes simpler and more efficient.
In the last decade, they have become much more prevalent in the industry. The United States restaurant point-of-sale (POS) terminals market is anticipated to grow with a CAGR of 6.85% or $4.22 billion by 2030. An ideal PoS terminal should have a user-friendly and intuitive design so that service staff and diners can interact with it easily and use it to its fullest potential. As an all-in-one piece of technology, it stores the restaurant's sales data, menu prices, inventory levels, and reservations.
Restaurants usually have a cloud-based PoS service, which stores all your data in a secure internet server that you can access with the right hardware or with an intelligent device that can connect to the internet.
Kitchen Display Screens
A Kitchen Display Screen or KDS is a centralized digital ordering system. It bridges the gap between the front-of-the-house (FOH) and back-of-the-house (BOH) operations in most restaurants by replacing paper tickets traditionally used in restaurants. With a boost in communication, efficiency improves in all aspects of restaurant operations.
When a KDS is integrated with Point-of-Sale software, it works wonders for your restaurant! Diners can place orders through digital menu board displays. These orders get automatically updated in the KDS system, which is displayed to the kitchen staff preparing the food.
Data shows that yearly store sales per unit can be increased by $16,000 by using digital menu boards. With the help of an iPad, tablet, or mobile smartphone, you can directly take orders from diners at their tables.
Another advantage of having a POS-integrated Kitchen Display System is that it allows on-site and online orders to integrate seamlessly into the restaurant operations. Hence, you don't need more staff to manage these touchpoints.
At the back of the house, service staff can be updated as soon as the kitchen staff is ready with the order so that the food can be delivered or served in the restaurant.
A well-rounded Restaurant Management Software can:
â— Calculate the payments received for each item sold that day
â— Monitor the cash payments coming in and going out
â— Generate sales reports for specific periods
â— Keep track of sales data by recording check averages daily
â— Store and save customer information.
Cash is becoming redundant even in fast-food restaurants. Customers are familiar with contactless payment options using their smartphones or digital devices. Apple Pay and Google Pay are the more popular services. Data shows that QR code payments will grow by 240% due to the increase in demand for cashless payments by 2025.
â€œWe used to be concerned that only the younger, more tech-savvy customers would use a mobile device to order and pay. But since the majority of people not only own a cell phone but have learned to use it to find a restaurant via map apps, scan a QR code to view a menu, and even use a mobile app to order food or groceries, restaurants can easily offer self-serve mobile options,â€ says Tamy Duplantis, President of Return on Information.
Self-order kiosks are changing how orders are placed at quick-service and casual dining restaurants with higher footfall than fine dining establishments.
A kiosk is a small, free-standing structure with a touch screen and digital menu. Customers can use the interface to choose the menu options they want to eat, customize their orders, make digital payments through cards or contactless systems, and get a receipt printed.
All of this is done without any help from the restaurant staff. Instead, the order is directly processed by the back-of-the-house staff, who get the food ready to be picked up at the delivery counter. This level of automation enables restaurant chains to keep their overheads low by avoiding employee salaries. It also is beneficial in case of a labor shortage.
Aside from the benefits to the restaurant itself, customers are also happy with the fast and efficient service they can get at a self-order kiosk.
There's nothing quite like curling up at home with some take-out food and a new series to binge-watch on Netflix! 70% of consumers prefer to order their food online. 79% of people have a restaurant app, and 57% have a third-party delivery app. Global installs offood delivery apps increased by 25% in 2020 compared to 2019 and were up by a further 21% in 2021.
These user-friendly apps and tech-enabled driver networks appeal to diners because of their convenience. However, restaurants are now choosing to launch their apps or online ordering services hosted on their websites instead of paying commissions to online food aggregators.
By analyzing the data generated from online ordering, restaurant owners can build custom menus for each consumer, making food recommendations and precautions for food allergies and preferences more accurate.
The Benefits of Having Technology in the Restaurant Industry
Efficiency in Kitchen Operations
The right restaurant management software allows employees to manage reservations and walk-ins more effectively using a single screen. The PoS systems facilitate rapid, error-free ordering that keeps customers happy. In addition, the kitchen staff can use the KDS system to plan their cooking activities, ensuring food is served on time.
Software that allows restaurant owners to monitor their inventory with technology saves time and effort, highlights manual errors, and saves money in the long run. Digital menus can be updated anytime. They don't incur the additional cost of re-printing in case of any changes or when a restaurant wants to introduce a special menu.
Improved Customer Service
A large part of consumer satisfaction in the restaurant industry is rooted in their experience at every touchpoint. Fast and efficient customer service plays a significant role. If restaurants can leverage technology to provide an effortless experience for their consumers, they are on their way to establishing unwavering customer loyalty.
The most obvious example is Starbucks! Their online ordering app allows you to place your order in advance and pick it up or have it delivered to your office, saving precious minutes on your way to work by avoiding the morning rush. They understood their customers' pain points and used technology to change how they provided their service.
In addition, 94% of U.S.-based customers base their dining decisions on online reviews. So restaurants that have an efficient way to capture and display feedback can also improve their chances of acquiring new customers in the long run.
Other Factors to Consider for a Successful Restaurant
Investing in New Restaurant Equipment
Owners who invest in commercial kitchen equipment know that it is an investment that will pay off in the long run.
â— Newer equipment usually yields a much higher-quality end product.
â— They have lower maintenance costs.
â— They are less likely to be contaminated after years of use.
â— They can improve operational efficiency, allowing staff to complete tasks faster.
Smart Menu Planning
Planning the menu ensures that restaurants can:
â— Prepare their meals on time.
â— Help their chefs organize their kitchen schedules and staff more efficiently.
â— Reduce food waste, making operations more cost-effective
â— Improve inventory management for raw ingredients.
All these factors help restaurants to run their operations smoothly and successfully.
Keeping employees motivated and satisfied helps reduce attrition rates in the service industry. The high turnover of service and kitchen staff naturally disturbs restaurant operations. A simple way to let employees know you are thinking about their well-being is to review their workflows and identify pain points or bottlenecks. Sometimes minor adjustments are enough to change their experience.
Some workflow issues can be resolved with the introduction of technology, an investment that will pay dividends in the future.
Consistently reviewing customer feedback is a great way to identify gaps in your processes. Like every service-based industry, the customer is king! So, actively getting their opinion on the restaurant's offerings and services can help elevate your ratings.
To Wrap Up!
The digital revolution in restaurant operations shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, owners who enjoy the efficiency and revenue-generating potential of restaurant technology are eager to invest in more robust systems. The idea is to choose the right technology for your business - smart systems that improve operations, increase employee productivity, and keep customers coming in for more!