This article was originally posted on backofhouse.io. Visit them for more restaurant industry insights and solutions.
The proliferation of technology has improved restaurant operations in many ways, but it also has the potential to create confusion and difficult decisions. How can you be certain technology aligns with your business goals? What results should your operation expect when adding a new piece of technology?
While the number of technology companies serving the restaurant industry multiplies, it’s helpful to organize them in broader categories that reflect how they’re meant to help your business. Most tech solutions are meant to help restaurants in at least one of the following three areas:
- Improving customer experience
- Increasing profitability
- Managing and optimizing staff
Let’s take a look at each area more closely and examine the different types of beneficial technology available:
Improving customer experience
Customers increasingly expect technology to be part of their restaurant interaction, whether on-premise or online. Putting your best digital foot forward is critical for creating a positive experience.
Website building and management. Your website is often the place a customer first encounters your brand. It’s also a hub for online ordering and reservations.
Online ordering and delivery. Customers increasingly “shop” online for options with the recent rise in off-premise dining.
Reservations. These platforms allow customers to plan their visit, adjust their plans easily and, best of all, skip the wait line.
Automated and contactless payment. These technologies offer several customer benefits, from the ability to pay quickly and on their own timing to increased safety.
CRM and loyalty. Use your data to build CRM (customer relationship management). Promote special events and menu specials, customize messages to your regular, and even not-so-regular, customers.
Catering and events. Provide more automation and a sense of immediacy to customers looking for event spaces and catering services.
On some level, all technology should lend itself to increasing profitability. The areas highlighted here have a strong connection to keeping an eye on operating costs and improving your bottom line.
Inventory management. The right inventory management software helps you avoid product loss, manage costs and execute the process efficiently.
Recipe costing. These tools make developing, adjusting and pricing recipes easier. This goes directly to profitability.
Purchasing. A good purchasing solution will streamline managing vendor relationships and make your process more cost-effective.
Phone and chat bots. Expand your customer service process at a lower cost and free up time so people can focus on other tasks.
Kitchen automation. This growing area of restaurant tech can automate simple kitchen tasks and let you do more with less staff.
Managing and optimizing staff
Your staff is the backbone of your restaurant. Whether it’s hiring new people or retaining your team, technology should allow you to improve processes, communicate more effectively and automate basic management tasks.
Human Resources. There are a variety of solutions available to streamline HR functions for your team.
Payroll. Payroll management can be a headache, but there are many software solutions that simplify the process.
Hiring. Restaurants constantly need to find and hire talent, and the right staffing software can be a valuable tool.
Scheduling. Offering schedule transparency and flexibility can be a major part of retaining staff and avoiding shortages.
Written in collaboration with our partners at Back of House.