There are two kinds of people in the world: those who remain largely ignorant of new technology until it in some way directly impacts their lives, and those who anxiously await each new technological advance to the point of saving their money and standing in line for days to get the newest shiny gadget, whether they need it or not.
OK, that may be oversimplifying things just a bit. Most of us no doubt fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. But the fact is that while it’s not necessary to rabidly follow every bit of tech news that comes out of Silicon Valley, ignorance of newly available technology can put you at a disadvantage in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the restaurant industry, where technological advances continue to make for more efficient management of both employees and inventory, while more effectively reaching out to customers and streamlining their dining experience so they can spend more time enjoying their meal and less time waiting to be seated or served.
We’ve previously written about new developments in restaurant POS systems and how they can benefit you, your customers, and your bottom line, but what other tech is giving the competitive edge to your competitors while you remain blissfully unaware of its existence?
Let’s take a look at the top essential technologies that every restaurant needs.
A screen for everything and every screen in its place
Touchscreens are everywhere these days. From the smartwatch on your wrist to the phone in your pocket to your tablet and computer screen, they make getting things done faster and more intuitive, and that’s a very good thing when you’re trying to get through that lunch rush.
Touchscreen and handheld point of sale systems can help speed up order processing for your wait staff, resulting in lower wait times for customers and quicker table turnaround for you. Solutions like OneDine put your customers’ destinies in their own hands, allowing them to use their mobile device to check in, order, and pay, all at the table and on their own schedule.
Add a kitchen display system (KDS) to keep things moving efficiently in the kitchen, and the overall efficiency of your operation, from check-in to payment, can be increased tremendously.
Virtual reality continues to infiltrate our technological consciousness with everything from VR games to VR theater experiences to VR museum visits. Now, more and more restaurants are beginning to use VR technology as a safer, more efficient way to onboard and train staff. New team members can be brought up to speed without monopolizing the time of managers or current wait staff and without subjecting customers to trainee mistakes that might mar their dining experience.
Using a VR headset and custom software, trainees can get a 360 degree tour of your entire facility and participate in a variety of training exercises designed to give them the skills they need to effectively serve your guests without having to touch any food or disrupt the experience of actual diners.
With the advent of COVID-19, this technology has gone from “great to have” to “indispensible” overnight. A restaurant simply can’t survive today without some means of providing online ordering and curbside pickup or delivery. If you’re not excited at the prospect of managing your own delivery staff you should, at the very least, coordinate with a third-party delivery service like Uber Eats, GrubHub, or DoorDash.
In response to the current pandemic, OneDine’s parking lot order and pay technology is now available to restaurants with no contract, no fees, and no commitment. OneDine’s solution allows guests to order from your menu on their mobile device, drive to your location, and notify you when they arrive so food can be delivered to their car. They can also drive up and order right from your parking lot by scanning QR codes on installed signs.
What’s the point of doing everything else right if you end up running out of food? Keeping track of inventory can be a time-sucking vampire, and it’s not like you don’t have other things to do. Of course, it’s got to be done or you’ll find yourself apologizing to customers and offering free meal vouchers as they rush out the door to a competitor who actually has the dish that they want.
An automated purchasing tool can help you stay on top of your inventory by alerting you when product levels get low. Not only can it keep you informed when inventory levels drop, but it can also make intelligent purchasing recommendations based on forecasted sales quantities, product lead times, and more. It can even be set to make automatic purchases when inventory levels reach a predetermined point defined by you.
Let tech help you
The point is, while it’s not necessary to religiously follow every development in the tech world, there’s a lot of stuff out there that can make life easier for you while also improving your bottom line.
That’s enough to turn anyone into a lover of technology.