As a restaurant technology solutions provider, you couldn’t be in a better position as tech continues to drive industry trends and innovations. Technology is setting a new standard for what guests expect out of a dining experience, and operators are scrambling to keep up. In fact, they are increasing IT spend to make it happen. According to the 2017 Restaurant Tech Study by Hospitality Technology Magazine 58 percent of operators are increasing IT budgets this year.
- New Tech Expectations for Diners
It was just a matter of time before diners started demanding an experience like they receive in retail shopping (think: buy online, pick up in store) and new restaurant technology is fueling the fire. If they can hop on their phones, order a new light fixture, and then pick it up in a home improvement store a short time later, they want to be able to do the same thing with their lunch or dinner. At a minimum, guests want to be able to view your menu on a smartphone. Ideally, for quick service, and even fast casual, they also want the ability to order and pay in advance.
In a table service restaurant, patrons’ expectations are exceeded when wait staff use mobile point of sale (mPOS) to take payments at the table or redeem loyalty points quickly. That same mPOS solution can also streamline curbside pickup, eliminating a trip inside to pay for takeout orders.
- Chain Reaction Tech Upgrades
Keeping up with the Joneses in the hospitality industry has essentially become a tech war. When one restaurant gains an advantage from a tech upgrade, it forces the competition to keep up or lose customers. Are people basing their dining out choices based on their technology experience with an eatery? Absolutely.
Technology one-upmanship isn’t just about leveraging solutions to improve customer experiences, it’s also about becoming more profitable by keeping costs down, reducing waste, and shrinking overhead. In the back of the house leveraging technology translates to better inventory management, optimized purchasing, and efficient labor scheduling, all of which integrates with the accounting systems and other business applications.
- Using Analytics to Get the Advantage
In Hospitality Technology Magazine’s report of the top goals for technology projects, improving customer analytics was in the top two. This push to understand guest preferences, trends and behavior is fueled by data collected with restaurant technology. Linking loyalty program data with guest databases identifies VIP guests and makes sending targeted marketing messages and promotions as easy as running a report.
At the same time, the report also found that 43 percent believe they lag behind the competition in the use of analytics. This is a great opportunity for restaurant technology solution providers to step in and show not only how reporting can help a restaurant connect with its clientele but how to effectively use analytics to drive business decisions from ingredient purchasing to menu pricing.
- Increased Tech Budgets
Spurred on by technology trends, IT budgets are increasing. Operators are investing more and more money every year, even though foot traffic in restaurants is decreasing. In fact, 2.6 percent of revenue is allocated to IT, according to the Hospitality Technology Magazine study.
Specifically restaurants are focusing their IT budgets on:
- Digital customer engagement
- Business and customer analytics
- Payment and data security
Strategically Market Your Restaurant Technology Solutions
As your customers navigate into the hospitality industry of the future, it’s important that you are right there with them, on the cutting edge, to point them in the right direction. Your customers know what they want: mobile site, mobile POS, integrated systems, loyalty programs. Be the solution provider that gets the message across that you can deliver.