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 a Restaurant Tech Study by Hospitality Technology Magazine 58 percent of operators are increasing IT budgets this year.
Technology is quickly becoming as big of a necessity in restaurants as the food itself. Here are seven ways in which technology is driving the restaurant industry:
It was just a matter of time before diners started demanding experiences like they receive in retail shopping (think: buy online, pick up in store) and new restaurant technology is fueling the fire. If guests 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 do the same thing with their lunch or dinner. At a minimum, guests want to be able to view your website and menu on a smartphone. Ideally, for quick service, and even fast casual, they also want the ability to order online and pay in advance.
In a table service restaurant, wait staff can exceed customer expectations by using a 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.
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. Which begs the question: are people making their dining 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 integrate with the accounting systems and other business applications.
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. That’s not all it’s useful for, however.
A solid reporting and analytics solution will provide greater visibility into a vast array of processes, including employee performance, offer redemption, the profitability of your promotions, table turn times, and more. Armed with this data your clients can make smarter, more informed business decisions that better support business growth.
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.
Loyalty programs are great for drawing in customers and encouraging repeat business. They’re also great for providing customer data. Linking loyalty program data with guest databases identifies VIP guests and makes sending targeted marketing messages and promotions as easy as running a report.
Integrating technology into marketing efforts can help your clients provide more personalized messaging to customers, connecting with them on a deeper and more personal level to learn about them. Personalization is a critical component to marketing, so it’s important to offer solutions that accommodate this.
Technology can also be used to automate marketing, allowing restaurant owners to stay top-of-mind by sending customized emails, texts, promotions, and more.
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:
Technology doesn’t just improve the customer experience—it improves the work experience for your employees. New technology is being developed every day to help make it easier for serving, cooking, managing, and entering orders. These innovative tools allow employees to perform better.
Now that labor costs are on the rise and unemployment rates have dropped, restaurant owners are scrambling to fill positions quickly, keep them filled longer, and do it without breaking the bank. Using restaurant technology to cut costs and improve working conditions for employees will help your clients retain not only employees, but profits, too.
Restaurants that don’t offer the productivity tools that the competition offers are more likely to lose their staff to the competition. With such high turnover within the hospitality industry, it’s crucial that your clients can create a competitive environment for new and existing talent.
Technology is taking over the industry simply because it’s working. It’s effective. It fills a need that wasn’t previously solved. Restaurant tech, whether it’s a new payment processor or an entire point of sale and kitchen display system upgrade, has shown considerable ROI for restaurants of all types.
Some restaurant owners aren’t adopting these solutions because they don’t offer instant gratification and major savings right out of the gate. Instead, they work like any investment, by making small improvements over time and allowing those to build up. Saving a few seconds per order, small increases in check sizes, and slightly faster table turns may seem inconsequential when you look at them individually, but in the grand scheme of things, these lead to significant changes in profit margins.
Advanced technology can do even more than that. Now, clients can leverage upselling and cross-selling capabilities, boost communication between front- and back-of-house, and send more personalized marketing messages to customers, which all leads to greater success.
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.
The SkyRocket Group has been helping resellers convey the right messages that reach the right audiences for well over a decade. Our skilled professionals have a deep understanding of what it takes to build a strategy for your brand, get your message out there, and bring your customers into the digital age. For more information, contact us today!