If you run a restaurant, cafe, or another eatery, then you’ll have no doubt faced some unique challenges in the wake of the pandemic and had to think creatively to stay afloat during the periods of lockdown.
As things begin to get back to normal, it’s more important than ever to find new audiences, retain loyal customers, and find slicker, more cost-effective ways of working that don’t come at the cost of quality and service.
This is where tech comes into play. In this post, we’ll be looking at the top 5 pieces of tech that can make a real difference to how well your restaurant operates and to your bottom line.
So, from digital inventory tracking to POS systems to AI customization tools, the future looks bright…and delicious. Here are our picks of the tech you need that’ll boost both customer experience and revenue.
Digital Inventory Tracking
Many restaurants are now saving money, time, and resources by using digital inventory tracking tools. As well as cutting back on waste, this method can also be deployed to track the various raw ingredients of different dishes based on shipments due to be received, so you can plan your menus accordingly.
Digital inventory tracking means that a restaurant is much less likely to unexpectedly run out of specific ingredients – and to subsequently experience the loss of revenue that can occur if a popular item on the menu is suddenly not available for your guests to order.
Some digital inventory tracking software incorporates an automatic ordering facility, too, meaning that as soon as the system detects that a certain supply item or ingredient is running low, an order to the supplier will automatically be generated.
A POS (point of sale) system covers all of the processes a business uses to process customer transactions; it can include both the physical equipment, such as the till and card readers, as well as eCommerce elements that are present.
Choosing a POS system that’s been specifically designed for use in the restaurant industry could revolutionize your systems and make everything run more smoothly. Handheld readers can be used tableside by serving staff, so they don’t need to return to the kitchen to process payments, other software can be integrated to run alongside the system, and it can be used to generate extensive reports to help you make the best business decisions possible.
The best POS system for restaurants allows for order customization that can be used to set up and run a loyalty scheme, and to manage promotions and customer outreach campaigns, to get the maximum bang for your buck.
This is one vital bit of tech you’ll need to ensure your restaurant runs slickly. Scheduling software can be used to manage to staff, meaning that it prevents situations whereby you’re overpaying as a result of having too many staff on shift – or risking frustrated guests by having too few.
The best thing about this tool is that it can automate the whole employee scheduling process, meaning you’ll never get caught out, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your restaurant is always adequately staffed without needing to spend hours poring over manual rotas.
Restaurants are also increasingly using apps that facilitate short-term, last-minute hires when a shift suddenly needs to be covered.
Use of Apps
Most restaurant owners know the importance of having a high-quality website, and now more and more are getting on board with their own mobile apps, too. Creating an app is easy with the new app builders on the markets, which, as with website builders, allow even those with no prior experience to design a high-quality, multi-functioning app and get it up and running.
Apps are great for, among other things, increasing the speed of service, enhancing guests’ experience, promoting loyalty, and driving repeat customs.
Incorporation of AI
Front-of-house, AI-supported ordering kiosks are becoming more common, while, in the kitchen, AI-enabled tech can help to optimize delivery processes by helping delivery drivers to find the best and fastest routes while keeping customers updated on the status of their orders.
AI is changing the face of all industry fields, and the restaurant sector is no different. McDonald’s will soon introduce AI-facilitated customized menus to its drive-throughs. This means that menus will be tailored according to factors, including trending items, restaurant traffic, and even the weather. Once this rolls out and becomes widely available, some form of this AI customization tool is expected to be used by restaurants as standard.