Shocking as it may seem, in 2024, there are still restaurants out there with no Instagram or POS. Restaurant tech is essential at this point. As we head into the final months of the year, it’s high time to run a checklist on your tech.
Point of Sale (POS) Systems:
It had to be number one on the list as this technology really is a must-have for any kind of restaurant. Whether you’re running a large in-house dining operation or a small coffee shop, having a POS system in place makes overall restaurant management much easier. For example, a POS system will help enhance order taking, payment processing and inventory management. It can also provide you with invaluable reports on your daily operations to help you become more efficient. TouchBistro is a Canadian company that dominates the marketplace, but there are many options. If you don’t have it yet, get it. If you do, maybe it’s time for an upgrade.
The benefits of having self-ordering kiosks really became apparent during the pandemic. They provide customers with a no contact way of browsing menus and then placing and paying for orders. This kind of technology has become commonplace at McDonalds and others. Customers have quickly embraced it. According to the NPD Group, digital ordering rose 117 percent from February 2020 through February 2022. Consumers are more knowledgeable about tech than ever before, and often prefer contactless digital channels to interacting with restaurant staff when placing an order.
Again, another technology introduced during the pandemic, digital menus provide customers with quick access to browse the types of food and drinks your venue offers using their own phone. Many restaurants provide access to their digital menus via QR codes placed on tables. Having a digital menu allows you to keep your menu items and pricing information instantly up to date and cuts the cost of printed menus. There has been plenty of pushback on ugly QR codes, but having an online portal for your menu is almost a necessity at this point.
Website and social media:
We’re talking about having a great looking website here, as well as establishing and maintaining a strong social media presence. There is something to be said for having no online presence. It’s an option, but only for the most avant garde. At this point a website and an active social media presence are de rigeur.
Food Ordering Apps:
Customers love convenience and to be able do something from the comfort of their own home using their computer, tablet or phone. They now expect all types of restaurants to provide food ordering apps where they can browse menus, book a table, place orders, pay and view their order histories. Many restaurant’s food ordering apps also help maintain customers with loyalty and rewards programs.
Kitchen Management Software:
This kind of technology can assist restaurants streamline kitchen operations. For example, with order management, a system can track each individual order from the moment it is placed, to the moment it is served, which greatly assists both front of house and kitchen staff. Kitchen management software can also help track and maintain accurate inventory levels. The technology is now frequently used to assist in food preparation and cooking coordination.
Virtual Reality Dining:
From the stuff of sci-fi movies to your plate. Virtual Reality (VR) dining provides a unique and immersive experience. The VR environment requires diners to wear VR headsets where they are transported to another world. At least that’s the aim. And while VR hopes to excite diners with an exciting culinary experience like no other, at this point it’s still a novelty.
Augmented Reality (AR) is already being used by many businesses to enhance customer experience. Hotels and resorts are the main users of this kind of thing, allowing patrons to tour their venues before they visit. AR allows brides to look at virtual table settings and have the ability to virtually walk around an event space or ballroom.
Table bookings are easily handled online and provides customers with an easy way to specify exactly what they want, from the location of the table and seating layout, to what wine should be uncorked on arrival. This technology has the power to facilitate a more enhanced, individual, and memorable dining experience. And it’s everywhere. Whether it works for you depends wholly on the kind of restaurant you’re running. QSR not so much.
Any kind of technology that can potentially help a business operate and perform better is good news. Unfortunately, so many businesses in the current climate are just trying to survive. If you’re behind on tech, there has never been a more important time to get up to date. The most powerful tool of all, social media, is totally free and has all the learning and info you need to get started already built in. The restaurant game is tough, you’ve got to use every advantage available.
CHI is dedicated to keeping up with local and national trends in the Restaurant Industry to help serve our customers better and keep them one step ahead. If you are interested in opening, purchasing, or selling a restaurant CHI Real Estate can help. Get in touch with our team today.