Fully automated restaurants certainly do seem to be the stuff of sci-fi movies, but reality is there’s no holding back with Canadian restaurants bracing all types of new technology to assist in their daily operations. From smart ovens that cook dishes to perfection, and table top hubs where customers can order food and drinks, technology is creeping in quickly to all areas of businesses.
Finding new ways for technology to assist in the restaurant industry has increased considerably over the last few years. When COVID struck, the restaurant industry was impacted hugely; new ways of working had to be quickly found for businesses to continue operations. Contactless ways for customers to order and be served food became the norm. Now the pandemic has mostly passed, new technology is further needed to help bridge the gap caused by the labour shortages being experienced.
Much of the new technology introduced over the last few years has proven to be highly popular with restaurant customers who prefer more streamlined, barrier-free services, where they can take more control. Below we look at a handful of these new technologies and why they are making a bit hit with both customers and restaurant owners…
Ordering Hubs and Consoles
These have become highly popular with fast food style eateries. Customers can quickly key in and personalize their orders via an interactive ordering hub and then pay up front. When the order is ready, counter staff simply hand over the packaged meal. It’s quick and easy and puts customers in control of ordering exactly what they want.
A similar concept is also being used in full-service restaurants where consoles are located on tables. The console provides customers with a complimentary service to what servers provides; for example, drinks and starters can be ordered by customers straight away, and further drinks even ordered too. Some consoles are also equipped with entertainment features that can be purchased at an additional cost, which is great to keep kids occupied as parents relax and eat.
Beverage dispensers can now be found at many restaurants, and are highly popular with customers who are more than happy to help themselves to drinks whenever they want. This technology also greatly helps to reduce server’s time in taking and processing repeat drink orders. Some types of beverage dispensers used behind the counter can automatically process and prepare drink orders taken by servers, which again speeds up preparation and delivery time.
The two dimensional barcode box, known as a QR code, has fast become a standard fixture at many restaurants. Often stuck onto table tops, a QR code can be scanned using a mobile phone in order to provide instant access to menus. There’s no need for printed menus handed out by a server, and it’s far more hygienic.
QR codes can also be printed out on final bills, which allows customers to again scan using their phone, and then pay for the meal they’ve had. This contactless technology fits in well with customers who are well versed in using their phones to access information instantaneously and make payments.
How would like a robot delivering your meal to your table? Robot servers can be programmed with restaurant floor plans and then used to directly move food from the kitchen to seated customers. It’s still perceived as quirky and novel technology, but customers seem to love the idea!
Behind the scenes in the kitchen, robot technology is being used in different areas to help speed up operations. For example, smart ovens have the facility to cook different types of food to perfection, and there are even robots that can take on the task of washing up dishes.
Is this technology for you?
Whilst technology may not be for every style of restaurant, certain elements of it can certainly be accommodated in certain restaurant functions in order to enhance operations. If your restaurant is thinking of taking the plunge and investing in some of this exciting technology, a word of advice – take it slowly! The majority of customers may be up for change, but introducing too much too soon could well have a negative impact on your business.
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.