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Technology is Transforming the Restaurant Industry

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

The number of nationally recognized restaurants across the U.S. is more than 50 million. Annual revenues are estimated to be around $860 billion per annum roughly 4% of the country's annual spend. Industry research is proving that many restaurants are looking for technological solutions in order to satisfy not only the demands of their guest experience, but also to help with their back of house team. 73% of restaurants say the technology improves their guests' experience. 95% of restaurant owners agree technology helps improve their business efficiency. One thing is certain, restaurant technology goes with delicious food (especially fast food) like peanut butter goes with jelly!

When researching the top ways in which restaurant owners are utilizing new technology, it is important to first examine how much money they are investing into their own businesses. Industry trends show that restaurants spent an average of $35,000 per year on purchasing technology. This figure is three times higher than that of other food service establishments such as bakeries and grocery stores. Here are the top ways restaurants are investing in new tech.


Optimizing the ordering process with Online and mobile ordering

A leader in restaurant technology, Domino's realized customer preference for online ordering over calling in. Mobile applications have helped this development of the ordering process in sales and the growing digital order process. Attracted primarily by the convenience of managing order digitally the vast majority of diners believe it will become the main feature of restaurants, and one of the new pillars of restaurant technology. You may have never planned your restaurant as a delivery or takeout joint but as this hope grows you might have to leverage a service to accommodate these continually shifting consumer attitudes.

Fast Casual restaurants that utilize online ordering on their website are becoming more and more popular with diners, and restaurants love them because of the front of house ease. Industry trends show that this is a great way for restaurants to attract lunch customers and earn money while skipping the third party service fees. According to the survey, 82% of restaurant owners had successfully implemented online ordering in 2015. More than 70% plan on expanding online services further this year.

Millennials are now the largest generation in America and they're hungry. The generation born between 1980-2000 is predicted to make up 25% of all restaurant traffic by 2020, according to a study conducted by Technomic. That's why it's important for restaurants to start catering to this demographic with online and mobile ordering features!

Online ordering, which may be the most important restaurant technology, allows customers to browse menus on their smartphones while deciding where they want to eat without having to talk on the phone or wait at a counter. Mobile ordering makes it even easier because customers can order from anywhere using an app on their own device that tracks orders so there is no waiting when you arrive!

This restaurant tech is also beneficial for back-of-office purposes. With robust online ordering systems, your kitchen can better prepare food in advance and get a sense of what ingredients are needed for each dish so there's no need to mess with the inventory as often! Online ordering allows them to send out specials that were previously not available at certain times which adds to restaurant engagement. They can also receive feedback from customers instantly which helps restaurant owners adapt to their needs quicker. With the increased dining experience, its obvious why a restaurant owner should make sure to stay up to date and allow their customers to place online orders.


Self-service kiosks, restaurant owners best friend

Self-service kiosks are an increasingly popular way in the restaurant industry of reducing wait times for customers. These kiosks typically have the same menu as a traditional restaurant and provide a faster, more convenient option. The customer can order their meal by themselves and then pay at the end of their visit. This system is convenient because it eliminates the need for waiters or waitresses to take orders or bus tables during busy hours. Customers who use these self-service kiosks often enjoy how quick they are able to get in and out without having to deal with any human interaction during their time there. Self-service kiosks also allow restaurants to focus on food preparation rather than managing all aspects of customer service which can be challenging when you're trying to keep up!

Self-service kiosks also allow restaurant restaurants to focus on food preparation rather than managing all aspects of customer service which can be challenging when you're trying to keep up with a restaurant's seating capacity. When I want to go out for a meal, the last thing I want is another human being. That's why self-service kiosks are my preferred method of food service: they let me order and pay without having to interact with anyone else at all! You may think that this will make waiting times even longer because it eliminates many wait staff positions but in reality these machines actually decrease customer wait times massively. Plus, restaurant owners are then free to manage other aspects of their business and increase customer satisfaction in all areas.

Self-service ordering can increase ticket size and customer satisfaction. Order-tapping devices had already been deployed as a means of reducing the time to order for waitstaff prior to the pandemic. Self-service payments and ordering technology have similar results in post-pandemic environments. Red Robin's new handheld ordering technology — operated by its waiters — said its customer satisfaction improved. The Smith provides no QR code to order, but guests still place their meal requests with the server. A digital integration of the table reaches customers more loyal.


Loyalty programs - the stalwart of restaurant technology

Many restaurants see the need to go beyond simple advertising and put an extra step in place for customers. One way of doing this is offering a loyalty program. Loyalty programs allow customers to earn points based on their purchase activity from your store. Customers can then use these points to redeem free food or discounts on future purchases.

Loyalty programs are a great way to get customers coming back to your business. These programs are not just for retail businesses, but are increasingly being used by restaurants as well.

Loyalty programs allow customers to earn points based on their purchase activity from the store. Customers can then use these points to redeem free food or discounts on future purchase.

When restaurants include the ways customers can earn points in their loyalty program, it draws customer attention to the program. Having the details of the program written out allows customer to look at several options of what they would like to receive as a reward.These programs have been known to increase repeat customers as they gain the reward they want.

A couple suggestions to on how to increase your loyalty programs allure.

First, make sure that your loyalty is seamlessly integrate with your online ordering, your mobile app, self order kiosks, as well as any other restaurant technology you may have.

Have a sign in your restaurant with information on how to earn rewards from a loyalty program. This can go on the front of your menu or in a brochure that is passed out to customers. Encourage customers to join your rewards program from every direction!


Cloud-based POS systems

Cloud-based restaurant POS systems are emerging as more popular alternative to old-fashioned systems. The new technology is stronger reporting is better and many are equipped with an online mode that lets the system operate in case of an internet outage. The value associated with cloud-based systems is the capability to track sales server performance, menu trends and more.

When choosing a restaurant point of sales system it's important to look beyond the initial price of the software package and consider all of the factors that will affect your bottom line. Points to consider include:

Does the system track labor costs?

Do you have an accurate number of hours worked so you can control this cost category?

Can I integrate my POS system with accounting software to automate my books?

What kind of support does the POS provider offer after I purchase the system?

Do they offer free training or webinars to help me better understand how to use their software?

Using cloud based restaurant POS systems can add a new level of sophistication and value to your business. Take time to consider which features will be most beneficial for your business, then compare multiple providers so you can find the right system for your unique needs.

The restaurant industry is changing. Customers want more control, and new technology has given them the power to do so. CRISP QSR can help you find a solution that meets your needs at this pivotal moment in time as the marketplace shifts from traditional options to digital ones.

Contact us today for an evaluation of your current tech stack and how we might be able to improve it with our expertise in point-of-sale systems, food ordering software, marketing tools, kitchen management software, inventory management solutions or any other services related to running a successful restaurant business.

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