The food and restaurant industry has taken off in recent years and, as the restrictions of the pandemic ease, the only way really is up for some of our favorite restaurant chains and the unique little eateries we love to visit.
Here are some of the advances in tech that have helped things along for the food and drink trade.
Amazing POS Systems
A POS (point of sale) system consisted of, in years gone by, a cash register and receipt roll. Barcode scanning and card machines are examples of equipment that came into the mix as things progressed, and today advanced, feature-rich POS systems have helped the food and restaurant industry become the behemoth it is today.
As well as processing, managing, and tracking both offline and online sales, a POS system can now manage your inventory and stock ordering processes, generate powerful sales reports, help streamline your accounting and staff management processes, and can help promote optimized communication between your front of house and kitchen.
For more information about POS systems for your business, have a look at this article, which includes information on the Restaurant Depot membership card; this card allows your business access to a members-only warehouse club that can provide you with both a range of POS options, as well as a multitude of food and equipment items.
It’s not just the ability to use social media to promote their businesses that have helped the industry thrive in general, but, crucially, the advanced analytic tools that these platforms provide to restaurant owners and managers.
Customer feedback, reviews, and comments are a useful way to gauge the overall response to your business and are a valuable opportunity to engage with your customers, acknowledging the positive feedback and responding to the negative. Detailed reporting tools also allow you to see, at a glance, the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategies, as well as giving you demographic information on the audience you’re attracting, so that you can see, for example, the age ranges and geographical locations of those engaging with your business.
How customers can order from their chosen eatery has undergone a revolution in recent years, with more ways for clients to complete their transactions – especially in terms of collection and take-out – than ever before. This has partly been driven by the pandemic: the need for businesses to switch to take-out only delivered food resulted in restaurants and cafes innovating or finding new ways to get their food out to customers in order to stay afloat.
Food can now be ordered remotely in a range of different ways, which continues to help the industry grow and develop. Social media platforms and apps are just two examples of new ways that customers can place orders that sit alongside traditional telephone or website ordering.
Onboarding Via Virtual Reality
In terms of staffing, tech advances have helped the food and restaurant industry to become more efficient in general, meaning that fewer resources are used, and a significant amount of money can be saved as a result. Virtual reality onboarding is proving to be vital in this regard: using special software and a headset, new staff can take a full tour of the establishment, view other employees going about their tasks, and be given the vital information that they need, without the requirement for a business to provide training staff and associated resources.
The use of VR for onboarding in the restaurant industry has been proven to be highly effective, with new staff members trained and ready to begin their duties faster than via ‘regular’ induction methods. It also guarantees a consistent approach to onboarding, with all staff being provided with the same experience and trained to the same high level.
Kiosk and Tabletop Tablets
The presence of kiosk or tabletop tablets for patrons’ use has been seen increasingly in restaurants in recent years and has been another important driver in the growth of the industry. As well as providing the customer with a convenient way to order, the big advantage of utilizing this tech is the opportunity it provides to effectively up-sell and cross-sell, thereby greatly increasing the business’s profit margins.
Over the coming years, it is expected that these tablets will incorporate facial recognition software so that they can make suggestions based on prior orders and also suggest the payment method, for example.
Digital Reservation Manager
Finally, digital reservation (or table) management software can help keep your restaurant running smoothly and your customers happy by allowing diners to book a table online; some options will also suggest seating arrangements based on the size of the party and the time they’re planning on attending.
Incorporating this software is a great way to optimize your diners’ experience; they can be notified of wait times and messaged once their table is ready; waiters will be able to see, on-screen, past customers’ favorite dishes, and whether it’s their birthday, for example. If a customer wishes to see the status of their order at any point, this information, too, can be easily provided via the system.