Every year the electronic/technology industry tries to “wow” us with the latest and greatest new gadgets and devices. The restaurant technology industry is no different.
With Point of Sale systems getting more affordable and gathering more information almost every new restaurant today is using some kind of POS System.
While all of this information and technology is great for restaurant accountants, managers and owners, it is the guest who must benefit from any new technology. What good is it to be able to flood the kitchen with orders from ten different terminals but the cooks can’t keep up?
In a recent article 1 it was reported that Applebee’s will be installing touch-screen ordering systems to their restaurants, beginning in March of 2014, at each table in the restaurant.
So what you have is a POS terminal for each table that enables the guest to control when they order. What is unknown is how well it will work when you have a full house ordering simultaneously.
The concept is to let the guest have more influence over their dining experience. Technology is enabling customers to order from their mobile devices and even see what the waiting time is at the most popular establishments.
The upside of restaurant technology is being able to communicate with potential customers about reservations, specials and other pertinent information that will help them to decide where and when to eat.
Younger people today are accustomed to using their mobile devices for autonomous and anonymous communication. They rely less and less on person-to-person exchange for daily decisions and purchases.
So the restaurant that can offer everything via the internet and mobile apps will beat out the competition through convenience alone.
More restaurant accounting is done through the “cloud”. Many restaurant accounting software programs no longer reside on the restaurant owner’s computer but, instead, are located on a server far away.Accounting and managing can also be done remotely using secure applications and mobile devices.
Restaurants that offer catering or carry out services are finding out that they must use online ordering and mobile apps in order to compete. The technology allows ordering from various social media platforms and gives confirmation of the order instantly.
Menus and specials can be changed daily or as needed to stay current. The use of “Mobile Wallets”, the ability to pay using your smart phone, is becoming more common. Frequent diner points can also be monitored using the mobile wallet.
Restaurant technology can make managing and accounting for restaurants easier but the real advantage is when it is easier for every customer to use. Not everyone embraces all of the technology. There will always be a need for human interaction.
There is no substitute for a well-trained server offering genuine information about an order or special of the day with a smile on her face. When it comes to adding or upgrading restaurant technology you need to define the benefit to the guest first, before buying any system.
1Applebee’s to roll out tablets at all U.S. restaurants By Lisa Jennings. Dec. 3, 2013 http://nrn.com/technology/applebee-s-roll-out-tablets-all-us-restaurants