Owners and operators need to focus on education and expansion of the right type of management.
Restaurants are increasingly moving toward technology to run and grow their businesses. From POS systems to mobile payments, online delivery to instant ratings - restaurants have unlimited options at their fingertips. Combining technologies and creating efficiencies in the process will be a focal point for many restaurants in 2017.
Omnivore provides solutions to unify the restaurant technology space through our single API for POS systems. This means that restaurants can use one platform to participate in solutions for reservations, delivery, discovery, guest management, ordering, payment, analytics and more.
Having insight into the pain points customers experience and discovering where restaurants can find efficiencies through technology, we have outlined some of the top ways restaurants can impact growth through technology in the new year.
Best of Breed Technologies
Restaurants do things their own way. In lockstep with the diversity of their menus so are their technology requirements. No single app is a silver bullet that will work for everyone and as a result, restaurants need to be able to customize and gain access to the technologies that will work for them.
One size does not fit all. Not one company owns every technology choice a restaurant can make, no matter how great their product set. POS manufacturers are finding ways to facilitate this diversity; taking advantage of the value by facilitating these opportunities rather than trying to eliminate them.
We expect to see the continued trend of diversification in the POS systems landscape, making it even harder for third-party apps to build and support a significant addressable market. Dozens of new restaurant apps pop up every day. They need a quick, easy way to test and integrate into existing POS systems. If they aren’t able to get up and running quickly, they likely won’t be around for very long.
Data Driven Consumer Engagement
Broad target marketing is going away; expect to see more tailored consumer engagements based on consumer preferences. Amazon has done a superb job of learning what we want to buy next. The opportunity for brick and mortar restaurants to provide this similar experience is imminent.
Along with this change comes the opportunity for restaurants to find new meaningful revenue streams and higher margins through brand incentive/trade spend. Restaurants provide a platform for high-impact opportunities and experiences to drive consumers to engage, as well as convert, with new brands. This doesn’t mean turning restaurants into a Michael Bay movie with new model Chevy Camaro Transformers, but it does mean taking advantage of the experiences offered and getting paid when helping convert customers to a new brand.
We expect more brand manufacturers to work directly with restaurants to engage consumers. For example, Anheuser-Busch has a new beer that is testing positively against a competitive beer. As a customer is seated at a restaurant, the reservation system identifies and knows that they prefer the competitor’s beer. Working with Anheuser-Busch, the restaurant presents an option to try the new beer engaging the customer in real-time while they are still at the table and very likely, converting them to the new brand.
Bigger Kitchens and Fewer Tables
Off-premise dining is here to stay and kitchens are assembly lines which restaurant owners ideally want to keep running at 100-percent productivity. Popular restaurants are quickly finding that they don’t have capacity to double their orders at lunch time through a delivery channel without causing quality issues.
Restaurants will focus on improving efficiency in the kitchen to serve off-premise demand for delivery and takeout customers. This may result in building larger kitchens at current and new locations or building stand alone kitchens that will only serve off-premise customers and fill the gaps created by the standard three-to-five mile delivery radius. These stand-alone kitchens will come with less overhead and drive higher margins.
While consumption will continue to be off-premise, POS integration will be critically important to facilitate seamless integration of 3rd party sales channels required to drive demand to these locations.
Co-Mingling Technologists and Operators
As a technologist, I have seen first hand the struggle between technology and restaurant operations. Finding individuals that understand both will be a challenge, but well worth the investment.
Restaurants need to engage in multiple technology categories to remain competitive. This will result in increases to management overhead to support and maintain these technology channels. Simply put, new technology will come at restaurants fast and furiously in 2017. Owners and operators need to focus on education and expansion of the right type of management to take advantage of the opportunities and insights these new channels will provide. If they stand still and ignore these advancements, they are going to quickly fall behind.
At the end of the day, 2017 will hinge on restaurants and brands using technology to better understand the consumer utilizing data and patterns coming directly from the kitchen while the consumer is still sitting at the table. The result will be a better, higher margin customer experience.