Implementing new technology in the restaurant industry is no different than any other in that it requires a plan of action. The pace of technology might have you overwhelmed and unfocused too. It’s easy to be distracted by the shiny and new elements of the technology industry instead of looking at its purpose, your goals and the ROI you’re looking for.
Technology now touches every aspect of your operations, and you have to decide what kind of adopter you’re going to be as a franchiser, restaurant group or restaurant owner. If you’re looking to upgrade or implement entirely new technologies, there are a few particularly relevant solutions for restaurants in 2018: business intelligence solutions and systems integration.
It is easy to be distracted by the shiny new elements of tech instead of looking at its purpose, your goals and the ROI you’re looking for.
Big data is the other buzzword you’re likely to have heard recently. Through technology, you have access to a much more thorough picture of your customers and their behaviors. Business intelligence is what will help you visualize and understand that picture better. Business intelligence solutions that gather data from various aspects of the franchise or restaurant give leaders a new perspective on their business.
Take data from mobile interactions for ordering, loyalty programs and more. The average American consumer spends around 10-12 hours a day on some form of a digital device. Of that, they spend five hours collectively on a smartphone. This is gold for businesses in general and for restaurants, it’s no different. The data gathered will not only give better insight on who their patrons are, but what future campaigns can be run to drive in more traffic and revenue. Using systems like these also provides insight into popular items, a way to track and predict demand and ultimately, reduce food waste to improve profits.
Business intelligence for staff monitoring and training can also be very impactful. You will be able to see who your rockstar servers are that know how to upsell the appetizers and desserts. Those performers can be empowered with this information to train and teach others as well. On the flip side, you’ll have hard numbers on who may not be great at the front of the house and might be better suited for a kitchen role.
Technology isn’t just giving you more information more quickly. Consumers are looking for ease and speed in their experience with you as well. If restaurants can provide fast and easy ways to engage, repeat business is a likely response to that. For example, bots remove common barriers to conversation and provide customer support in reservations and ordering. With automatic responses from bots, businesses can increase customer satisfaction while maintaining a positive brand reputation and freeing up staff for more important and complex tasks.
Technology now touches every aspect of your operations, and you have to decide what kind of adopter you’re going to be as a franchiser, restaurant group or restaurant owner.
When you think of applications for performance improvement, delivery tracking technology might come to mind. It’s an important feature for you and for your customer. Business intelligence can do much more for performance improvement though. These systems can unveil seasonal trends you might not have noticed before, demographic and patron information you haven’t had access to, or places to maximize sales based on server/employee performance.
Say the system could track regulars for you, their order history, and tie it to the mobile loyalty program to make it easy for them. Servers could be provided information on that patron to tailor the dining experience, offer a last-minute perk or reward, and more. This level of service and more can be tracked and analyzed to monitor employee performance, identifying your very best for improved training practices that pull from experience on the floor.
Now that you have or are considering different solutions, it’s time to look at systems integration. Chances are you’re running various custom and plug-and-play technologies to gather the information and make these offerings to your patrons. This year, it’s important to look at how you might integrate all of these in one custom platform. This allows for gaps in data in be filled in and gives you the 360 degree, birds eye view you are looking for.
Integrating your systems allows for improved reporting that intertwines data from all aspects of the business to create overall business operations. When you can share information amongst the entire business, you can create a better customer experience. Additionally, you have full visibility to empowers leadership with information needed to make well-informed decisions.
Technology is a win for all stakeholders involved in the restaurant – patrons, staff, and investors. It makes the franchise or restaurant attractive to future franchisees or buyers as well. It’s an opportunity to stand out and ensure any opportunities that bring change can be taken on with smooth transition. If you’re looking for more information on business intelligence, this white paper details more information about implementing it in your business.