Technology is coming to the restaurant industry. I know, this may seem like a strange statement, because it feels like it’s been here forever. The restaurant industry was an early adopter of #RestaurantTech with digital reservation systems and touch screen ordering. However, technology adoption had an abrupt halt with that early pioneering spirit. Now restaurateurs have picked their heads up and realized there is an onslaught of technologies they must learn in order to benefit their businesses.
Website management and social media have made the restaurateur’s job more complicated. Many of these new technologies are foreign to the myriad skills needed to successfully manage a restaurant over the past 100 years or so.
Restaurant Recession to Tech Outbreak
There is a paradigm shift coming and those companies not particularly well situated could and will be left in the dust. This is already starting to happen. There is growing buzz of a restaurant recession looming dark over the industry. Restaurant groups lacking the insight and efficiencies that technology brings will be left behind. Technology has an amazing capability to even the playing field, cut costs, improve processes, bring people together and enrich the carefully curated dining experience. As the National Restaurant Association states in Technology isn’t just for millennials, as 56 percent of consumers aged 45 - 64 have used technology in restaurants. Everybody uses tech now.
There is a paradigm shift coming and those companies not particularly well situated could and will be left in the dust.
According to a survey by American Express, Mapping The Restaurant Technology Landscape in 2016, Four in five restaurant operators agree that:
- Technology helps increase sales
- Technology makes their restaurant more productive
- Use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage
However, operators say there are significant barriers to adopting technology:
- 63 percent Cost of implementation
- 50 percent Lack of Infrastrcture
- 49 percent Service and repair
- 49 percent Per transaction/usage costs
- 48 percent Customer acceptance
- 44 percent Staff training
When many restaurateurs think of Restaurant Technology, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the POS system. A close second would be the reservation system. Maybe they are on top of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds or the task has been allocated to someone else.
In addition to POS systems, social media, reservations systems and websites, there is the typical software most restaurant business offices use. This can range from credit card processing through coupons or deal companies, and then mobile and online ordering platforms to choose from. Finally there are accounting, inventory and payroll programs typical to any business. The kitchen also has its own set of technology to manage ranging from ticketing/qeueing systems and ordering screens through food and beverage purchasing and even automatic food prep systems.
Emerging restaurant technology includes the “Internet of Things.” The internet of things has already made its way into many restaurants without anyone noticing. Wireless sound systems and lighting controlled via smartphones are perfect examples. Augmented reality and immersive technology hit the world in a big way when Pokemon Go was launched. Savvy restaurants in appropriate sectors figured out how to lure Pokemon players to their establishment. Over the next five years drones will deliver our food. Lastly, and very new to the #RestaurantTech scene will be chatbots. Chatbots can help anywhere from placing online orders to paying for meals. Every day, it seems there's a new product or service entering this arena.
#RestaurantTech is designed to make dining a better experience for guests, while hopefully decreasing costs and improving business operations for the restaurateur. It may take some time to get there, but the revolution has begun.