Over the past decade and since the covid-19 pandemic, the food service and restaurant industry has changed rapidly due to new restaurant technology and the evolution of consumer preferences. Restaurant guests have changed how they eat, what they eat, and where they eat.
Guests want to get their food quickly and avoid long wait times. They want options for takeout, delivery, or dining in. It’s also common for guests to want food to meet all their dietary restrictions while tasting good and living up to their expectations.
These guest preference changes have occurred alongside the boom in restaurant technology. The restaurant industry was once dominated by pen and paper. However, it’s had no choice but to keep up with the changes in restaurant tech in order to survive.
Restaurants are continuously adopting technology, but there is still room for growth. In order to continue to meet consumers’ changing preferences and run an efficient business, restaurants should continue investing in new technology. These technologies can help them stay up to date with their niche market and get ahead of restaurant industry trends, such as DTC trends, fresh produce trends, and coffee industry trends.
Let’s look at the core of what restaurant technology really is.
What Is Restaurant Technology?
Restaurant technology refers to the equipment and tools that are used on a regular basis at food establishments such as restaurants, cafes, and bars. Technology is used to help make the business process more efficient and improve customer service.
Technology is constantly changing and with the hospitality industry growing and becoming more competitive, it’s essential for restaurants to keep up with the latest tech trends. This includes hospitality software.
These trends can improve the guest experience, which is one of the top priorities of any restaurant. This is also why most restaurant technology is focused on improving the guest experience.
Benefits of Technology in Restaurants
Customers expect almost every part of their lives to be enhanced by technology. This is why the benefits of technology in restaurants can’t be understated. These days, customers want to have the conveniences of modern technology combined with traditional dining hospitality.
Restaurant technology is no longer considered a luxury. In fact, it affects various aspects of restaurant operations. These include kitchen management, employee scheduling, and customer service.
Some benefits of technology in restaurants include:
- Better customer experience
- More efficient restaurant operations
- Higher employee satisfaction
- Increased restaurant profit margin
- More sustainability
Key Takeaway: Incorporating restaurant technology into your restaurant can improve operations and allow you to have a better understanding of business performance.
Better Customer Experience
Restaurant technology is a crucial part of keeping guests happy these days. Restaurant inventory management systems ensure that restaurants never run out of ingredients that are essential to their menus. Due to this, customers won’t have to find out that their favorite dish isn’t on the menu.
Some restaurant operators believe that customer ordering is the most important aspect of technological development. Customer ordering functions such as digital signage, online ordering, tablets on the table, and kiosk stations are enabled by technology.
Restaurant inventory software and kitchen automation software help ensure a pleasant dining experience for guests and a smooth operating process for the staff. These tools time meals so that guests in groups get served at the same time. Additionally, special requirements like dietary differences can be recorded so guests receive what they ordered.
More Efficient Restaurant Operations
Restaurant operations can have a more streamlined and organized process with the use of kitchen automation software. Automated kitchens paired with a restaurant or bar POS system streamline the food and drink ordering process in order to reduce waste. ERP systems also ensure accuracy and efficiency with back-end operations. Understand the ERP meaning to see how such systems streamline processes.
Chefs can utilize kitchen automation software to see what needs to be cooked and when to have the food ready. This information is useful as it impacts the time guests wait for their meals. Streamlining kitchen operations reduces the table turn in restaurant businesses.
When it comes to communication between the front of house and back of house staff, things can get tricky, especially when it’s busy. Restaurant technology and kitchen automation software alleviate confusion through functions such as order status. This can reduce the amount of shouting that the house staff and chefs have to do.
Higher Employee Satisfaction
Investing in restaurant technology can improve employee satisfaction and boost morale. This can be done through workforce management software, for example. It will allow you to make wise decisions in regards to staffing.
Automated staff scheduling provides employees with their schedules ahead of time which gives them the opportunity to plan their lives outside the workplace. It also allows employees to swap shifts in advance with other staff members. This is another way for restaurants to streamline communication.
Increased Restaurant Profit Margin
Restaurant technology can boost revenue. Tech-enabled tables are a common type of restaurant technology trends that allows customers to place orders right from their table whenever they want. It's possible to keep track of inventory and calculate inventory turnover to determine profits.
With kitchen automation software, the ordering process is simplified and streamlined which allows restaurants to accommodate more customers. This is especially handy during busy hours when providing speedy service is crucial.
Consumers are becoming more and more health-conscious and are interested in environmental issues. Restaurants can utilize technology, like restaurant QR code menus, to make their establishments more sustainable and competitive. This can be done through:
- Tax credits. Your business can qualify for tax credits if you use refrigeration that has certain energy star ratings.
- Cost savings. Your restaurant’s energy bill can decrease because your equipment will consume less energy.
- Environmental help. Energy-efficient equipment reduces water usage and greenhouse gases.
How Has Technology Changed Restaurants?
Technology has definitely made its mark on the restaurant industry. It has changed the way restaurants adapt to new challenges and how they operate as a whole. Successful restaurants in today’s world have to be able to adapt quickly.
Here are some ways that technology changed restaurants:
- Mobile ordering
- New payment options
- Online reviews
New Payment Options
New payment options have been introduced thanks to technology such as POS systems. Restaurants now accept payments online, contactless payments through smartphone apps and QR codes. These payment options grew even more popular during COVID-19 because they eliminate the need for physically touching objects and speed up the buying process.
With the right restaurant POS system or food truck POS, you can speed up the entire payment process. A mobile POS system and the right POS software allow you make payments on the go or tableside. Look into how to choose a POS system so that you get the right POS report for your business.
Consumers have a lot of control over the restaurant industry through online reviews. A bad experience can turn away new and potential customers. Restaurants have to step up their food quality, service, and cleanliness to ensure positive experiences all around.
Online reviews aren’t just the ones that are found on the restaurant's website or on their Google My Business listing. They also include all kinds of comments, videos, and photos posted on social media.
How Can Technology Improve Restaurant Operations?
Back-of-house and front-of-house technologies help restaurants accomplish various goals. Some of these goals include:
- Employee performance
- Digital food safety
- Team accountability
Restaurant owners can ensure that orders are accurate and service is friendly. They’ll also work on training and equipping employees with the necessary tools through the use of back-of-house digital software. These tools improve employee performance through digital checklists, scheduling tools, and online training hubs.
Digital Food Safety
Digital food safety helps prevent food safety disasters while also improving food quality. There are digital tools that help restaurants serve fresh and hot food.
These tools have features such as automated temperature monitoring, quick temperature probes, as well as food and date labeling. This makes it easy for restaurants to comply with all food health regulations and guidelines.
Teams can be held accountable for their work through digital tools. Tasks are recorded and tracked through analytics that the management team can view reports on. This allows restaurants to evaluate their team and hold them accountable for the quality and consistency of their work.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Technology
What Is the Definition of Restaurant Technology?
The definition of restaurant technology refers to tools and equipment that are used for food establishments like restaurants, bars, and cafes. This kind of technology helps streamline processes including ordering and customer service.
What Technology Is Used in Restaurants?
The technology that is used in restaurants includes:
- Point of sale or POS systems
- Customer relationship management or CRM systems, including ones to track a loyalty program
- Contactless ordering and payment systems
- Waitlist management systems
- Reservation platforms
- Kitchen automation systems
What Is the Importance of Technology In the Restaurant Industry?
Technology is important to the restaurant industry because it enables restaurant staff to provide guests with exceptional service. Staff can suggest and also upsell items. Restaurant technology also makes it possible for guests to self-order through self ordering kiosks.