Is Technology Sitting at the Heart of your Restaurant?
In a time where technology infiltrates every aspect of our daily lives – from work to travel to even inside our homes, there still seems to be something a bit more traditional about the act of dining at a restaurant. Possibly, the placing down of phones and other personal devices and actively participating in conversation with others means that it is one of the last places left where the central focus of the activity is communicating face to face.
However, this does not mean that the restaurant industry is still sitting in the dark ages when it comes to how tables are filled and orders are placed. As times change, the public now expects a more tech-savvy dining experience, while still enjoying the initial three pillars that most restaurants base their reputation on – excellent food, an inviting environment and efficient, professional service.
The adoption of technology is now happening before the patron even enters the establishment. There is a presence of various apps that when you book your table at a restaurant online and log in via a social media portal like Facebook or Twitter, your details are used in order to customise your dining experience according to a possible special day that you are celebrating. Apps like Reserve can collate your information and treat you accordingly (say for example, bring you a free dessert for your birthday without asking). Apps like these can also send you a message when your table is ready or even store information for locals, making it easier for them to order “the usual” if they have been loyally visiting that establishment for years.
Once seated, we are now experiencing more than a simple text-only menu with little to no explanation of ingredients or preparation. Digital signage menu boards and software (such as solutions like PageMan) present each food item meticulously prepared and presented to you in order to tantalize your taste buds. And owing to the fact that we live in a visually stimulated society, you really do “eat with your eyes” before the plate even reaches your table.
Gone are the days of waitrons scribbling down shorthand instructions with the possibility of a wrong order being sent through to the kitchen. Advanced point of sale solutions means that menu items are previously loaded and quickly rung up, and additions and substitutions can now be taken without the fear of being eyeballed by the person serving you.
For those not wanting to wait at a table for their order, the rise of online ordering solutions lets you order and collect without a hassle. Apps like ToGo from TallOrder allow you to select your menu items and pay with a few clicks, and then receive a notification when your food is ready for you to collect, making your phone or desktop your new digital menu and credit card rolled into one.
Once you have enjoyed (or despised) your restaurant experience, the use of technology does not stop there. Online reviews are written on various websites in a complimentary or scathing manner, and these reviews are taken into consideration by peers before they book a table for that same establishment – such is the restaurant circle of life.
Oh, and do not forget social media – the birthplace of food-orientated public rants, where the public will take to these platforms to praise, post pictures of or alternatively, complain about a restaurant experience that according to them, changed their life (for the better or worse).
The examples above show that however hesitant restaurant owners may be, adopting the above technological advancements will not only help you offer an even better service, but also establish and retain great relationships with your customers (if you keep them happy). And regardless of our adoptions of technology, there is still nothing better than word of mouth recommendations.
If you are interested in implementing a point of sale software solution in your restaurant or you would like to display menu items and specials on screens using digital signage technology, email CloudOne.mobi at email@example.com or call us on +27 (0) 72 863 0116.