Restaurants are no longer just about a place to go grab a bite. Today, restaurants are all about the experience. The dynamic customer of the 21 st century is looking to be served, and how! This is the smartphone generation and they want to see the new technology they use integrated into their dining experience, especially if it will speed up the process of getting their meal or paying their bill.
The hospitality industry is innovating with great traction, with restaurant technology systems that help make everyday operations easier for both guests and restaurants. The two pain points among customers – ordering & reservations – have been addressed well by technological innovations that promise to make life easier for everyone.
Ordering made Easy
With new & improved online ordering platforms, restaurants can manage patrons’ requests as they deliver hot, fresh meals to their doorsteps. With an online ordering technology, customers can specify exactly what they want in their meals making the ordering process streamlined, efficient and accurate. This ultimately saves time, which can translate into faster deliveries and better customer service. Thanks to smart devices, there are more than one ways for a customer to place an order:
- Mobile ordering: With an ever increasing smartphone user base, it makes perfect sense for restaurants to create mobile apps to enable faster ordering for their customers. Fast food chains such as Domino’s, KFC and Pizza Hut are already at the forefront.
- Facebook ordering: Social media is a powerful tool to reach your target audience, so why not crank it up a notch, and enable ordering too? Facebook payment integration provides a fairly low-cost add-on to make, and it has the potential to grow sales significantly.
- ‘Self service’ menus: Interactive I-pad menus provide restaurant owners with opportunities to improve operational efficiency, including reducing the number of servers required to take customer orders, and limiting the amount of wasted inventory, while giving complete autonomy to the customer.
- Online coupons: Digital discount coupons or vouchers are immensely popular with diners, and restaurants are cashing in on the opportunity with portals such as Groupon or Dineout
Why is it that some of the best restaurants end up in chaos when it comes to reservations? Irked customers haggling over their bookings with the concierge is a common sight outside popular eating joints. It’s time to bid goodbye to handwritten notes and hefty binders, and move on to a more streamlined platform. Smart CRM systems aid in booking reservations, providing guest data, even integrating with various POS systems, thereby helping restaurants, hotels and clubs alike to cultivate regulars and drive up sales.
- Online Reservations: Restaurants are now working hard to make their websites aesthetically appealing, reflective of real-time information including their specials and pricing. This is owing to the large number of consumers who use computers and smartphones to view a restaurant’s menus, order food and make reservations online.
- App Enabled Reservations: Smartphone use is at an all time high and restaurants are leveraging its potential by developing targeted mobile apps. Apps are a great tool to enhance customer engagement, as they allow diners to browse through a curated list of available restaurants based on neighbourhood, cuisine and vibe before making a reservation.
- Third party Reservation Services: Real-time restaurant reservation services allow restaurants to outsource the handling of reservations and give customers a convenient way to reserve a table. With features such as table management, loyalty rewards and POS integration, they can assist restaurant staff with seating customers, tracking table statuses and checking spending data by reservation and guest.
In the past decade, technology has changed by leaps and bounds in regards to innovating the many aspects of different consumer industries. Though restaurants have been slow to adapt, they have plenty of technological solutions at their disposal today, to upgrade their business to a whole new level. For restaurants that can get it right, integrating technology that makes customers happy and turns tables faster is a no-brainer.