Technology is changing the way consumers order in restaurants.
The world is becoming more and more automated and, as a result, so is the restaurant industry. Gone are the days of servers taking orders with notepads. Now, servers have digital pads to take orders and send them directly to the kitchen. Some establishments even allow consumers to order directly from their table without needing to wait to place their order with a server.
So, as technology continues to advance, how will the restaurant dining experience continue to evolve as well? Will a robot take your order?
There are several different pieces of technology available now – including everything from reservation apps to table top ordering and more.
Reservations can now be made at the tap of a button with a multitude of apps before they even get to the restaurant. Some restaurants even incentivize guests to book with them by rewarding reservations with loyalty points. This technology allows the restaurants to fit more seamlessly into the consumer’s multitasking, fast-paced lifestyle, while providing value for them.
Continuing to put the consumer in charge of their dining experience is key. Some establishments are now offering the ability to order directly from the table. Forget about sitting there waiting for the server to take your drink or app order. Simply enter your order into the table top tablet whenever you’re ready and “poof!” it’s sent to the kitchen or the bar.
But does it make sense for your establishment?
First, take a look at your guest traffic.
Do you have the volume of traffic to support the technology infrastructure? Are your guests looking for control and quick-turn service or is it more of a leisurely environment? Does it seem authentic with your establishment and the type of service you deliver? Are your guests technologically savvy? These are all good questions to ask yourself before jumping off the deep-end into the pool of technology.
It doesn’t make sense to do them all right away – you have to dip your toe in first. Start with one that you think can most immediately solve a business need.
Is your bartender also taking reservations or hostesses also bussing tables? Maybe start with a reservation or no-wait app and see if that helps improve the customer experience and service time.
Is your hostess also taking drink orders while a line of people wait at the door to put in reservations? Try starting with a table top device to send drink orders to the bar so guests get drink orders faster.
This can also help with table turn times, allowing you to increase yield. Also, because guests can put in drink orders faster, this could potentially increase check size and simultaneously shorten the length of time at the table – which may allow for faster table turnover.
Simply start off with testing the waters of what works best for your establishment and building from there. That way you can stay on top of the technology game and give your customers more control of their experience at the same time.
Gina Lee De Freitas has 15+ years marketing the restaurant industry. She is the Chief Operating Officer/ Partner at IMM, a digital ad agency.