When thinking about the new technologies in a restaurant, one would name some more efficient ovens, an economical dishwasher or an up-market coffee machine. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, as a result of the latest restaurant technologies the business is more digital and omnichannel than one could ever expect.
First of all, it is a common mistake to think about the restaurant as a business that is solely about eating. It is, but not wholly. According to the restaurant.org data, 52% of consumers spend money on the experience rather than on the food itself.Thus it can be surmised that the quality of the food is only one of many aspects that when combined correctly result in customer satisfaction.
As a result, a huge emerging restaurant technology industry has been built to support owners in their goal to deliver a first-class customer experience. Our recent text about restaurant trends 2020 names three key restaurant technology trends:
- Digital kiosks
- Social media
- Food delivery marketplaces
However naming the trend is one thing, demonstrating how technology is changing this established and ever-present industry is an entirely different story. So let’s take a look at these revolutionary restaurant technologies. Firstly, how does technology affect restaurants?
These changes are already seen and appreciated by customers – 73% of them believe that technology adds more to their dining experience. This is certainly not about a brand new dishwasher – the customers barely notice such changes apart from the tidiness and clean plates.
It is about online media and digital devices that transform the business in many forms. Modern customers have precise expectations of the modern dining experience. It is about:
Making it fast
Waiting is frustrating, unproductive and dull. We have written more about that in our blog post about why queuing is bad for business. Just to recall some facts:
- People are unwilling more than 14 minutes
- Business lose up to 75% of their customers due to waiting times
Modern companies have multiple ways to tackle the problem, with digital kiosks being one of the most available and convenient options. More about the device itself and the change it brings to the restaurant can be found in our “What is a kiosk” blog post – a more comprehensive piece about this technological trend in the hospitality industry.
Another way is to take the queue out of the restaurant with online restaurant ordering system or digital apps that enable the customer to pay in advance and drop-in only to take the order with little to no waiting.
Making it convenient
Another facet of such swiftness and convenience is also supported by technology. A traditional way of placing order near the servicing desk or with the waiter is outdated at the very least, if not antiquated.
In fact, online reservation technology, (not to be confused with online ordering software) is one of the most important features as indicated by 54% of restaurant guests. With this in mind it is also worth noting that 54% of millennials believe that self-ordering provides a better experience, when compared to interacting with a cashier or waiting staff. Younger generations are used to both online UX experiences polished by a million specialists around the world and touchscreens that most of them have in their pockets.
So the most convenient way is a fully automated one, provided with digital displays. This is a popular way that restaurants use technology to deliver a better customer service.
Making it omnichannel
People use social media, the internet, mobile devices and a plethora of other technologies and solutions. A restaurant owner cannot pretend anyother way. The business needs to be omnichannel not because it is fancy and fashionable, but because customers already are omnichannel and the business must keep up.
Need proof? Here it is:
- 73% of customers use Facebook in their retail or restaurant decisions
- 90% of guests research a restaurant before going there
- 12,5% post a review about the restaurant after the meal
- 44% of consumers note that they used a restaurant website or an app to place a food order
A digital; kiosk is one of the most obvious tools to start infusing the restaurant business with the omnichannel experience. We have written about this in our blog post about building the omnichannel restaurant.
Making it fun.
Dining is not just about eating – for 90% of consumers going to a restaurant is enjoyable. Also, 40% of consumers see restaurants as a part of their lifestyle.
Dietary restrictions have been a part of personal beliefs since the dawn of time with faiths like Hinduism promoting vegetarianism or Jewish and Muslim religions forbidding the consumption of pork.
Following this path – food is a part of cultural heritage and people wish to experience it as much as they do with music, dance and other arts. According to the restaurant.org data, 67% of consumers say their favorite flavors are those that they can’t replicate at home. Also, there has been a 149% increase in the number of orders of fermented foods in US restaurants, be that kimchi or pickled cucumbers. Finally, 79% of millennials enjoy experimenting with products from various cultures and countries.
The key is delivering detailed (also nutritional) information about the product -high-quality images and all the necessary information about ingredients. Therefore, restaurant digital signage and online solutions are a solid choice. They are increasingly popular and enrich the experience, even when we think of a fast food restaurant, digital signage is a powerful tool.
Make it available
Last but not least, dietary restrictions can be both voluntary – due to moral or philosophical reasons – or imposed by a health condition, like an allergy. Delivering information about the product is crucial to make the restaurant more inclusive.
Also, machines are indifferent, they don’t judge the dietary choices and behaviors of other people. A digital kiosk doesn’t care if the customer is young, old, fit, obese or looks different. Using technology (a digital signage restaurant menu for example) empowers restaurants to reach new audiences, even those who are anxious.
More information about solutions that enable restaurants to reach customers in a smarter way can be found in our blogpost about restaurant digital signage software.
Apparently, the digital revolution in restaurants was a silent one and came after the customers who changed their behaviour due to socio–economic factors. The hospitality business transformed into an experience-based model – Although 72% of diners visit the restaurant due to the food quality, it is the main motivation only for 48% of them.
So less than half of customers are there solely for the food!
If you want to hear more about the ways technology is changing the restaurant industry, just drop us a line. We would love to hear from you!