In today’s modern world, technology continues to evolve and impact all fields of business, including the restaurant industry. In recent times, more restaurants are implementing the use of technology to adapt to a growing digitized world and tech-savvy customers. According to the National Restaurant Association study, 83 percent of restaurant owners have installed POS (Point of Sale) systems, and that approximately 40 percent of restaurants have online ordering available.
Embracing new technology is a way for restaurants to keep up with competition and expand their business. For instance, social media like TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have a very significant impact on promotion and advertisement. The use of technology has especially become more prevalent in these uncertain times, where more restaurants incorporate technology to better facilitate customers’ safety.
An Online Presence
Nowadays, many restaurants are taking advantage of the internet to reach out to consumers. Restaurants that have their website allow customers to look up the restaurant address and available branches, events or promos, and most importantly, the menu. Social media has become a very influential form of marketing for restaurants as not only does it enable establishments to engage with their customers, but it also expands their presence online when customers share pictures or give reviews. And with an online presence also makes way for online ordering, which has become a staple part of every business. With most people owning smartphones or having busy schedules, and especially staying at home, ordering online is a fast and convenient method of buying their food. They can order food from restaurants from the restaurant’s website or use third-party apps such as UberEats.
Kiosks for Self-Service
Self-order kiosks allow customers to place and customize their orders with easily browsed interfaces. Customers even have the option to pay through it using credit cards or near-field communication (NFC) payments. With self-ordering kiosks, they help reduce those long waiting times and make taking orders less stressful for waiting for staff. Its added benefit also comes with giving the customer control over the ordering process and minimizes the interaction between the customer and employee to better practice social distancing. Self-ordering kiosks have been rising in popularity, especially for fast-casual restaurants and quick service chains, with McDonald’s being a well-known example. Meanwhile, other restaurants provide menu tablets that they leave on tables as another form of self-service for customers.
Mobile Apps for Reduced Contact
Mobile applications have become a staple addition in the restaurant industry due to the advantageous services for restaurant owners and customers. Mobile apps can allow customers to place orders for either a pick-up or delivery, as well as be able to make payments through their phone. Additionally, it can also allow customers to keep track of their orders and provide accurate information as they wait for the delivery in their homes. Mobile apps have also become useful in promoting social distancing in restaurants, such as using table ordering apps that lets customers browse menus and make their transactions from the safety of their tables. Restaurant reservation apps also exist to give customers an easier way to book a table reservation in a restaurant without having to interact with staff. As sometimes there are customers who don’t want their phones to be overloaded with too many applications, some would recommend using QR codes for transactions instead.
Contactless Transaction with QR Codes
Though QR codes initially had their obscure uses in business, they have become a tremendous asset with the arrival of the pandemic to safely provide information with lessened physical interactions. They can facilitate distancing by allowing customers to view the menu by scanning them with a camera phone. QR codes can be displayed at the front of your store, at the counter, or at tables that allow safe distance between customers and employees. Aside from menus, they can also be used to show information about your restaurant, including delivery and takeout, to any potential customers who are passing by. QR codes can provide customers an easier method to book a reservation for your restaurant even when it’s physically closed and can also reduce crowding when used as an online waiting list. It informs and updates customers who are waiting in line from a distance.
The Use of POS Systems
Point of Sale or POS systems are starting to become a growing trend for restaurants. They’re widely used for tracking sales, cash, inventory, and receipts. They can also be used to manage employees by tracking their work performance, and it makes communication between the employees and the kitchen easier.
Touchscreen terminals are also a form of modern POS technology powered by POS software, with the previously mentioned self-serving kiosk also being an interface that uses the POS. Meanwhile, kitchen display screens (KDS) are devices that receive orders through POS and are an efficient digital alternative to the usual ticket printers that make kitchen staff view and process orders faster. It enables customers to pay and tip with just a tap on the screen, which makes ordering faster when in front of the counter. Handheld POS systems, such as mobile or tablet POS systems, also exist and employees can use them to take orders and payments straight from the table rather than going back and forth with the check.
Thanks to continuously developing technology, there are many ways to make businesses more efficient. With new technological innovations, even restaurants can evolve and give improved services to their customers. And especially with the presence of the pandemic, technology proves how beneficial it is by assisting restaurants and customers with convenient methods so they can order and enjoy their food while staying safe.