Have you ever thought about how deploying an automated ordering system can help your restaurant? It’s a game-changer tool that allows you to streamline every operational process that you have, and ensures that everything’s done accurately.
But how does this type of restaurant solution truly improve your management? Especially now that there are a great number of third-party providers which offer an enticing deal for restaurateurs. It’ll be hard for you to determine if it’s worth the investment and resources.
There are indeed different tools and techniques you can deploy for your business. And many of which cover almost the same functionality. What will make something stand out is if it serves the main purpose plus the benefits that you want for your restaurant.
In this article, an overview of how automation of the ordering system looks like in a restaurant will be discussed. There’s a good chance that you’re leaning toward automation more than you ever imagined.
Restaurant Automation 101
Looking at how fast technology penetrates the industry, modern consumers will be expecting convenience and accuracy from your services. But how do you think you’ll offer a customized and streamline service? Yes, by having the essential customer data on hand.
It’s not surprising that plenty of restaurant owners fall into the trap of seeking help from third-party providers. Aside from being practical, it also appears that they will do every task needed to improve your operations. But the major downside of this arrangement is that you don’t have control over anything.
Once you put your restaurant on a third-party app, they control everything from restaurant placement, product placement, up to your customer’s data. Yes, most of these “partners” withhold the key to create a better service and management for your business.
This is where restaurant solutions and automation come in. If you’re worried since you don’t have enough technical training, fret not, as most of these tools are straightforward to use.
Most of the tools for automation are developed to function even in the busiest and fastest-paced environment. The developers know just how much time a restaurant staff can spare to learn everything, that’s why they make sure that it’ll be user and bustle-friendly.
Contrary to popular belief, automation in the industry offers endless opportunities for streamlined operations and increased efficiency. Establishments that adopted automation will employ lesser wait staff, which means orders can be done by self-service, minimizing labor costs, and reducing human error.
Digital food ordering automation is often misunderstood, and it is easy to overlook the benefits of an omnichannel food ordering platform. These issues need to be understood by restaurateurs, like you, so that they can reap the benefits of increased automation.
Common Misconception About Automation In Restaurants
Digital ordering food automation is closely correlated with the misconceptions about robots as modern workers. Automated operations are regarded as having negative consequences. Despite that, restaurant employees are now able to more effectively handle digital needs thanks to automation.
By adopting this method, it is expected for your service to be more accurate, customer satisfaction and engagement to grow, and your enhanced profitability contributes to boosting morale, wages, and the overall health status of your business and employees.
You should familiarize yourself with the top misconceptions about automated order processing to avoid being trapped with the same mentality.
- The Food and Service Industry is experiencing a crisis caused by automation.
- Adopting automation leads to layoffs and reduced employment.
- Coding for integration requires a long period of planning and execution.
- Costs associated with food ordering automation software are too high.
- The automation process makes it difficult to see data from third parties.
- It takes too long to achieve a return on investment.
While it may be hard to convince yourself unless you try it for your business, there are lots of providers that are willing to support your automation journey. Make sure you’ll find one who shares or understands your business goals and philosophies.
How Is Automation Applied To Restaurant Ordering Operation?
It was recently revealed that fifty-four percent of the work done in restaurants and other hospitality-related establishments can be automated. Fast-food chains are becoming increasingly interested in automation as the cost of machines falls while labor increases. Moreover, it assists in filling vacancies at fast-food restaurants as well.
A lot of industries have made huge breakthroughs due to automation innovation. With production duties relieved, they can concentrate on enhancing the customer experience by asking how food is coming and offering additional napkins. Businesses, particularly fast-food restaurants, can reduce costs and increase customer service by embracing automation.
Order and Payment Process
One of the first automation tools ever utilized by restaurateurs will be through the form of online order and payment processing. Enabling customers to complete their payment transaction online or via their mobile phones, is already a form of automation.
It increases customer satisfaction because waiting time in line will be reduced. You can also offer your customers options to place their orders online or on a mobile app. Task volume for cashiers will be greatly reduced since mobile payments will not require them to manually count coins and bills.
In addition to cutting wait times, mobile orders also reduce human error because the people who handle cash and change have less room for error.
Several food chains have already begun to maximize their order and pay operations using mobile technology: Starbucks was one of the pioneers who provided customers with the ability to order and pay for their coffee ahead of time and pick it up from their preferred Starbucks branch.
Other chains have since adopted the program because of its popularity.
How It Works
Automated online ordering systems reduce the time it takes to place and receive orders. On the shop’s website, Facebook page, or mobile app, customers can choose their meals from an interactive menu. Online orders include customizations so customers can include add-ons, just ensure they give you the accurate and complete delivery information.
Then the order is routed to your restaurant ordering system that can be accessed with any internet-connected device. The customer is immediately notified, and you receive the order instantly.
A delivery estimate is also communicated to them. If the ordering system is connected to a cloud server or a kitchen printer, the order can be printed immediately and prepared.
Hence, you and the customer save time in this manner. You can also increase the productivity of your employees. They can devote more time to other responsibilities rather than answering calls.
In addition to reducing errors in food order take-out, an automated system eliminates phone order errors. An overview of customer information and order details is shown on the screen. This type of efficiency is the main reason why fast food automated ordering systems became a rockstar.
How To Apply Automation To Other Restaurant Operations?
The ordering process is not the only area that can be improved through automation. Here are some areas in your restaurant where you can implement automated tools and programs.
Make marketing and promotion easier for you and your staff. You can now automate communication to your customers by using SMS, email, and PUSH messages. These campaigns are highly customizable, so you don’t need to worry about your campaigns appearing too generic.
You can set when and how your messages will be sent, and to which group you’ll be sending the special promotion. You must know the perfect timing to send the following to ensure its effectiveness.
You don’t need to manually collect the name, age, email address, and other contact information about your customers. While written surveys can be fun, some diners don’t find time to complete them.
If you automate how you gather customer data and build a database out of it, it’ll be easier for you to have accurate and updated data on hand. This information can be used to create promotions and menus focusing on products that your customers find most appealing. Make adjustments to your offer to take advantage of online ordering and to increase restaurant revenue.
Launching a QR menu that requires name, age, or even just the email address to access is already a data-capturing tool. You can also require your guests to provide specific information for you for them to connect with your Wi-Fi.
The dashboard keeps track of all customer information and orders. A detailed report will help you track your most frequent customers, the most popular menu items, and the menu items that cost you the most money.
Consent for marketing contact will also be required for customers who place orders through an automated ordering system. By agreeing to receive the newsletter, they will be added to a database. Real-time information is gathered and becomes yours.
These tactics allow you to capture customer data without asking for it outright. Just make sure you will add a disclaimer or an alert message stating what you will do to the data that you’re about to collect.
Transparency is highly appreciated by consumers. And it also protects your business should some conflicts arise.
Table and Self Ordering Kiosks
Another ordering process, but this time, it’s more focused on your customers. While your staff will still be responsible for ordering management, if you deploy this type of automation, you’re giving your customers to complete the ordering process (even payment) by themselves.
These kiosks are equipped with an automated table ordering system which allows customers to complete their transaction through the device. They have the option to have their orders delivered to their table or they can pick it up on the counter.
Fast-food and casual dining services are known to be patrons of this type of automation. As a result, they say, orders will be more accurate, service will be faster, and labor costs may be reduced. By eliminating the wait time for ordering more drinks and desserts, table ordering systems may increase sales.
Today’s restaurants want to communicate with millennials in their language. Keeping up with the demands of a young generation is possible through table ordering and self-ordering.
Millennials today have come to expect the convenience of this kind. At-table ordering meets the immediate needs of millennials and gives them a sense of autonomy. Customers expect self-ordering kiosks to deliver exactly what they need at the time they need it.
For tableside ordering, some restaurants used tablets. Drinks, appetizers, and desserts may be ordered using these tablets. Customers can choose whether to use them or not. They allow their guests to modify and add on to the orders themselves as they take the drinks and entrée orders.
Updating your customers will be easier through automation. Systems used by restaurants to automatically take orders allow the scheduling of SMS texts and emails to specific customers. By doing so, you build stronger relationships, which is critical if you want to develop loyal customers.
Suppose a customer hasn’t created a business with your restaurant for quite some time. Your automated tool can send a particular content of promotion within your chosen period. A product can be recommended or a discount can be offered for their next order.
Feedback and Reviews
These automated table ordering systems also offer the opportunity to play games and give feedback to your restaurant. Customers can provide real-time feedback. At the table, restaurants can offer discounts to customers who sign up for loyalty programs.
In addition, each customer will be asked about food quality, delivery service, and pricing. As a result, you will be able to collect very valuable data which will enable you to continuously improve the quality of your services.
Your dashboard of the automated online ordering platform will display all the feedback and reviews from your customers. In addition to serving as a marketing tool, they also allow you to respond to client feedback, ultimately improving the overall ordering experience.
Your restaurant staff will be able to spend more time interacting with guests if you implement an online table reservation system. Booking a table for a specific time and date in advance will be appreciated by customers.
Through a table reservation app, customers will be able to view available tables, book a table, and receive a confirmation email or SMS. They will also receive notifications about their reservations as they approach. In addition, people who are always on the go will appreciate the ability to book a table last minute.
You can inform your regular customers of any tables that may be available that night in the afternoon. Alternatively, you can offer a discount or give away their favorite menu items to entice them into making a same-day reservation.
Customers who return to a restaurant are its most valuable asset. Attracting and retaining customers is made easier with loyalty programs. It is easy to build customer loyalty with app-based loyalty programs, and they are also an effective means for retaining customers.
Additionally, you can use the automated system to create a loyalty program for your clients that collects points or stamps to their accounts. Further, it can also offer exclusive promotions and discounts based on your customer’s preferences. You can gain more orders from regular customers with discounts and promotions tailored to their needs.
You can now ditch paper cards that get lost or misplaced and can only be used once at a restaurant. You can offer your patrons the chance to collect points through the use of a mobile app or by creating an account on your website. Be sure your loyalty program can be used both online and offline, so your customers can reap the rewards when they dine in physical locations.
Key Players For Automation
Restaurant automation is gaining popularity quite rapidly, even though it is still a relatively recent development. Globally, restaurants use a variety of technologies to streamline their business operations.
In the U.K., The Tea Terrace was the first restaurant in Europe and the UK to offer customers a Selfieccino – a cappuccino decorated with edible food coloring featuring a selfie of the paying customer.
In addition to self-navigating and obstacle-avoiding features, it can communicate via voice and deliver food automatically. Integrating multisensory perceptual collision avoidance capabilities and route planning, this system integrates core technologies in automatic control.
In addition to delivering meals or drinks to customers, the robot speaks to them and describes what she is bringing to their table. It is equipped with an LED Dot Matrix that allows it to flash its eyes and either smile or frown to display diverse facial expressions.
It is only natural for the biggest fast-food chain in the world to adopt restaurant automation, due to its convenience and efficiency. With the use of technology, McDonald’s plans to provide their customers with the best level of service possible.
In 2015, Mcdonalds introduced digital ordering kiosks at US outlets, which have since been launched globally. McDonald’s claims the kiosks have helped the company recoup more than $2 million in lost sales.
In addition to drive-through ordering, McDonald’s plans to employ robot fryers and other automation tools. Voice-activated drive-throughs and robotic deep-fryers are currently being tested in Chicago in an attempt to increase efficiency and production. They even run one of their Phoenix branches entirely by robotics.
In most of its locations, Panera has installed self-service kiosks, following in the footsteps of Mcdonald’s. Auto-cleaning machines and ovens are used at Wendy’s, reducing the amount of time it takes to clean dishes.
Automated restaurants are emerging in the fast-food industry. One of the most notable examples is KFC Original+, an entirely automated branch in China. As the first robot-driven fast food restaurant in the world, Du Mi, operated by Baidu, takes orders and processes payments. The robots are reported to be responsive, highly accurate, and friendly to their customers.