A continually evolving industry and consumer are driving the development of new restaurant technology and hardware. Restaurant owners can take advantage of several management solutions to improve the efficiency of their daily operations and relationships with customers.
By enhancing order and fulfillment efficiency, technology has revolutionized the dining experience and improved operations. Management can interact with customers on numerous platforms, including online review sites and social media, to gain insight into new trends.
You must keep up with technology trends in your restaurant to meet rising customer and employee expectations. To run your business smartly, you must now be willing to invest in technology solutions that can help them improve the guest experience as well as technology that can improve their operational efficiency.
Find out what restaurant technologies you need to run your business more effectively, delight your guests, and start the technology revolution, whether you are an early adopter or just signing up for the tech game.
Top Technology and Hardware for Restaurants
Increasing numbers of restaurants are adopting technology at a rapid pace, and entrepreneurs are increasingly trying to make their businesses more digital. With the current challenges faced by the restaurant industry, the major chains are introducing tech-based solutions to solve their workforce shortage and margin erosion problems.
Their effort to grab the attention of clients with a sophisticated sense of technology-led them to set new service standards. Find out what the top technology must-haves are today to compete.
If you’ve been to your local restaurant chain already, you’ve probably noticed how much better the ordering process is since these free-standing displays have been implemented.
In quick service and fast-casual restaurants, self-service kiosks are becoming a major aspect of the operation. Fifty-three percent of guests surveyed reported and expressed how important self-service kiosks are to their overall dining experience in the 2019 Restaurant Success Report.
Card readers are installed in these kiosks, which can be used to accept payments by debit and credit cards. Cash payments are also allowed by printing a receipt at the counter that the buyer can present. By accelerating service and reducing order errors caused by miscommunication, these terminals improve the guest experience.
For several reasons, self-serve kiosks are becoming increasingly popular. The restaurant’s digital experience is exceptional, their interface is easy to use, and they facilitate the customer’s experience. This allows guests to take control of their order by reviewing their menu and customizing it to fit their needs.
An appropriately designed kiosk can enhance the guest experience while also increasing average check size, upselling opportunities, and volume of orders, all while reducing the need for additional staff.
Contactless and Tableside Order and Payment
Diners have always expected their dining experience to be safe, efficient, and fast. Since COVID-19, they have become even more critical than ever.
The availability of contactless and mobile payments has become a major factor in the dining experience for many modern diners. Some customers feel that tableside technology is essential to their dining experiences.
Increasing awareness and concern over disease transmission have been a major driving force in the implementation of existing technologies; these include contactless, EMV, tap and pay, tableside ordering, and mobile wallets. Each of these situations significantly reduces the possibility of passing the virus and transferring them to another.
The restaurant industry has been using most of these technologies for years but has been slow in adopting them. The convenience and safety of the contactless and tableside technologies allow your guests to pay and order from the comfort and convenience of their own devices.
In addition to enhancing your guests’ experience, it also helps you speed up service, cut labor costs, and gain a deeper understanding of your guests.
With the onset of COVID-19, this will become a necessity and no longer optional. Businesses that don’t embrace and promote contactless payments will find themselves lagging in their operations-technology initiatives.
Technology like touchscreen terminals for restaurant POS is available to make the process more efficient. With durable hardware, they should endure the demands of a restaurant environment while allowing you and your team to operate at a restaurant pace.
A POS system can simplify the accounting process, make past transactions easily accessible, speed up service, and provide detailed itemized receipts. It also reduces errors made by users and has a lower repair cost than a cash register.
There are many touchscreen terminals available, and POS software that is designed for restaurant use often includes a simple, user-friendly interface, so new employees can easily learn. In addition to placing more orders faster, touchscreen POS terminals increase revenue by simplifying order taking.
Anti-bacterial point of sale systems is also becoming more popular. To prevent pass-on of the virus as well as to ensure that employees are comfortable, you should consider antimicrobial POS screens and improved cleaning procedures.
It may also be the impetus needed for technologists to develop voice-activated ordering further and eventually completely do away with the need for touch screens at POS points of sale.
Shortly, traditional POS management methods will be replaced by cloud-based software that provides users with access to their information anywhere, anytime. Network-connected systems eliminate the need to install traditional terminals, a process that can sometimes be confusing.
The functionality enables you to synchronize equipment such as smartphones, tablets, and kitchen printers. Moreover, cloud-based solutions are not only less expensive, but also include advanced functionality and reporting tools that can help you to better manage your business.
It is possible to consolidate sales data from multiple point-of-sale systems to determine the top-selling products, top salespeople, and promotions.
Most restaurant POS systems today feature customer-facing displays, which allow customers to see the order, pay quickly, and tip on the screen whilst they are ordering. Keeping your line moving is easier with this method since the accuracy and speed of orders are improved.
In today’s top-of-the-line POS terminals, there is also the ability to accept payments via credit and mobile cards with a reader integrated directly into the POS. Whichever payment processing device you go with, make sure it supports digital wallets and Visa (EMV), Near Field Communication like Google Pay, and Magnetic Stripe Card.
Handheld POS Software and Device
It would be convenient if servers could close a check with a single visit, rather than stopping at four tables: asking whether guests are ready for a check, bringing them their check, presenting it to the POS, and returning cash change. By using handheld POS systems, your staff can streamline operations by allowing guests to place orders and pay at the table.
With handheld POS systems, servers can better manage their workload and turn tables faster since they can make orders and pay at the table. Customer wait times are reduced as well. Furthermore, it enables you to fulfill a greater number of orders and serve more customers in one shift.
Allowing servers to finalize transactions at the table reduces the time and efficiency of picking up a credit card payment, processing it at the register, returning the receipt, and collecting a signature for authorization.
In addition to sending digital orders directly to the kitchen, servers can now use portable devices to take orders. By using these functions, waiters can provide faster, more individualized service while simultaneously handling several tables at once.
These devices provide your employees with the ability to create a more outstanding guest experience beyond improving operational efficiency. In what way? They can spend more time engaging with guests since they do not have to memorize orders or run back and forth to your POS.
Kitchen Display Screen and System
As part of driving through innovative restaurant technology, more and more restaurants are using kitchen display systems (KDS) to keep kitchen operations running smoothly as well as restaurant operations in general.
The KDS displays orders received through a POS. With a KDS, you can get rid of your paper tickets and printer and use its digital order viewer. Furthermore, it will handle food routing, recipe archiving, and storage of important kitchen information.
Among its many benefits is the ability to organize the back end of your business, boost efficiency, reduce ticket times, and raise the quality of the food.
The KDS system is ecologically sound, as it is 100% digital, unlike traditional ticket printers. Restaurants also save a small amount of money on the ticket paper, which is an additional cost, or deal with falling tickets or soiled paper.
All open orders can be viewed on one screen, either on a wall-mounted display or a counter-top display. By keeping the kitchen on track and schedule, the front-of-house can also operate without interruption.
Inventory Management System
Using this solution, you’ll be able to manage inventory in your restaurant along with other technologies. It will help restaurateurs plan their menus, track their food use, determine food costs, track food waste, and calculate COGS. Waste, theft, spoilage, and overproduction can all be managed with this solution.
Inventory management software also enables you to maintain constant accuracy in your inventory. Using your current inventory takings, you automatically update the current status of your storage.
This gives you a great idea of how many ingredients you’re using, which you can then compare to how many food items you’re selling. That’ll be your restaurant’s variance. Some even have an accompanying restaurant inventory app so you can check levels from home.
It is no secret that restaurant inventory management is a crucial part of running a successful restaurant business. However, it is vulnerable to counting without inventory management software. Manually counting. A counting method that is prone to errors and could be problematic.
This can be automated completely with restaurant inventory management software. Your stock is scanned instead of you having to manually mark each item down. Inventory levels are automatically updated by the software.
Despite the popularity of digital receipts and kitchen display screens, many restaurants still prefer paper receipts, especially those full-service establishments. A thermal printer is required to print receipts on paper.
If a business prefers to maintain a paper trail, it can have receipt printers installed for the front and back of the house. A thermal printer prints a receipt without using ink because it uses heat to imprint characters.
Generally, these printers are found in check-out areas rather than the kitchen, due to their high heat sensitivity. The kitchen staff typically prefers ink-based impact printers that make a sound when they print, so they know when new orders are available.
Here’s a look at the most common kinds of printers you can use at a restaurant.
Due to their quiet nature and faster printing speed, thermal printers are used primarily by front-of-house staff. These are no ink-based receipt printers. The paper is instead heated to make characters and images.
Kitchen printers usually use ink or impact technology. During busy times, back-of-house personnel might not notice the new order slip as it appears in the printer.
In situations like this, impact printers help since they have a more audible printing method that captures the eye of chefs and cooks. In addition to printing in various colors, it can also be highlighted with different colors, such as red or black.
Cash Drawers and Registers
Despite improvements in POS technology, the classic cash drawer continues to be a staple of cash management and storage.
Statistica revealed that there are still a lot of consumers who prefer to pay with cash. To ensure security, restaurants should keep a cash drawer on hand. Hardware like this is compatible with popular point-of-sale systems, allowing the tracking of cash payments and entering quantities into a database.
You can sync your POS system with your restaurant’s cash drawer if you want a more modern approach to managing your cash drawer. To bolster your cash drawer’s security, you should also lock it by the end of your operation for a day and regularly empty it.
Online Ordering and Delivery Solutions
The convenience of online ordering has caused its popularity to soar. The number of food orders placed online or through an app is constantly increasing. As a part of their expansion strategies, even fast-food chains and fast-casual restaurants employ ghost kitchens.
Having a food delivery option saves on costs associated with dining-in restaurants as well as satisfying the needs of the working consumer.
Restaurants were already using online ordering and off-premise dining well before the COVID-19 crisis began. Moreover, after the pandemic outbreak, restaurants have increasingly relied on off-premises dining options such as takeout and delivery to survive.
Online ordering solutions can provide a lot of benefits, but guests usually prefer to place their orders directly with restaurants. As proven by research, a restaurant’s off-premises approach will remain a crucial part of its future strategy indefinitely.
Customer Support Technology
A growing number of restaurants are incorporating chatbots into their service. In addition to being fast and inexpensive to develop, chatbots can be incorporated into multiple communication channels.
In existing restaurants, chatbots provide customers with a tailored experience, whether they need to reserve tables, make online orders, or answer FAQs around the clock. Chatbots may interact with customers in the following ways:
- Serve up recommendations
- Suggestions for pairing food and drink
- Payment processing
- Get feedback from your audience
- Event announcements
- Organize and offer promotions
Restaurant employees can use chatbots to free up their time, while guests will enjoy a better dining experience. For a chatbot to be a success, it is important to determine whether your customers are enthusiastic about using this technology and which platforms they prefer to use.
How To Implement Restaurant Technology
To maintain customer loyalty, sales, and traffic, it is imperative to adapt to modern technology. You can begin implementing technology in their business with four easy steps if you are in the restaurant industry.
Finding solutions that fit the restaurant’s needs
Management should research what solutions are most appropriate for its needs after determining which areas could be improved. To avoid any issues with the future implementation of technology, staff should be made aware of it in advance.
While technology can solve any restaurant’s problems, it should also maximize efficiency and stay within budget.
Organize a team of implementation experts
One or two members can be assigned to the project to form an implementation team. It will also take care of the administrative work, communication, and resource gathering involved in implementing new software.
It will be simpler and easier for employees to learn new software if it is prepared appropriately for integration.
Develop and run a test program to identify glitches
Before training employees, management can check for bugs or technical difficulties by implementing a pilot program. During pilots, workers can also learn a system well enough so they can demonstrate it to others.
Following your approval of the solution, the project team will move on to the implementation phase.
Educate and train the entire staff about the new software, system, or tool
Management can begin extensive training employees once new hardware and software have been installed. In addition, good training should solicit feedback and ensure that all participants understand what they are learning.
Every function should be explained to employees so that they comprehend how it works, why it is important, and how it impacts workflow.