Technology has helped transform most industries and the restaurant industry is one that has been hugely affected by the rise in new technology, says Jamie Roberts.
From apps such as JustEat, to contactless payments, to even booking a table online, technological advances have helped make restaurants more accessible and profitable, improving customer service, customer experience and business management. Here, we will look at how this has been the case.
Booking a table at a restaurant
In years gone by, if you wanted to book a table at a restaurant you had to ring up the restaurant to secure your seats. During busy times this could have meant you were on hold for a long period of time. Even worse, you may have turned up to the restaurant and had to wait in the lobby. This is a major dissatisfaction to customers which will sour their overall experience.
Thanks to online booking systems and reservation managers this is no longer the case. Customers can simply click on the relevant tab on a restaurant’s site or app and reserve a table for a time that suits them, thus improving the customer service from the restaurant.
Not only this, but as it’s a 24-hour service, you can save on man power, while customers can book at a time that suits them, meaning you may be more likely to receive bookings. With such a tool, it’s likely that you’ll have data available to you that can keep track of every reservation, allowing you to plan and grow your business.
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Paying for food
Card machines have made it possible for you to use your bank card to complete your transaction with ease. This means that you no longer have to carry cash on you in order to pay for your food. This also means that there’s far more chance of upselling your product as the customer won’t be worried about how much money they physically have on them.
Research has found that there is a higher willingness-to-pay when debit/credit cards are used instead of cash. This is especially the case when it comes to treating yourself and eating unhealthy food due to impulsive buying.
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Of course, technology has benefited the overall experience from a customer point of view, but behind the scenes it has significantly helped too. Most restaurants now rely on technology to keep their stock levels accurate. This has allowed them greater visibility of their assets almost immediately. Employees can directly submit and view their inventory via a device, leading to greater efficiency and accuracy.
Sites such as Trip Advisor are a great way for the public to plan their next trip. Receiving a number of maximum marks on review sites like this can lead to an increase in footfall to your restaurant. For many, they may not have heard of your establishment, but great reviews can push them in your direction.
Social media analytics and relationships
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There are two reasons why customers will continue to use your service: the food and the staff. If customers enjoy the dishes and the ambience, they are likely to return in the future. Thanks to social media analytics you can discover exactly what customers are looking for and tailor your business to these desires.
For the majority of restaurants, replying to social media comments provides the customer with an appreciation for your brand as well as gaining a connection. However, if you’re unable to respond to all replies, self-service analytics tools allow you to collate all responses so that you can get the overall feel of the public and what it is they’re saying.
The internet is a great place to let your potential customers know of any great deals that you have available. This could be the difference from them choosing you or going to a competitor. Flyers are another great way to get your deals in front of your intended audience, so a lot of local restaurants take advantage of letterbox distribution services. On such leaflets, many establishments involve an online discount code in order to entice the recipients to visit or order from them.
It’s not just sit-in restaurants that are taking advantage of advances in technology, either. Mobile ordering has made it extremely easy for consumers to purchase their food on a whim. Thanks to apps such as Just Eat, you can now browse a range of takeaways and quickly order – and pay for – your meal as and when you like it.
Over 10 million people had placed an order using the app last year, while 2017 saw the company’s revenue surge 45%. This led to £1.9bn being spent on fast food via the app in the year.
With technology certain to keep becoming more advanced, restaurants are likely to have many new avenues available to them in the near future in order to progress. Whether they choose to pursue them is up to them, but for those who don’t, the end could very well be nigh.