There are some things in the food and beverage industry that don’t
change much. From dealing with
restaurant suppliers to replacing old restaurant booths, not much innovation is
needed in some areas. Of course, many
other aspects of running an eatery have changed, and as technology evolves, so
must a restaurant. One of the main
technological revolutions has been automation, and savvy restaurateurs can
improve their business by jumping on this bandwagon.
When restaurants have servers, all orders are essentially
"at-table orders." A new
movement, however, is leading many eateries to place tablets at their tables so
that patrons can order their meals themselves. Not only does this take a bit of the burden off of servers, but it also
helps ensure order accuracy.
In a world where fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle can have people
in and out within minutes, at-table ordering is changing the game for
traditional restaurants. Even larger
corporations, such as Olive Garden, have caught on. In the end, this bit of automation can
improve a restaurant in a variety of ways.
Invest in Point of Sale Systems
Smaller restaurants have always managed to get by with the traditional
cash register up front. Even some
national chains, such as Waffle House, still do well with this system. For restaurateurs who use point of sale (POS)
systems, however, life becomes much easier. In addition to simplifying servers’ jobs, it also helps keep track of
sales, incorrect orders, employee hours and even food costs. There is also free POS software available, so
some of the implementation costs are already covered.
Automate the Marketing Process
Running a restaurant isn’t only about providing delicious food; there’s
a lot more to running a business. Your restaurant supplier can help with many
things, but marketing isn’t one of them. Fortunately, evolving technology has made it possible to largely
automate the marketing process.
From using Hootsuite for scheduling social media posts in advance to
handling email marketing with MailChimp, the automation potential is nearly
limitless. Add in tools like HubSpot to
handle lead tracking, search engine optimization and just about everything
else, and restaurateurs can easily simplify the promotional aspect of running a
Automating Drink Service
While this method of automation might not be ideal for restaurants that
employ servers, new drink automation technology can help most other
eateries. Everyone has seen the typical
drink machine at McDonald’s that lets patrons select from ten different sodas,
but the new Coca-Cola Freestyle machine has increased that drink selection to
well over 100 sodas.
Research has already shown that the use of these machines has increased
sales at restaurants that use them. Even
better, guest traffic increased as well. While it’s definitely a huge investment, it’s one that’s proving to be
well worth it.
Your current restaurant supplier may already offer some of these tools, and it’s certainly worth looking into because automating a
restaurant can really pay off. Even
implementing a few of the aforementioned tips can go a long way.