With the advancement of technology and changing needs of customer demands, restaurant owners are resorting to tools to automate restaurant operations. People are always in a hurry and they don’t like waiting to book a table, to place their orders or even to pay bills. That’s why smart restaurateurs are automating the entire process to reduce the chances of errors and increase customer satisfaction manifold.
Here are the 11 areas where technology is being used in restaurants.
1. Online Ordering
Home delivery of food has always been a popular choice among customers. With the advent of online ordering, the majority of home delivery orders are being placed through a mobile app or website ordering. Online ordering feature enables guests to order food from anywhere and ensures easy placement of orders. Customers can choose between pickup and delivery according to their convenience. The major advantage of online ordering is that guests can avoid the hassle of explaining the order to the waiter and reduce the risks of getting the order mixed up. It also saves the restaurant from missing any orders in case the telephone line is busy.
2. Automatic Billing
As soon as the customer is done dining, the POS generates an automatic bill. The bill is generated by the POS according to the Kitchen Order Ticket (KOT), thus eliminating the mixing up of orders and bills. An automatic bill ensures no delays and improves customer service.
Most POS solutions provide the splitting of bill feature, which makes it easier for customers to pay for their orders.
Read a detailed article on how automatic billing is improving customer satisfaction.
3. Online Payments
Online payments have made the lives of both, the customers as well as the service providers much easier. Online payments ensure that your customers don't need to rush to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash or avoid ordering at all in the case of a home food delivery.
Bill generation and payment via mobile phones or virtual wallets have also been proven to speed up the bill settlement process. Guests can pay their bill right from their mobile phones as soon as they have finished dining. A number of online payment options such as Ruplee, Paytm etc have cropped up in the market that has significantly improved the process.
4. Table Reservation
Online table reservation tools let customers book preferred tables at restaurants well in advance. This tool presents a virtual overview of the restaurant to help customers choose tables before they reach the destination. This further works to increase customer delight, as the customers can choose their favorite table well in advance, and avoid the hassle of explaining their seating requirements.
Restaurants use a virtual number which connects multiple existing phone numbers. When one number is busy or unreachable, the call automatically connects to the next available number. Thus, restaurateurs can minimize loss of calls due to connectivity or other technical glitches.
6. Loyalty Programs
The cost of acquiring a new customer is significantly more than that of retaining old ones. Loyal customers also tend to spend more and are also likely to refer their friends as well. Therefore, running loyalty programs to attract customers is one of the oldest tricks in the book to attract and retain customers. However, unlike traditional card system which used to accumulate points with each payment, restaurants now run loyalty programs which contain the database of all customers. Once a customer places an order, the points are added to his profile.
You can run customized loyalty programs for customers based on their ordering habits and history to keep customers coming back for more.
7. Accounting and Reporting
Accounting software enables restaurants managing the financial details of the restaurant. All the sales data and transactions are accessible in tabular forms and graphs, that help you gain an understanding of your restaurant business. You can use integrated POS software to benefit from a complete accounting and restaurant management software. POSist's Cockpit app gives you complete control over your restaurant, by letting you keep track of all the sales and transactions happening at your restaurant. You can view all the details real time right on your mobile app.
8. Inventory Management
Inventory Management System integrated with the POS software comes in very handy while managing the raw materials and stock for your kitchen. You can manage the shelf life of the products, analyze the requirements of the kitchen. The IMS predicts how long the current stock is going to last, and also allows you to set reminders to order more when it gets depleted, and helps reduce wastage.
It also generates elaborate reports that help you keep track of all the raw materials. You can also assign roles and permissions to access the inventory, which helps in reducing pilferage.
Reporting and analytic are one of the most important aspects of running and managing a restaurant. All sales data and transactions need to be recorded and reported, that need to be reviewed regularly. Reports must be analyzed in order to predict trends and formulate future strategies.
Customer data can be analyzed and help restaurants come up with customized deals and offers to attract customers. The analytic feature generates reports based on the customers’ ordering habits and restaurateurs use this data to offer deals and discounts.
10. Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relation Management (CRM) tools are widely in use to boost customer engagement. You can use valuable CRM database to come up with customized offers and discounts based on the customers' ordering habits.
CRM tools help send personalized emails and newsletters containing offers, menu additions, events and other updates to keep the customer informed.
11. Social Media
Social media is the perhaps the most cost effective way to market any business. Inviting people to check-in when they arrive, and promoting offers and events through social media is proven effective means to use technology in acquiring and retaining customers. You can run contests and campaigns to further boost customer engagement.
Read a detailed article on how to effectively use social media for your restaurant here. So, which technologies are you using at your restaurant? Share your views in the comments below or reach us on Facebook or Twitter – we are keen to hear from our readers!