We all know that one restaurateur who is resistant to change. Or — don't worry, no judgment — maybe you’re that restaurateur.
Change is constant in the restaurant industry, and whether you like it or not, technology is impacting your business, both inside and outside your restaurant’s walls. A 2018 TripAdvisor survey showed that 94% of U.S. consumers are influenced by reviews when it comes to deciding where to dine. So even if your restaurant isn’t equipped with the most cutting edge technology, your customers are using it to determine if your restaurant is worth visiting.
Restaurant technology will only continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and the trends will keep coming your way. So rather than jumping on the “latest and greatest” tech offerings, we recommend you do careful research.
Identify which solutions are making a real impact in the industry, which providers of those solutions are the best fit for your restaurant, how you can convince your restaurant's leadership team to adopt new technology, and the best plan to roll it out to your business.
Not sure how to do all that? We’ve got your back.
Step 1: Recognize the Problem and Root Cause
Challenges in your restaurant take many forms.
Picture a busy night in your dining room. There’s a lot going on and in a perfect world, everything would flow as smooth as silk. But who are we kidding — if only life were that easy.
In a more realistic fantasy, you may see three of your servers in line for the same POS terminal, which frustrates your guests and staff by holding up your table turn times. Maybe you have tickets that get lost or overlooked, causing your kitchen to theoretically go up in flames. Or maybe one of your customers comes up to you with their phone in hand, pointing out a scathing review on Yelp that you didn’t see. It’s possible that after several years of busy Friday night takeout service, your sales suddenly start to drop. It’s possible you might hear the hostess call three or four parties’ names before finally seating one. It’s easy to see that each of these scenarios is a problem, and although you may not have to directly deal with all of them, it’s likely they all resonate with you.
Identifying the problems in your restaurant is a necessary step to solving them, but it’s also important to address the root cause of your issues. Your POS may be outdated and therefore not able to keep pace with your busy restaurant. Your kitchen may be too busy for paper tickets that are easy to misplace. Your negative Yelp review may have been left unresolved for months and cost you a customer (or several, based on how many saw it). It’s possible your potential customers walked out the door because they were tired of waiting, or abandoned their spot in line after 30 minutes of not being seated. In this case, your scheduling software may be inefficient, costing you loads more time than you’d like.
There's always a flaw in the system — no restaurant is perfect. But taking steps to recognize the problems and why they occur allows you to figure out the best solution for your establishment.