As the new year begins, restaurateurs and their loyal customers wonder what the restaurant of the future will look like as the industry continues to adapt to changes brought on by the ongoing pandemic. Shifting consumer trends and attitudes have changed the trajectory of the industry in mere months.
The world is in the middle of digital transformation and many restaurants have recognized that. The shift toward online services won’t pass with the pandemic – from QR codes to digital marketing campaigns, future success depends on how well restaurants adapt to changing consumer trends. Read on to discover how and why digital, self-service, and contactless technology will be a part of the successful restaurant of the future.
One technology that is sure to be found in the restaurant of the future is the self-service kiosk. Although self-service kiosks used to mainly be found in large restaurant chains, in recent years the technology has become accessible to small business owners as well. Self-service kiosks offer the ability to shorten lines and free up staff to provide an even better customer experience and handle more pressing tasks that can’t be done by machine.
Kiosks, tableside tablets, and other self-ordering point of sale (POS) devices allow customers to personalize their orders and forced modifiers prompt them to add side dishes or increase their drink size. While these additions cost only cents to customers, that profit adds up over time for the business.
Self-service can create sticky business, as well. Easily being able to customize meals encourages diners to come back again and again, allowing restaurants to improve loyalty while addressing the needs of the modern guest.
The benefits of self-service extend to health and safety, too. Social distancing is made simple when customers complete their transaction at a kiosk or by themselves at their table. An added bonus is improved order turn times, as orders get submitted straight to the kitchen versus having to go through the added step of being submitted by a waitstaff member.
The benefits of the customization that self-service allows for continue. Many self-ordering solutions include the ability to build customer profiles to help staff predict their needs and tailor every experience like they're a welcome friend. With the right online ordering platform, guests can quickly log in to reorder favorites and this information gives restaurants valuable access to data they can incorporate into targeted marketing campaigns to increase revenue (or contact trace, if needed).
Online Ordering: Delivery and Curbside Pickup
With dine-in services being limited around the world, many people are turning their focus to off-premises ordering channels instead. Delivery and takeout systems are growing; they helped restaurants survive the past year and recent additions like drive-throughs and curbside pickup are likely to stick around now that restaurants have recognized the resulting ROI. According to Restaurant Business Magazine, 60% of business owners report that opening up delivery channels produced incremental sales.
To make the most of the online ordering trend, restaurants should optimize their online ordering platform and streamline operations so they’re ready to handle the influx of business that will flock to the new off-premises channels. Advanced restaurant technology can do just that, improving communication between the front- and back-of-the-house but also from customer to employee. In fact, the best POS systems submit orders directly to the kitchen display system (KDS) and improve order accuracy for enhanced guest satisfaction. Linerless labels, which contain order details and can be easily applied to (and repositioned on) online orders, can also greatly improve order accuracy.
In the restaurant of the future, technology and manual labor work together to create a streamlined ecosystem of shared responsibilities. Restaurants may assign available waitstaff to direct traffic for a new curbside service or reorganize the seating area to become a zone for socially distanced takeout orders. Advanced POS systems incorporate seamlessly into operations to make life easier, customers happier, and staff more productive.
6 Crucial Technologies for Successful Curbside Service
Ignite your curbside service’s full potential with these six crucial technologies.
QR Codes and Digitization
Contactless technologies will likely remain a pillar of restaurant businesses when dine-in services open again at full capacity. Over half of U.S. restaurants already use QR-code menus (Beaconstac, 2020) to provide patrons convenience, personalization, and enhanced safety along with the comforts of sitting down at a restaurant. Meanwhile, servers can use their time to improve the customer experience by chatting with patrons, cleaning and sanitizing, and more.
So, how do QR code menus work? First, place the QR code on each table, the host stand, storefront windows, or as part of the décor – anywhere that is accessible to guests from their seats so they can easily review the menu and enter their orders from their smartphones. Patrons can also complete their transactions at their tables, with faster, secure payment methods that work via mobile menu. By providing in-house, EMV-enabled devices that can take NFC, mobile wallet, tap and swipe payment method, every customer will be satisfied.
How is all of this possible? With eatOS or similar technologies, you get a POS device that can handle all of these new sales channels and extra traffic without any added effort from your team. Get all of the convenience of cutting-edge digital solutions to common industry problems and see the benefits of implementing online ordering, QR codes and other contactless service options in your restaurant.
Future of Food Service
The restaurant of the future is digital. Long after the threat of COVID-19 has passed, these trends will likely continue to evolve along a similar trajectory with technology unburdening manual labor, cutting costs, and improving profits, all in one fell swoop. As customers come to rely more and more on a touch-free experience, their favorite businesses will have to adapt to become more efficient. In 2021, that means shifting services to the digital world.
POS systems are getting faster, more accurate, more capable, and more profitable as consumers come to prefer self-service and automation. As the new year unfolds, the restaurant industry will continue to digitize with the aid of contactless technology that puts them online and launches them toward greater success. Self-service technologies, like kiosks, combined with online ordering platforms, QR codes, and other contactless technology solutions are bringing restaurants all over the world into the future.
Looking for a cloud-based restaurant management and payment processing ecosystem?
At eatOS, we build cloud-based technology solutions exclusively for restaurants.
Our experience in the restaurant industry and specialized teams help us understand the complexity of running a restaurant. These tools allow us to build a customizable solution to help restaurants adapt to the industry’s needs.
Our cloud-based platform works on both iOS & Android, giving restaurants flexibility. Our management solutions simplify operations regardless of restaurant size. Guest engagement features improve the overall guest experience and reduce friction in the operations for staff.
Our technology gives restaurants the ability to engage with their community in new and innovative ways and automate operations from payroll to inventory management. eatOS point of sale handles all the busywork and allows restaurants to focus on their customers.
At eatOS our main priority is helping restaurateurs succeed. We strongly believe in giving our clients the ability to simplify management, exceed customer expectations, and provide a true cloud-based POS solution. Using these three values at the core of our focus to bridge the gap between the community and technology.
Alex Alper is a content writer with eatOS technologies, where she writes about restaurant-grade hard- and software from blog content to marketing copy and beyond.