Posted on 27 September, 2017  |  3 min

"Did you see that restaurant's Instagram story?"

"I ordered pizza using their website app. It was so easy!"

"Why don't they have a website? Ugh. it's so annoying! I never know when they're open."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Technology is changing how people dine out and how they decide where to eat. Like many other industries, digital technology is reshaping hospitality, and restaurants must adapt to accommodate these changes. The good news is that evolving technology benefits both restaurant owners and customers.

Behind the scenes, tech makes running a restaurant more efficient. With cloud-based solutions, restaurant owners can streamline their operations, easily calculate nutritional values and tackle direct ordering with suppliers. Plus, technology provides restaurant owners with superior staff management and enables smarter data-based decision making.

Technology is rapidly redefining customer experience and expectations. More than ever, restaurant owners have to be ready for the present and the future.

What does the future look like?

We can never know exactly what the future holds. After all, innovators are always surprising us, but based on current trends, it’s easy for us to imagine the following:

A customer reads about your restaurant on their social media feed and makes a booking through your website. When they arrive at the restaurant, their phone recognises the geolocation and alerts your host that a booking has been activated. Maybe the host takes your guest to their table, or maybe the system automatically assigns your customer a table. The customer views the menu and orders through their phone or an on-site device.  After placing their order, a member of your staff reviews it with the customer and the order is sent directly to the point-of-sale (POS) system and to the kitchen with any amendments.

POS tracks the order, and behind the scenes, stock levels are updated. Should this order mean that an item sells out, the no-longer-available item is removed from the menu. Your customer delights in their food, requests the bill and is prompted to leave a review, which posts straight to TripAdvisor or Yelp. They post a photo of their amazing meal to social media. Maybe payment is processed through their phone or on an in-store device. Their receipt is sent to their email along with a thank you marketing message with a promise of 20% off their next meal.

Maybe this sounds a bit extreme, but it’s not too far off. Each restaurant owner will have to determine what tech tools are right them. It’s important to remember that your clientele live in the modern, tech-enabled world, so implementing smart technology is crucial for success.

How can a restaurant owner keep up?

As technology evolves, so do customers' expectations of restaurants. We know you care about your customers. One of the top reasons restaurant owners don't implement new tech is because they’re concerned about how it will impact customers. Then there’s the other barrier: time. Who has time to introduce new systems when there are so many other responsibilities that require your attention? 

However, when restaurants introduce smart technology solutions, everyone wins! Here are some easy steps any restaurant can take:

Update Your Social Media

An active social media presence helps your customers feel more engaged with your restaurant. Some of the most popular posts on social media are food pics—an easy win for a restaurant!

Share photos of your most popular menu items, offer exclusive deals only available to your social media followers and answer your customers’ questions. A little goes a long way with social, and Facebook business makes it easy to spend a bit of money on advertising and reach new people in your area.

Implement digital loyalty programmes

Loyalty programmes have been around for ages. Now, instead of a wallet full of cards, digital reward apps are transforming how we offer best value to our customers . With loyalty and reward schemes, your customers have a bonus reason to return; and you gather valuable data about their activities.  Loyalty apps also make tracking buying patterns a breeze.

Introduce world class POS

No one likes to wait, and using electronic POS ensures that payment processes are smooth and speedy—whether at your restaurant, at your customer’s door, or online. Having a smooth checkout and ordering system benefits everyone. Modern POS solutions also provide data-driven insights into what’s performing well and what’s not. Many of these secure POS systems are cloud-based, so they evolve as technology evolves, helping to keep your restaurant ahead of the hospitality technological curve.

Technology transforms everyone's experience...for the better

Cloud-based technology helps you run a more seamless business, and this impacts you, your staff, and most importantly, your customers. At 9 Spokes, we select best-in-brand apps specifically for the hospitality industry so you can offer your customers a modern dining experience, regardless of your budget.

When you introduce new systems and apps, you'll be able to gather valuable information about your customers so you can better serve them. The free 9 Spokes data dashboard pulls the hidden information from your restaurant apps and provides you with easy-to-read visual representations of your data, all on one page. You can access your dashboard from anywhere, on any device, and quickly see who is working, what is selling well and check the status of your cash flow. When you know exactly what is going on with your restaurant, it’s easy to give your customers the best experience.

Sign up for 9 Spokes today and take your restaurant to the next level.

Discover how a data dashboard  can transform staffing, cash flow and customer happiness for your hospitality business.