Technologies are transforming the restaurant industry, as it becomes an awesome tool that addresses consumer demands for customisation and efficiency.
The restaurant industry has traditionally been a very labor-dependent industry, both in and outside the kitchen.
But new technologies such as chatbots and mobile-phone apps are changing the way we approach all aspects of the industry. It changes the process from food procurement to service and delivery.
Here are five exciting technologies that is bound to change the restaurant business in 2017!
Crowdfunding in the restaurant industry is relatively new but is gathering momentum very quickly. It provides a platform between food entrepreneurs and investors, a rather wonderful matchmaking service that we could all benefit from.
Websites such as crowdfooding and equityeats offers valuable restaurant financing by providing equity-based crowdfunding platforms for food startups. They help restaurants, bars and bakeries raise capital to build and sustain their businesses so that they are able to keep their doors open for consumers.
Some restaurant crowdfunding services also offer mentorship and other services, such as website development and legal help.
There are many ways to cut the restaurant-crowdfunding pie and some firms are coming up with rather unique methods. For example, Washington, D.C.-based Equityeats helps restaurants turn to their foodie customers for funding help.
How Equityeats works is you, as the restaurant owner, tell Equityeats how much cash you’d like and about your restaurant’s following (i.e. Facebook likes and email lists). Then Equityeats writes you a cheque in exchange for gift cards. Equityeats then spends the next 30 days paying themselves back by selling those gift cards to your community.
Chatbots are a great tool for businesses to use, especially for customer service at restaurants.
Basically Chatbots are robots that talk like human beings. That will help answer any questions about your restaurant that your client may have. And they are usually accessible via popular chatting apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or Snapchat.
Chatobook.com launched its restaurant chatbot via Facebook Messenger. Chatobook answers questions, handles reservations and provides menu details with photos, all through chat. It saves restauranteurs from adding extra headcount for customer service and clients will love the accessibility and utility of the chatbot.
What’s wonderful about chatbots is that it’s basically like having a buddy that is really well-informed about restaurants. They’ll be able to give you the skinny on a wide range of restaurants, from specialities to the basics such as the very best way to get there.
Two things that can take ages at a restaurant are waiting for a waiter to come around to take your order and paying for your meal.
There’s nothing more annoying than having to sit and wait for ages to pay, after a long day at work and a big meal. You just want to pay and go home, but it usually takes a while with waiters run off their feet as diners finish their meals around the same time.
There are great chat apps available nowadays that allow users to pay faster and easier.
Apps like Cover aim to make paying for your bill quick and simple. All you have to do is check in when you arrive at a restaurant that accepts Cover and let your server know. Then Cover accepts Apple Pay or credit card and when you’re ready to leave, you just simply pay through the app. No waiting, no hassle and it will even calculate and add a tip for your server!
You can also split the bill among friends, even if they don’t have the app and we’re seeing more and more of these apps appear and improve to make our dining experience smoother and easier.
We live in a very busy and expensive world with many households earning double incomes. A lot of the time, we simply don’t have time after a long day’s work to start from scratch and prepare a meal.
That’s where restaurant delivery service comes in – it is one of the main sources of income for restaurants nowadays. But the issue with this service is efficiency of delivery.
Food delivery services such as foodpanda.sg and honestbee are just a couple of services available in Singapore that bring an Uber-esque twist to the food industry. They provide restaurants and food stores resources for delivery. They also hooks them up with customers that they would not be able to access otherwise.
Food delivery to consumers from restaurants is one side of the equation. Restaurants would also benefit from an efficient delivery service for their ingredients.
The Fresh Connection in New York City is an example of a truly Uber-esque model. It is a trucking business in NYC providing services to help farms around the area make deliveries. Its only proviso is that the food producers must be independent, artisanal, and environmentally and economically sustainable.
Data plays an integral role in business in the financial and marketing industries. Big data services help businesses understand customers better and increase efficiency.
Imagine what you could do if you had data that captures all sorts of consumer information. Data from what types of people visit your restaurant, which meals they tend to order, how long they stay and their levels of satisfaction after dining at your place.
It could do wonders for your business as it would aid in making meaningful changes to your business to make it an even greater success.
The issue with data is the gathering part of the process. Especially if you don’t have the resources that big franchises such as McDonald’s do. Fast-food chains use big data analytics to optimise dining and drive-thru experience based on factors such as design, menu and customer type.
One way to efficiently collect data is to create a database via a loyalty programme. This will enable you to gather data on your customers’ purchases, visits times and user details (such as age, income level, etc).
Collect enough of a data set and it could play a vital role in your restaurant’s business strategy. It affects the menu structure and identification of peak sales times to have all hands on deck.
Technologies will continue to transform the restaurant industry for the better. It will help lessen the dependency on labor and allow you to customise your menu and other services to meet your core customers’ demands.
Chatbots and touchscreen menus will become more and more popular for ordering food and making reservations. No more waiting around to get the attention of waiters to order. Or calling over and over again to get through to a restaurant to book a table! Technologies such as these will only make your restaurant experience easier and better.
And if you don’t feel like going out, but want a nice meal at home without waiting for ages for delivery? Drone deliveries are the future! Domino’s is already testing drone delivery methods and celebrated its first drone delivery in November 2016 in New Zealand.
Before you know it, you’ll be able to choose your own seats and select your meals before you arrive at a restaurant, perhaps paying a bit more for that table with a great ocean view, just like you can on airplanes!