In a time where, technology infiltrates every aspect of our lives there still seems to be something traditional about the act of dining at a restaurant. Possibly, the placing down of phones and participating in a conversation means that it is one of the last places where the focus is communicating face to face.
However, this does not mean that the restaurant industry is still sitting in the dark ages. The public now expects a more tech-savvy dining experience. While still enjoying the three pillars that most restaurants base their reputation on. Namely, excellent food, an inviting environment, and professional service.
The adoption of technology is now happening before the patron even enters the building. There are various apps in which, when you book your table, your details are used in order to customise your dining experience. Apps like Reserve can collate your information and treat you accordingly (for example, bringing you a free dessert for your birthday). Apps like these can also send you a message when your table is ready or even store information for locals. Making it easier for them to order “the usual” if they have been loyally visiting for years.
Technology can change the whole restaurant experience.
Once seated, we are now experiencing more than a simple text-only menu with little to no explanation of ingredients or preparation. Digital signage menu boards (such as solutions like PageMan) present each food item meticulously prepared. We live in a visually stimulated society, you really do “eat with your eyes” before the plate even reaches your table.
Gone are the days of waitrons scribbling down shorthand instructions with the possibility of a wrong order being sent through. Advanced point of sale solutions means that menu items are quickly rung up. Additions and substitutions can now be taken without the fear of being eyeballed by the person serving you.
For those not wanting to wait at a table for their order, the rise of online ordering solutions lets you order and collect without a hassle. Apps like ToGo from TallOrder allow you to select your menu items and pay with a few clicks. You then receive a notification when your food is ready for collection. Thereby making your phone or desktop your new digital menu and credit card rolled into one.
Once you have enjoyed (or despised) your restaurant experience, the use of technology does not stop there. Online reviews are written on various websites in a complimentary or scathing manner. These reviews are taken into consideration by peers before they book a table for that same establishment – such is the restaurant circle of life.
Do not forget social media – the birthplace of food-orientated public rants. The public will take to these platforms to praise, post pictures of or complain about a restaurant experience that according to them, changed their life (for the better or worse).
Adopting the above technological advancements will not only help you offer an even better service, but also establish and retain great relationships with your customers (if you keep them happy). Regardless of our adoptions of technology, there is still nothing better than word of mouth recommendations.