Restaurant technology is changing the guest experience. I recently dined with my family at a restaurant where, coincidentally, Datatrend had just installed the wireless infrastructure, allowing our waiter to take our orders on a new tablet. I realized the days of a waitperson attempting to show off by trying to memorize 5 orders without writing any of them down – only to bring the wrong food out later – may be numbered. Our food and drinks came out more efficiently, we actually received the nuances of each order, and our bill was timely and accurate. It was an overall better dining experience, thanks to some newly adopted restaurant technologies.
This is only the beginning in a technology-driven world. The National Restaurant Association has highlighted 5 technology trends in their industry that are interesting to review (excerpts below). These cutting-edge solutions help restaurateurs increase sales, manage business, and improve the customer experience.
Using paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage dynamic restaurant reservation schedules and balancing last-minute employee schedules can be challenging. Restaurants are looking for digital tools that can make the process far easier and friendlier for both managers and employees. A properly installed Wireless network and infrastructure now enables restaurateurs to view employee schedules and customer reservations using smartphones and tablets.
NRA said they expect more restaurants to move away from paper menus over the next few years as the cost of digital menus comes down and more customers embrace the technology. “Our product replaces the paper menus, said Ryan Lynch, a Chicago-based reseller of Menuvative, which focuses primarily on fine-dining establishments. “We don’t want to pull away from the personal touch. We want to put information in the guest’s hands.” One example is that these digital tools can instantly provide waiters better wine pairing recommendations based on the guest’s food order, driving sales up.
Restaurants are finding that digital menus are increasing sales and providing cost saving over time, eliminate printing and other related costs. Customers report that tablets are improving their dining experience.
The more restaurants know about their guests, the more they can improve the guest experience. Restaurant technology systems are helping foodservice brands market to their customers based on past guest behavior. Systems that integrate with POS systems allow restaurants to market to individual guests via e-mail, text or social media, based on what the guest prefers.
Many managers want the advantages of technology without the headache of managing multiple systems and hardware. Solid-state media players can allow restaurants to integrate content management systems for digital signage and menus, automated order taking, social media, music and other functions.
High-profile data breaches at major retailers have restaurants concerned about making sure their customers’ payment information stays secure. Newer payment systems can immediately encrypt cards when they’re swiped and send immediate alerts if a card may be fraudulent.
Of course, excellent cuisine normally trumps technology. However, these restaurant technology trends are exciting and are improving the overall dining experience. A properly designed and installed network infrastructure is necessary to make these technology trends possible. Having a solid infrastructure to handle these emerging restaurant technologies will be the key to staying on the leading edge.
To learn more about Datatrend structured cabling services, wireless/Wi-Fi capabilities, and our experience with restaurant technology rollouts, please contact us or call 1-800-367-7472.