It’s an exciting time for the restaurant industry. Chefs are experimenting with unique flavors and there are some wonderful technologies to look into. Below, we share some of the best, most useful restaurant technologies to improve sales and streamline time-consuming tasks (like recording temperature).
Virtual Reality Onboarding
Training a new hire takes time and patience, whether it’s to be a server, a cashier or cook. Thankfully, one of the newest restaurant technologies available was designed specifically to tackle this problem. Imagine the possibilities of combining virtual reality (VR) and human resources. Have you wondered about the possibilities of training new hires without the risks and costs of a normal training session?
The good news is that now you can. With a headset and customized software, restaurants can now train new employees with great success.
Honeygrow is the first company to try this technology with restaurants. Their software allows new hires to take a 360-degree tour of the facility, follow other employees on the floor, and test new skills in simulated scenarios.
VR onboarding spares the restaurant from wasting food or spending excessive time on training sessions. What’s more, virtual reality takes the pressure off of a new employee and encourages more proactive learning without the fear of messing up.
“We feel people will retain information much better if they’re able to engage and interact in a meaningful way,” says Jen Denis, a chief brand officer of Honeygrow. “This generation has grown up with video, gaming, and technology. More and more, we learn by doing rather than reading.”
Digital Ordering Systems
If you are still scheduling shifts with pen and paper, 2020 is the year to change that. It’s no secret the difficulties attached to scheduling and maintaining your restaurants’ ordering system manually. From missed orders to an unbalanced check, the list goes on.
With the advent of technology into the restaurant space, taking and maintaining orders either physically or online has become seamless and easy. With a restaurant POS system, restaurateurs and managers can have an integrated platform where all aspects, from ordering to delivery, down to accounting can be effectively monitored.
For the average restaurant, this technology usually comes in the form of big touch screens or even tablets that allow customers to place orders themselves; these systems even provide avenues for customers to make payments without having to interact with employees.
This technology opens up a wide possibility of improvements and adaptations in the restaurant business that are too significant to overlook, some of which include:
Restaurants can use these tabletop tablets to display their digital menu, which allows customers to place and send various orders directly to the kitchen.
This leads to orders coming out quicker than the conventional ordering method of having to flag down a server during a cool lunch or a dinner rush. For the restaurant, you get a faster table turn – and happier guests.
Most of these devices also provide opportunities for customers to dig deeper into the menu and discover more add-ons customizations for their meals. With the price available for them to see, it makes ordering their favorite meals a whole lot easier.
Some digital ordering devices even come loaded with games and other forms of entertainment to keep customers engaged and entertained, which ultimately adds value to the dining experience your customers have.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about all this is the fact that they aren’t replacing personal service; they instead work hand in hand to enhancing it. Staff can spend more time engaging guests in other activities instead of simply moving back and forth, taking orders, and making modifications.
That’s not the only good thing about a digital ordering system. When integrated with the POS system in the restaurant, it comes together to make a whole technological system that just makes everything better and simpler
Bluetooth Temperature Sensors
Meeting food safety regulations is a pain. As the owner or manager of a restaurant, you know how much time and effort logging temperature takes. To reclaim that lost time, restaurants have started using Bluetooth temperature sensors.
With handheld probes and fixed sensors, restaurants can manually or automatically regulate their food and equipment in a few seconds. The best Bluetooth temperature services are fully automated and record readings in a HACCP log—freeing up a lot of your time. Additionally, reports cannot be falsified, paper logs can be done away with, and the margin for error gets narrower.
Several franchise restaurants are already using them. For example, Five Guys installed wireless temperature sensors to coolers, prep rooms, and milkshake machines in all 1,300 locations. In New York City, an owner of 12 McDonald’s installed Bluetooth sensors and saw noticeable differences.
The most immediate improvement realized is the reduction in food waste. They also give control over other factors like ensuring the walk-in coolers are securely closed and that the lobby maintains a pleasant temperature. Notifications are sent to a device when something is out of the ordinary.
Easy to use, reliable, and useful, more and more restaurants are going to integrate Bluetooth sensor technology soon.
Perfect for fast-casual restaurants, kiosks are the latest technology to optimize operations and increase profits.
Here’s how: At stand-alone touch screens, customers can browse the menu, customize orders, and pay for meals. Upselling and cross-selling options are also present. With the ease of kiosk-ordering, customers tend to order more.
In the kitchen, the BOH receives the order, and on the floor, the FOH concentrates on delivering exceptional service or keeping the restaurant clean. If you’re worried about costly set-up expenses, the Lavu Kiosk system is designed for affordability and customization.
Kiosks give fast-casual restaurants the opportunity to focus more on operations and the customer experience—it’s a win all-around.
Online to-go ordering gives restaurants maximum control over the way customers order food. In turn, customers have total control over their orders. It’s easy, fast, and efficient. Orders aren’t incorrectly recorded by the host, and the customer can give clear instructions on what is wanted.
Like the kiosk system, once the order is placed, the BOH receives the order and can start working on it. Many restaurants have begun integrating online ordering systems to their websites for a few reasons—seamless ordering styles, more opportunities for up-selling, order accuracy—and most especially, because customers are asking for it.
Online ordering gives restaurants the chance to optimize their sales funnel. For instance, since making it possible for consumers to order food online, TGI Fridays reported a 30% increase in sales. The development has encouraged the casual-dining chain to invest more in new restaurant technology.
Free Wi-Fi is fast becoming a must-have feature for most restaurants and rightly so, because they go a long way in enhancing customers’ experiences, so much that they can’t wait to return. Many customers use smartphones to keep up with various aspects of their lives, whether its business or social media or keeping tabs in a loved one, the fact that you make things easier for them by offering free Wi-Fi to make your restaurant more endearing and the experience memorable.
Plus, Wi-Fi could lead to higher sales revenue. In this age of freelance entrepreneurs and remote work, a lot of people are in regular need of a place to work, and most will settle for a place that’s serene, functional, and free Wi-Fi.
However, there is something to be aware of. Make sure you use a credible internet service provider, as a bad connection may leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth. Also, be wary of customers who spend log hour and buy very little, you may want to make frequent changes to your restaurant set-up to not make them too comfortable that they refuse to leave.
On the flip side, though, if done right, free Wi-Fi is an almost guaranteed way to getting regular customers.
With all the latest and greatest technologies finding their way into the restaurant industry, you’re right to be optimistic about what the future brings and how it’ll positively affect your restaurant business. So, keep your fingers crossed and keep improving with technology.