Did you know that 80 percent of restaurants prefer using technology to manage daily activities, e.g., research, and online ordering? Well, it’s the restaurant analytics inventory apps, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) which makes all these activities easier.
Statistics show that over 40 percent of restaurants are already using or planning to start using the handheld server tablets. This is mainly critical in ensuring positive customer user experience. Most customers believe that the handheld server tablets enhance their restaurant user experience UX.
This presents a sharp contrast to the traditional inventory management approaches, which were not only dull but also very slow.
It’s not only in inventory management and analytics. Technology also plays a role in increasing employee productivity for restaurants.
According to Hospitality Technology’s 2019 Restaurant Technology report, around 30 percent of restaurants are eyeing technology to increase employee productivity/efficiency, which is their top strategic objective. The unemployment rate in the US is at its rock bottom, and the restaurant sector is one of the industries which are hard hit by this situation.
Shockingly still, the restaurant sector also has one of the highest employee turnover rates. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employee turnover rates in this field are more than 70 percent.
This is a negative signal especially in today’s competitive restaurant market where you must hire, train, and retain your staff to deliver excellent customer service, and execute your brand’s promise.
In response to this, tech-savvy restaurateurs have dived into the tech world andare using it to manage over 80 percent of their activities. After reading this piece, you’re going to know how technology has helped restaurant owners to improve efficiency and ensure that they only assign the right employees the right tasks.
You will also know how to empower your employees to increase productivity in the workplace. Read on.
Mobile Apps and Gamification is the Real Deal:
Gamification is the use of physical gaming elements like computing with others and scoring points. Most restaurants use it in their online marketing method as a means of encouraging the target audience to engage with their products.
As a restaurant business owner, you can use Gamification in two main ways;
• Offering Freebies. It allows your clients to collect points then exchange them for freebies. Here, you encourage your prospects to visit your store more often and develop a loyalty to the brand.
• Reduced costs. With Gamification, you can also allow your clients to redeem their points to get generous dollar deals and pay for products at a reduced price. This encourages them to spend more hence increased Return on Investments (ROI) for your business.
Studies show that over 60 percent of restaurant clients will download your restaurant app if you regularly put exclusive deals and offers in the app. Established businesses use their restaurant mobile apps to increase engagement with their clients.
An inspiring example of mobile restaurant app is the Rhino Coffee mobile app. Rhino Coffee uses this app to run their reward and loyalty programs.
Here’s how the app works:
When a client uses his/her phone to pay for the products or services offered at Rhino Coffee, he/she earns rewards which are redeemable for discount coupons, etc.
The app also shows the customers menu and the restaurant locations in their area.
This is how you can use the restaurant mobile apps to your advantage;
1. Brand Dominance. We all know that brand dominance is the key to outranking your competitors. The mobile restaurant apps make it easy for you to regularly interact with your clients, something which is critical in helping you build trust with them.
2. Easy Connection. It’s estimated that there are over 2.6 billion mobile phone users spend 87 percent of their times on the phones. Having a mobile app for your business makes it easier for your clients to study your offerings and make informed purchase decision depending on their needs.
3. Customer Service. The app makes you available 24/7, something which is critical in improving customer service. The customers won’t have to wait until the shops are open. Instead, they can make orders any time of the day or night.
This SalesForce report shows that around 70 percent of a customer’s buying experience is impacted by the way the customer feels treated. Since the app keeps you in contact with your clients for most of the time, it makes it easy for you to achieve customer satisfaction.
Let’s take an example of Domino’s Pizza mobile app. When this company built a mobile app, which eased in-store pick up or ordering delivery of foods, they recorded a whopping 28 percent profit increase in the UK alone under six months.
Today, mobile devices take up over 50 percent of Domino’s Pizza online orders.
The trick here is to use mobile apps to encourage purchases and make it super easy for your clients to buy your products.
Tech-oriented Recruitment Process:
While Gamification is a popular recruitment trend, not any strategy out, there will give you the desired results. You must be keen on the strategy you’re planning to implement to succeed.
How Restaurants Can Use Gamification in Hiring New Talents?
As we mentioned before, Gamification applies the game design, theory, and mechanisms to help you engage prospects and then motivate them to perform specific tasks. Most businesses also use it in their recruitment process because it makes it easy to test the applicants’ skills.
It is also time conscious and makes your recruitment process hassle-free. Finally, it also helps you to keep up with competitors. Gamification in hiring process works by giving you the practical skills of your employees, something you’d struggle to find with the traditional interviewing process.
If you’re hiring, for example, a chef, Gamification will help you ditch the traditionally time-consuming process of testing the chef’s skill by allowing him/her some hours or days in the kitchen. It will also help you avoid the stress of screening all applicants.
How did Domino’s Pizza land their best chef?
In their search for a chef, Domino’s Pizza rolled out a program dubbed ‘Pizza Legends.’
Under this program, they allowed the applicants to an opportunity to create a digital pizza. Now, by letting the applicants use the virtual ingredients to make the pizza, it became easier for this restaurant to narrow down to a chef with the desired skills which they wanted.
To make your hiring process fun, engaging, and easier, you can let your applicants play games which introduces them to your brand’s culture. This will even make the process relaxed because they’ll realize that it wasn’t that ‘freaky’ as they’d have thought.
How Restaurants Can Use Mobile Apps to Streamline the Recruitment Process:
The mobile apps also account for the highest number of employee application. In the US alone, 90 percent of the adults have at least a cell phone.
Out of these, 58 percent have a smart phone which enables them to access the internet. Seventy-eight percent of the American population prefer applying for jobs via their mobile phones.
These figures narrow down to one aspect;with a mobile app, you can find an employee to fill a vacant position within 24 hours. The mobile phones and associated apps provide hospitality businesses, e.g., restaurants with an easy way of tapping into the talent market.
The key is to optimize your recruitment process to bring in candidates to an innovative and responsible brand.
Planning and Scheduling of Activities:
Do you ever wonder how big restaurants handle employee scheduling? Well, we all know how balancing employees and scheduling activities can be daunting.
The current technological advancements have, however made this process stress free for most restaurateurs. Here’s how;
Small and Medium Size Businesses (SMBs) use powerful mobile apps, which allows them to integrate the business data to make forecasting, and to predict upcoming schedules easy. It doesn’t end there, though.
These apps also help the employees to manage shifts. A typical example of these apps is the WorkTime app. It’s creatively designed to alert employees anytime their shifts are nearing.
Other simple tools like Excel also make it easy to customize how you schedule your jobs and employees each week. You can always print copies of the programs so the employees can use them for reference.
You may also opt for scheduling software like Slack, which allows you to manage employees, edit schedules, and even assign the right task to the right employees.
Employee Training, and Hiring Process in Restaurant Setting:
Technology is the kingpin of each high-value learning program offered in every successful restaurant. It isn’t a new trend, though.
Businesses have been using technology since early electronic ages to train employees. In most cases, they used overhead projectors and TVs, etc. to teach the employees of their companies’ culture.
This trend isn’t ending anytime soon. Today restaurants and other hospitality businesses use ‘meeting’ software like hangouts to train recruits.
For communication purposes, Smartphone chat apps and social networking sites help streamline the business environment. From emails to video chats and video conferences via social networking apps like Skype, and WhatsApp, etc., technology helps eliminate the need for you to be physically present to chair a meeting or pass information to your subordinates and other staff members.
Other systems like Project Management Software (PMS) also let you delegate tasks to your employees, and review tasks, etc. Your managers can also supervise daily activities in the workplace with ease to ensure all things are on track.
Technology helps ensure accountable, efficient, and timely task delivery in the business. These tools also come in handy when you need to perform other management duties like risk assessments. They relay timely alerts anytime a task is not handled correctly and could lead to project failure.
How Technology Have Shaped Online Payment and Security Landscape in the Hospitality Sector?
As a business owner, your primary goal is to maximize profits and minimize losses. You also never wish to put your clients into financial jeopardy due to frauds etc.
Because of this, if you’re a tech-savvy restaurateur, your first goal would be to introduce an online payment system. This should help you accept cashless payments from your customers via the internet.
It should also help you reduce transaction costs and other costs due to the printing of receipts etc. Finally, it should save your time and increase sales.
Now, as much as online payment using mobile phones and credit cards is cost-effective, they’re flawed by one significant risk; vulnerability to internet fraud.
When an online fraud is successful, it cannot only increase the expenses in your business but also cripple it financially. It would also harm your reputation to a considerable scale.
This issue shouldn’t scare you anyway. You can always solve this problem is using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificates. These certificates work by securing the data transferred from your clients to the business website.
They offer you critical security measures, which ensure that your clients’ data are safe 24/7. The SSL certificates also boost your reputation by showing proof of your real identity. You should buy affordable SSL certificate from SSL2BUY.
How Technology Boosted Workplace Safety in Restaurants
To protect your employees from common restaurant safety risks, e.g., burns, scalds, slips, falls and sprains, etc. you need a dedicated program. Not any program but one which will monitor workplace safety and give you critical safety alerts.
This is where the health and safety apps for restaurants also come in. They’re built to help you increase productivity in the business and protect your employees and visitors from potential hazards.
They also streamline your day to day management activities, train your employees, note any workplace obstacles do audits and inspections as well as enable team members to collaborate. Generally, these appshelp you manage the business’ health and safety programs remotely as well as comply with the OSHA regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations, it’s a requirement that you have internal policies which mitigate the risks of workplace injuries and death. You must train your employees on how the equipment works and provide them with safety gears.
OSHA also requires that you provide safe working conditions for your employees. This may involve coming up with critical internal policies which adhere to your state’s federal laws e.g., mitigating kitchen risks like fires, burns, and falls, etc.
In compliance with these rules, tech-savvy restaurateurs use the health and safety apps. These apps are reliable and efficient because they give your health and safety team access to all facilities in the business.
They also boost your brand’s security culture, making it easy to monitor incidents/areas which are difficult to access. They also help you compile data for different EHS programs. All this work together to give you actionable insights on any risks in the facility.
AI and Automation
To exceed consumer expectation, the foodservice industry, which is already churning billions of dollars in yearly revenue with 2.1 percent of US GDP, business owners in this sector are also venturing intoArtificial Intelligence [AI] and automation.
Here’s how the business leaders in this sector utilize AI and automation;
The application of Artificial Intelligence and Automation in the food service industry sectors like restaurants can be divided into four major categories. These include the use of Chatbots, Application robots, Recommendation engines, and touch screen kiosks.
1. Touchscreen kiosks
Big and small restaurants can use ‘Self kiosks’ to minimize the client’s waiting time and boost their order experience. These kiosks use a touchscreen functionality which is integrated into the restaurant’s Point of Sale (POS) system. Most businesses prefer them because they make order processing quick as easy.
2. Chatbots and Apps
Modern restaurants don’t need physical attendants to respond to customer queries. Instead, the chatbots, virtual assistants, and apps make it easy to engage clients, respond to their questions, process them, and customize their orders.
3. Recommendation Engines
These are special software which is creatively designed to help customers select meals according to their preferences. They present restaurants with a clever and fun way of engaging their prospects and enhancing their User Experience (UX).
AI-driven robots ensure easy and quick food production and delivery. In Japan, the use of robots to serve food has been started already.
5. Automation software
As far as the daily operations of the business are concerned, it’s also prudent that you engage with your client base. With the current wave of technological advancements, you don’t have to hold seminars or roadside promotions for your business.
Once you have a dedicated social media pages, you can use any of the marketing automation tools to post engaging contents on your pages. It’s, however crucial that you don’t overly promote yourself as this would turn off some of your clients.
Business marketing is a continual process. Just like in every sector, a restaurant business also demands that you be on top of your game to outclass competitors. Be sure to respond to customer complaints on time and observe strict online hygiene like using legitimate SSL certificates to avoid any risks of cyber-attacks.