Restaurant industry has gone through major unprecedented changes since the pandemic started. The lockdowns have accelerated the use and demand of technology in the restaurant industry as customers now appreciate the convenience tech provide. Restaurant owners need to act fast in incorporating technology into restaurant operations for efficiency and provide innovative digital solutions for customers. More and more restaurant businesses are jumping on the technology bandwagon to cater the quick-service demand on part of customers. To eradicate the repercussions of global pandemic on UK restaurant industry, restaurants are reinventing themselves by automating different parts of businesses which will also help them stay competitive while increasing revenue.
The up and coming technologies that are digitalizing the Industry are:
- Online platforms for ordering food and home-deliveries:
During the past two years, restaurant industry has badly suffered due to ban on in-door dining and strict hygiene regulations imposed. Restaurants have been able to survive and some even thrived by taking orders online and delivering to customer doorsteps. The pandemic has brought more appreciation to digital platforms and food delivery apps as customers have grown accustomed to the comfort of eating at home and safety ensured by contactless services.
This increased demand in the past two years has translated into a trend for the future as well. Having a strong online presence with effective ordering and delivering digital system will not only help restaurants to tap in additional revenue but also makes them less vulnerable to any unforeseen and unfortunate events for instance another Covid wave (delta variant). At the start of pandemic many restaurants didn’t have their own website and apps for order and delivery but now its high time to have in-house digital solutions which will save both money and time. By investing in tech solutions, restaurants will have better access to customers for more connectivity and these in-house softwares can be integrated with other management softwares.
With the help of technology, businesses can operate with contactless financial transactions through various mediums. Online payment systems have gained popularity in the restaurant industry in the past few years with global pandemic accelerating this technology trend. Automation in the payment system streamlines the processes of invoicing, managing and recording financial transactions with more speed and eradicate human error. Digitalization in payments will provide customers access to the different kind of modes for payment available and ensure secure money transfer. Restaurants can integrate the payment modes they provide and build a secure for money transfer.
Online payments inspire confidence in customers as it is deemed the safest way of payment in a Covid-ridden world. Digital strategy for payments also reduce the labour demand amidst the crisis. With the increasing trend of spitting bills among the table of diners, digital calculations will make the process faster for better service.
- Digital devices at restaurants for customers:
Restaurants operating in a service industry have always focused on conventional ways of interacting with the customers, but in the past few years an increased demand for a relatively server-less experience has been seen. Technological advancement has made it possible for restaurants to offer digital solutions for various operations like menu display, ordering and paying. Integrating handheld POS systems has helped the existing restaurants modernized themselves and some are using handheld devices to create a unique selling point.
One of the most popular handheld devices being used across UK are tablets that are placed on tables and integrated with Kitchen system. With customized nutrition on top trending, self-ordering kiosks are gaining popularity on which customers can customize their meals from the menu. These AI technologies can provide useful data about customers ordering history for the purpose of giving suggestions that will help increase the order size and in turn revenue. The interactive interfaces of these gadgets and additional time provided to the staff enhance the customer experience and attracts more customers.
- Ghost Kitchens:
The concept of ghost kitchens is to operate by taking online orders and delivering them through third-party apps. As such kitchens do not need any fancy infrastructure for dining or drive-thru for take-outs, it makes them more desirable in today’s world where restaurants are constantly vulnerable to restrictions and bans.
These virtual kitchens have the capacity to run multiple restaurant brands virtually under its umbrella. The purpose of these cloud kitchens is to maximize the online deliveries of quality food. To stay competitive, restaurants can also operate a ghost kitchen as an add-on with the spare space in their kitchen. Innovative technological systems are used to streamline the operations and reduce the complexity that comes with operating dozens restaurants with numerous menus.
It is imperial for restaurants to create a perfect balance between providing technology and human workforce. Technological solutions can make a lot of operations efficient but their purpose should be to support the human employees not take their place.