Growing your business
Get Started: New Year, New Tech for your Restaurant Business
Hospitality and technology are a dish best served together; albeit, within the right context of course. Whether in casual dining establishments such as a McDonalds or Burger King, or a high-end restaurant reserved for special occasions, technology is a near necessity in the modern world of business – a seventh sense that one cannot and should not fully ignore.
A website here, or an innovative branded mobile app there, technology is thwart throughout the hospitality sector, and can make a buck or be a detriment to your business. This week we’re discussing the best uses of technology in restaurants and whether or not your business should concede to the needs of the customer, or try things a little differently.
The Infamous EPOS System
A shining example of how technology can enhance your business is through the use of an innovative and interconnected EPOS (electric point of sale) system.
Many restaurants are given to use a modern tablet system when taking orders and dishing out the dishes, cutting out the possibility of human error and making efficiency the be-all and end-all of their service. Take Wetherspoons for instance, a gastro pub with a particularly innovative mobile app which allows customers to order and pay for drinks at the tap of a thumb. Thus, cutting out the need for the customer to stumble over to the bar, order, wait and then pay for their desired beverages. It allows customers to relax in the knowledge that they are being catered for, albeit from afar, and since 51% of customers, according to Ordamo, are annoyed by having to the bar counter to order, that’s over half your target consumers supplied and satisfied by a simple mobile app.
Additionally, an integrated EPOS system can help to omit your staff of hindering activities such as walking to and from the kitchen/bar in order to check customer orders or to pick up card payment machines. Utilise an app and it’s all done for you, well, most of it at least.
As Nigel Hislop, President and Managing Director of Global Payments UK, says: “Payment technology is supposed to simplify and speed-up processes, so if the staff have to run back and forth between till and customer, the technology is not fit for the purpose”.
If you update the tech you use and forego any hinderances caused by outdated payment systems, then that’s a win-win for both staff and customers alike, making it easier to organise orders and make that all-important sale.
Do You Take Bookings?
Technology can seem contradictory when running high-end dining establishment that promotes the experience rather than the efficiency, but it’s never good to fully reject modernisation. Do the little things, like creating a website that makes it easier for potential customers to find, research and book tables at your illustrious establishment. Modern online booking tools are so advanced now that they can assimilate with company calendars and staff timetables, while alerting customers of the potential waiting time for a table and how many bookings are ahead of them. This way customers are suitably informed while the owner and staff made aware of the incoming business.
According to Call Systems Technology Commercial Director, Ashley Shepard, technology is fervently in the customer camp at the moment: “checking out an operator, together with a plethora of dining options, [then making] a decision [and adding] to a waiting list from their phone”.
So, consider a website if anything, and try utilising keywords to enable search engines to raise awareness to your company and alert any potential customers that may be looking for a little care and attention.
If you’d rather keep things traditional at your establishment, don’t fully ignore modern technology, but perhaps consider a tech-free night once per week. Instagram is a perfect platform to get customers reacting and reviewing your signature dishes, however it can seem a little disconnected at times.
The Heliot Steakhouse, situated within the Hippodrome Casino in London, combats this by implementing No-Tech Tuesdays; encouraging customers to refrain from their phones and take part in the archaic system of communication called ‘talking’. This is great, as it caters to those who would rather put their phones away during dinner, while only limiting it to one day a week.
Simon Thomas, CEO of Hippodrome Casino has since celebrated this inclusion, stating that they’ve “had a fantastic response to No-Tech Tuesdays [… flying] in the face of the new tradition of instantly putting your experience of a restaurant on social media” by having some fun and savouring the moment.
As you can see, technology and hospitality go hand-in-hand, and the idea of completely ignoring modern advancements can impede your business. It’s up to you how to proceed but we here at Liberis would encourage that you consider integrating new technologies as part of your business plan, if only to bolster your influence and increase potential footfall.
Moreover, if you need some extra cash to permit said changes, then consider taking out a Business Cash Advance. This is our simpler, speedier funding solution that only garners repayment through card sales at the point when your business starts to make money from it. How great is that?