The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great damage to the hospitality industry, leaving thousands of restaurant businesses hanging by a thread. But with every crisis comes an opportunity. For many coffee shops and family restaurants, going digital was the last chance to survive during lockdowns. Eagerly anticipating the end of the Covid nightmare, all restaurant owners breathed a sigh of relief when governments lifted restrictions.
But with diners flooding the restaurants, the frail industry has been hit with unprecedented supply chains disruptions, increased gas prices, staff shortages, and inflation. Indeed, when it rains, it pours. But in such uncertainty, businesses have no time to feel sorry for themselves. The most nimble adapt and thrive.
Amid the logistics chaos, there’s one constant that delivers results and helps restaurants navigate the challenges of today. Welcome to the digital revolution, the age where tech adoption is the difference between success and failure.
In this article, we’ll show you how restaurants use the latest technology trends and advancements to offer their guests the ultimate experience and satisfaction, even when the shelves are emptying and the prices are soaring.
Real-time menus are the new normal
Laminated paper menus could soon be a thing of the past, and that’s not an exaggeration. Not only do you have to disinfect them every time a guest makes an order, but now with all the disruptions, you’ll have to reprint your menu every other week.
Having real-time menu pricing on your website, where you can easily and quickly update the prices anytime, will help with variable costs. When the markets are so erratic, every penny saved seems like a fortune.
A restaurant menu builder with real-time ordering on your site gives you the freedom to substitute any food items during supply shortages. It is flexible and supports any dish-specifics. Best of all, with just a few adjustments, you can easily integrate it on your website without going over the budget.
QR codes engage customers like never before
QR codes are creeping their way into the average consumer’s life more and more every day. Invented by a Japanese engineer in 1994 to keep track of car parts more easily, quick response codes are now a usual sight at bars, coffee shops, fast-food chains, and even old-school sit-down restaurants.
A QR code is a type of barcode placed on a physical object that you can scan with your mobile phone and access specific information related to that object. During the pandemic, QR codes have replaced the paper menus for obvious reasons, but most restaurants aren’t quick to dismiss them now that the health measures have been relaxed.
On the contrary, many creative places are doubling down on QR codes and using them to gather valuable feedback. Unlike a physical menu with limited space, with a QR code, you can display unlimited content about your restaurant and the food you offer.
You can also use the QR codes to create fun activities for your guests while they’re waiting for their order. Let your guests play quizzes and test their culinary knowledge, and reward them with freebies and discounts.
QR codes offer customers a convenient way to place an order and pay using smartphones. You can further engage them by asking them to download your mobile app or follow your social media pages.
Mobile apps increase brand awareness
You won’t surprise anyone by bragging about your website, but tell your customers to download your new shiny mobile app, and they will happily oblige. Apps are so appealing to us because they offer a personalized experience and allow us to access our favorite products or services with just a few taps.
According to Statista, 67% of consumers in the United States, prefer using a restaurant’s own app or website for food delivery. Meanwhile, the remaining 33 percent order food via third-party apps instead. These numbers alone should convince you to invest in your own restaurant app.
Restaurants offering mobile apps are already ahead of the competition, and now is the perfect time to catch them. A lightweight and intuitive app will elevate your brand to unparalleled exposure, all while boosting customer engagement and dining experience.
Costumers can use the app to browse your menu, make reservations, order online, leave feedback, and update their dining preferences. They can also track their reward points and discounts and share their experience directly on social media.
A mobile app also reduces the lines and optimizes online ordering for pickup and delivery. It streamlines a lot of processes and allows you to focus on getting the necessary supplies and ensure your guests don’t miss out on their favorite dish.
Robotics and AI join the party
When things get tough, a little help from our digital friends makes all the difference. With global supply chains in tatters, restaurant owners are anxious to keep customer satisfaction levels high. How do you keep serving that fresh guacamole all the time?
Enter high-end robotics and artificial intelligence. The robots from Boston dynamics are already working full-time in the logistics market, so you don’t have to schedule your already thin staff to move packages off the truck and into the kitchen.
Another AI innovation such as Obrisk ensures that restaurant businesses aren’t over ordering. In these uncertain times, it’s imperative to reduce food waste and lost resources, and Obriks does exactly that by scanning plates of food and detecting what items are thrown away.
If your restaurant is struggling with a specific challenge, turn your attention to technology, and you may find the right solution. And if you have an idea or vision of how technology can solve a striking problem, build it yourself. Who knows, it could well be the next big thing to shape the entire industry.
The restaurant industry has never been more reliant on technology than it is today. The accelerated growth of ghost kitchens or cooking facilities that produce food only for delivery and takeout is the best indicator of technology acceptance.
Restaurants that embrace digital transformation have the opportunity to capture tremendous gains in revenue and guest loyalty. If you don’t know where to start, we can guide your restaurant business through a smooth digital transition in these changing times.