Technology and hardware transforming restaurant businesses

Technology continues to grow in importance for restaurants. That’s why it’s necessary to invest in new tech and ensure your spot is up to date, or even in front of, the current industry trends. But how do you keep up with rapid changes in the always-evolving technology space and meet the needs of your customers head-on at your restaurant? We’ve listed the latest tech and hardware that can help run an efficient setup, leaving you to focus on what you do best: create culinary dining experiences that delight your guests.

Digital menus

The pandemic led to eateries pivoting in several ways, from upping the ante with delivery services to online menus allowing diners to order with a few clicks at the restaurant. Yet, the latter was already emerging as a popular dining choice with guests before Covid.

Being able to scan a QR code and order from an online menu provides a more efficient service and can speed up the ordering process. It also lets diners pay for their food on the spot, offering them more convenience and control over their experience. You can use OpenTable to create as many QR codes as you need: for your wine list, the day’s specials, as well as special diet menus, like gluten-free or vegan.

Not only does order and pay at the table give your guests a faster way to get their meal, but it helps improve table turn times and provides valuable data insights into what your guests order. You can tap into the data and learn more about the dishes most popular with diners, as all of their ordering information is stored digitally.

Customer loyalty programs

Customers closer to receiving loyalty rewards are increasingly likely to spend more, which is great news for your restaurant. Offering dining rewards is not necessarily new, but automating them via a digital platform adds a new layer and appeal to loyalty programs.

Instead of capturing that information with a stamp on a piece of card, you can save time and money thanks to technology. The best loyalty program software integrates into your POS systems and diner smartphones, giving both parties a way to check account details with ease.

Having the ability to check their status on a smartphone means they’re more likely to keep up to date with rewards, which increases the chances of participation in the program. And from your point of view, you have a seamless way to track customers’ reward accounts and stay on top of rewards.

Online booking systems

Online booking systems have been around for a while now, and their longevity only showcases how important they are with restaurants. You can use an online booking system like OpenTable to curate an entire culinary experience for your guests before they set foot through your doors.

Diners can see available slots and make their own booking, which gives them more control. But giving guests the option to book a table is only a small part of the experience. With OpenTable’s restaurant management platform, you can manage seating, waitlists and enjoy more transparency over your restaurant.

Ramp up your marketing efforts too, using OpenTable to tap into different aspects of marketing so you can boost revenue. Increase reach and get more eyes on your spot, and use data reports to better understand how the restaurant performs.
You can improve guest relationships, allowing them to pre-pay and book experiences for a unique meal moment to remember. Plus, with options like automated email campaigns and guest scorecards, you can stay on top of every aspect of your spot – from marketing to staff performance.

POS systems

Point of sale systems have become an integral part of a restaurant’s make-up. Long gone are the days of manually inputting diner information for the majority of restaurants. Yet, POS systems are constantly evolving, and the last five years has seen a shift to cloud technology.

Moving to the cloud provides operational benefits to restaurant owners, thanks to more convenient workflows for taking orders and handling payments. POS systems have also become more integrated, connecting with other technologies to give restaurants one seamless ecosystem, whether it’s online ordering, guest-facing tech or even kitchen display systems.

OT4R (OpenTable for restaurants) integrates with multiple POS systems, giving restaurants a smoother running and faster turn of house. From checking shift revenue to automatic table status updates and more, get important insights into your restaurant. Another benefit to integration is automatic table statusing, which lets the host know the status of every table without having to leave the host stand. This helps turn tables faster and seat guests more quickly from the waitlist. Keeping up with the latest POS trends is vital to maximising the output of your restaurant and continuing to find ways to boost revenue.

Kitchen display screens

You will struggle to find somewhere more hectic than a restaurant kitchen. It’s a mile a minute and often in intense heat. Many restaurants use printed chits to keep on top of their orders, but it’s worth exploring kitchen display screens (KDS) to keep up with food and drink orders.

Compared to traditional printers, KDS is more environmentally friendly as it’s 100 per cent digital. It also saves restaurants a myriad of problems, such as chits getting smudged on grease or getting lost with staff left unsure about who ordered what.

Kitchen display screens are usually mounted on the wall, away from ingredients, pots and pans. Consequently, they help the kitchen stay organised and offer a more transparent way to keep track of orders. They also integrate with the POS, improving ordering speed, occurrence and the guest’s experience in the process.

Summary: restaurant tech to delight staff and diners

There’s so much tech out there, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming knowing what works best for your restaurant. But think about the operation and your set-up and prioritise sections that need the most improvement. Then you can look at tech like OpenTable’s restaurant management, POS systems and contactless payment to create more efficiency and, most importantly, a better experience for diners that will see them coming back for your great food and seamless set-up.

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