Technology has quickly become a growing and demanding topic entering the restaurant world. From mobile ordering and POS systems to back of house food and beverage inventory management systems, technology has become a staple of operations nationwide. It’s important to consider technology platforms that touch all of the areas of your restaurant, from credit card processors like Fattmerchant, to accounting management software. This year, Dining Alliance took a survey of hundreds of our members to learn more about what technology they are interested in learning more about. Below are the 4 hot topics on restaurant owners’ minds.
Front of House Mobile Ordering and Delivery
As consumers become more accustomed to fast casual restaurants like Starbucks offering mobile ordering, they’re looking more and more for their local restaurants to offer the same courtesy. Companies like LevelUp offer independent restaurants access to mobile ordering, but at a higher price to the restaurant and owners are interested in alternatives or other more affordable systems.
In conjunction with the rising demand for delivery, these mobile ordering systems are becoming more than a luxury item for operators as consumers’ appetites for food-on-demand continues to grow. However, many independent restaurants and smaller chains do not have the staff to manage in-house delivery options and the cumbersome and expensive charge of third party delivery apps like Uber eats and Grubhub can be catastrophic to their bottom line. NRN.com interviewed several restaurant owners on their take on delivery including Russell Bendel, CEO and president of Irvine, Calif.-based Habit Restaurants Inc. who said his burger chain was looking at delivery as well. He noted, “’We’ve met with all of the third-party delivery companies,’ Bendel said. ‘People want convenience, but we’re not willing to give 30-plus percent of proceeds to a third-party delivery company.’” As demand grows, we’re keeping an eye on how smaller restaurants can compete with delivery or push through with using alternative mobile ordering systems that can better benefit their thin profit margins.
Credit Card Processing Systems
When paying for low-cost to high-cost items, consumers mainly choose to use their credit cards (60% for low-cost and 90% for high-cost). That’s why it’s so important to make sure you find a payment technology company for your restaurant that’ll make it easy and affordable to accept this form of payment. Traditional payment providers tack on large percentage markups to transactions that result in a huge expense for restaurant owners. We understand that cash flow is everything to a restaurant, and paying a variable percentage of your sales just isn’t ideal. With Fattmerchant, restaurant owners enjoy simple subscription-style pricing, which means you keep more of your hard earned profits.
Back of House Food and Beverage Ordering
For back of house, managing inventory and keeping up with food and beverage ordering in the past has been, in a word, cumbersome. From cross-checking and calculating price increases, to referencing various contracts to ensure you’re purchasing the right things, food and beverage ordering as well as inventory management has been a slow and paper-filled routine. However, as restaurants big and small move to more advanced means of ordering, mobile food and beverage ordering systems become increasingly important. Technology companies are entering the restaurant industry and offering smarter and better ways for operators to order their food and beverage. Systems like FoodBAM, an online food and beverage ordering and inventory management system allows its clients to have a comparison view of the items they need and find the best pricing. Plus, it helps manage inventory and alerts users when it’s time to restock.
Social Media Management and Tools
According to an industry report from Toast, the most common platform for restaurant advertising in 2017 is social media and is utilized by 75% of restaurateurs. While most restaurateurs know it’s not only important but integral in this day and age to have a social presence, many struggle to find the time to manage it consistently. And who can blame them? Between management, inventory, sales, and physical customers in the door, it’s no wonder there’s little time to ensure you post content regularly and respond to customer concerns and comments. While larger restaurant chains may be able to hire a PR or social media team to facilitate these needs, independent restaurants often don’t have the budget. Curious about ways to save time and money on a crucial need, our survey revealed that over 40% of the chefs and owners of the restaurants we surveyed were interested in social media tools.
Dining Alliance is a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO), catered towards helping independent restaurants succeed. Dining Alliance’s mission is to make our members more profitable by offering them access to benefits and purchasing power that would not otherwise be available to them. Our members have the opportunity take advantage of a wide array of benefits including pricing contracts, savings programs, employee perk programs and marketing opportunities. Contact us today to learn more at diningalliance.com.