Guest post from Dining Alliance
The restaurant industry is home to some of the most forward-thinking technology on the market. From AI to drone delivery to robotic chefs, technology is not only becoming a necessary part of being a restaurant but an expected one. Restaurant operators should be comfortable adding technology into every aspect of their businesses, from back-of-the-house operations to supply chain management.
At Dining Alliance, we work hard to bring our members the latest restaurant technology. We know that the right technology investments can make or break a restaurant, especially with profit margins being so thin. Below are a few of the top types of technology we see that are here to stay in the restaurant industry—and that you should be implementing into your business.
Online ordering is not just for consumers anymore. Online ordering platforms for restaurant operators give easy access to a variety of distributors who can help them get the products they regularly order at the best prices. FoodBAM is one such online ordering platform for restaurant operators. Christina Donahue, president of Dining Alliance says, “It’s a single online portal that allows operators to compare prices for items across multiple distributors and allows them to order and keep track of inventory in one place.” (Restaurant C-Suite)
FoodBAM’s newest feature is modernizing what it means to execute the grueling task of recipe costing. FoodBAM already tracks up-to-date data on what all of your ingredients cost. Just plug your recipes into the recipe costing tool and the pricing automatically produces an all-in recipe cost that includes your distributors’ prices, price per meal, net profit, waste, labor, and more. For the first time, you can actually set and forget your recipe costing. As prices change in the marketplace, this app will capture and automatically update your recipe costs.
While it may seem like the stuff of the far-reaching future, AI technology is here and present in the restaurant industry—but it may not be how you think. Consider Predictive Ordering. Several restaurant inventory management software companies use the data they compile from operators’ POS systems and ordering guides, to better manage their inventory and keep them up to stock on items they buy regularly, what’s running low, and viable product replacements might be available.
AI is also making its way to operators through products like Alexa and Google home. According to FoodNewsFeed.com, “SevenRooms recently announced a planned integration to bring voice-enabled tools to the in-service experience. Think, “Hey Alexa, where are my VIP guests sitting tonight?” or “Hey Alexa, do any of my tables have a peanut allergy?” The applications of voice technology are far-reaching, helping restaurant staff to communicate more easily, keep track of guests more seamlessly and as a result, provide a better experience to all diners.”
More Restaurant Automation
Delivery. POS systems. Tableside ordering devices. Restaurant automation is taking hold of the diner experience as well as changing the landscape for restaurant operators. Whether you’re using guest retention platforms like TableUp that can manage your reservations and then automate continued guest engagement and marketing or utilizing tableside devices to automate the server experience, this type of technology impacts your guest experiences and labor costs.
According to TableUp, “Convenience is often a deciding factor when it comes to dining decisions. Offering online ordering for takeout and mobile ordering at the table are ways that restaurants can get and keep guests’ attention.”
Restaurants like Spyce even use fully automated robots to make bowls to order for consumers. According to Restaurant Business, “Deploying automated solutions for back-of-house tasks that are physically difficult or hazardous can also take some of the burdens off the human staff, thereby making kitchen jobs more appealing to workers, which could potentially help in labor retention and thus reduce costs associated with onboarding and training.”
And with labor retention staying as one of the top worries of operators, this type of automation seems more and more beneficial.
Server Training and Sales Incentives
Smart operators can make use of the technology tools that are already in their employees’ pockets to drive employee engagement, retention, and, ultimately, sales. Incentive platforms like Tipzyy allow managers to set up games and contests for their bar and wait staff in order to incentivize sales of specific drinks and menu items.
The software comes complete with easy educational components to teach servers about different beers, wines, and cocktails, and contest modules to help operators sell more of their most profitable menu items. Tipzyy uses mobile technology to make it easy for operators to educate servers and incentivize their performance at every shift. Restaurants benefit from increased sales, better customer experience, and a boost to employee engagement and staff retention.
Interested in learning more about restaurant technologies that could benefit your business? Connect with Dining Alliance today to learn more about restaurant trends, innovative technology, and more.