In every industry, it is important for business owners to learn and understand more about how technology can shape and future-proof their business success. In the restaurant and hospitality industry, it can be easy to rely on old tactics – after all, if it’s not broken, why fix it? – and if you’re still taking orders on a paper pad, then you’re definitely not alone.
But, in recent years, there have been huge advancements in technology which lend themselves perfectly to the restaurant industry. This means that you can use this technology within your business in order to streamline some of your business operations or to help make decision-making that much easier and more informed.
For restaurant owners, it’s easy to understand why you may be wary of adopting technology within your business. Having that personal service and relationship with diners is what keeps them coming back and, for so long, any technical advances (such as self-serve screens in fast food restaurants and QR-code-based menus as a result of the pandemic) have removed that personal touch to many diner’s experiences.
However, this is no longer the case. The personal aspect is still there, but restaurant owners are using these advances in technology to make changes in other areas of their business, such as automating operations or building their online presence for local diners. Rather than fighting against this eventual automation, it’s important for restaurants to use this technology to digitally innovate their offerings which can, in turn, attract new clientele, improve their customer service and boost their overall revenue. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 3 tech-led ways in which restaurants can improve their restaurants.
Create A Welcoming Space
We’re living in an era where access to fine-dining establishments is easier and more budget-friendly than ever. For local restaurants and eating establishments that rely upon the community and local-driven business, this intimidation can be felt. Some business owners may ask themselves why people would choose to eat at a local restaurant as opposed to these finer establishments. The answer is comfort and familiarity. These larger, fine-dining restaurants are often there for the wow factor, they want to shock and impress their diners at the same time. But, often, along the way they lose track of what it is that a lot of diners are actually looking for – and that is good food, in a nice, relaxed and comfortable environment.
Within your restaurant, you might not have had a redesign in a number of years, if at all. But it is important to change the way in which your restaurant looks if you want to keep things interesting for diners. With this, you can use technology to redesign or reformat your restaurant. There are softwares available which allows you to digitally redesign your restaurant before spending money on the redesign or instructing a hospitality fit out company. You can also look at how well your current design works or whether this goes against the natural flow of diners, and whether there are ways in which you can improve this, making it more comfortable for your diners, and perhaps even streamlining the ways in which your waiters and waitresses operate.
For your outdoor spaces, if applicable, you can use this software to make this into a cosy dining nook, perfect for all year round, for guests to enjoy. There have even been advancements in the ways that artificial grass is created and designed which make it better suited for hard-wearing areas, such as in outdoor dining spaces, and more comfortable underfoot for diners. There are companies providing artificial grass in Melbourne and other areas where you can get quality materials if you are considering a redesign of your outdoor area.
Build Your Social Media Presence
Social media is so much more than just having an outdated Facebook profile these days. When utilised properly, it can be a huge driving factor for getting more guests into your restaurant and sat down dining, but you just need to know how. As a restaurant owner, you can’t miss out on the reach and connectivity that social media provides in this day and age. Compared to traditional methods, such as billboards, newspaper adverts or radio features, social media is instant and has the ability to reach scores of new people. A single post on the right platform can reach thousands of potential diners, all with a few clicks.
To get it right on social media, you need to be dedicated. It is something that needs to be constantly updated or used in order to see results. It can quickly become outdated and potential diners are quick to spot when this is the case. Be sure to get plenty of good-quality photos of your dishes and post these on social media channels for your diners to see. If you’re feeling confident enough, why not consider video content, giving people an insight into the people behind the restaurant and showcasing the personality of your establishment and the staff that work there?
Don’t be afraid to engage with your customers, either. The beauty of social media is that it puts you directly in front of your customers. It’s a cost free way to speak and interact with with your customers and be vocal about why exactly they should dine with you. You can also allow customers to message you should they have any questions prior to their visit, or book tables for large parties.
Improve Your Booking Platform
Diners now want quick and easy ways in which they can book a restaurant, whether this is for a mid-week dining visit or a special occasion. It’s much more convenient for diners to book online through a well-executed booking platform, at a time which suits them, as opposed to having to ring the restaurant during opening times, which might not always be convenient.
Reservation software makes it easier for guests to book, but it also makes it much easier for you to manage when integrated with CRM, but without losing that personal aspect. You can link the guest’s profile to their booking so that you can tailor their experience depending on whether they are a repeat guest or are celebrating a social occasion. Some direct booking platforms eliminate booking fees and allow customers to book directly via your website. Other platforms, such as OpenTable, use consumer networks which drive reservations for your restaurant so that when a guest books through one of these platforms, restaurants just have access to the data submitted, which helps reduce any GDPR headaches. Some of them also offer promotions and advertisements for additional fees, or can place your restaurant higher in search results to increase the chances of people booking.