Big trends in technology for restaurants and takeaways: what problems are being solved in 2015?
There are restaurants and takeaways in the world that are starting to look as though they have been beamed back from the future. Some seem to be trying to automate nearly every aspect of their business. So what are the sorts of developments in restaurant technology that are happening in 2015? We’ve taken a look at some key areas of and it’s clear that technology is playing a bigger and bigger role in restaurant operations. At the same time some of the technological trends that are appearing seem to be just for fun or at least more about getting people talking about the restaurant than helping to solve business problems.
From menus and ordering, to booking tables and taking payments, the tech revolution has been greatly influenced by today’s internet dependency; customers have come to expect an online presence – and online ordering - from most businesses they buy from. Many customers won’t be aware of a restaurant or takeaway if it has no online presence.
And of course, since mobile phones are the crutches that some customers depend on, many restaurants and takeaways have produced mobile websites and apps so that customers can interact whilst on the go.
Improving communication with customers
Using the internet customers can book a table using an online booking system that lets them know what space is available for what time, they can also order food online from restaurants and takeaways to be delivered or collected in person. These services are becoming widespread and can be great time savers for both business and customers. And because they are online, customers can review the services they use easily, giving a restaurant very quick direct feedback from its diners. This can happen in many different ways, for example: online surveys, feedback boxes, social media, table top ordering systems and specially designed kiosks in the restaurant or takeaway.
Tech to run your restaurant
As far as in-house technology for restaurants goes, EPOS systems (electronic point of sale) have been around for a long time and are the obvious place to start. These systems enable the efficient organisation of a restaurant’s staff, sales and bookings. Many aspects of the day-to-day working of an establishment are taken care of. From stocktaking, rota organisation, total and change, receipts, payroll and bookkeeping, EPOS systems can simplify and streamline the running a restaurant so the owners and managers can focus on delivering a good service.
With the development of new EPOS systems with cloud-based storage, the information on your restaurant can be stored and accessed online securely, so that business can be tracked and monitored from anywhere in the world. Tablet computers have also helped to bring down the cost of EPOS – there is no longer a need for special till computers and screens when an iPad will do the job more cheaply and effectively.
Electronic ordering at the table
Slowly but surely some establishments are trying to phase out the use of human employees thereby increasing the automated aspect of their business. With a tabletop ordering system, there is no waiter taking your order, and these systems can even let you pay at the table without the need for an employee. All of these futuristic trends are geared towards saving money and time whilst also acting as a novelty factor that is sure to bring in many curious customers.
Some restaurants and takeaways have taken the use of technology to the next level. It seems as though some businesses are trying to utilise their space to accommodate as many customers as possible. To do this they have had to re-think how to get the food to the table when there is little or no space between them. The answer: robots. Some restaurants are getting the food and drink orders out to their customers using machines or robots. The sushi conveyor belt is a simple example but we are bound to see more elaborate and novel approaches in the years ahead. Some robots can even make drinks and cocktails for customers, though it’ll be a while before this becomes cost-effective.
All of these trends solve different problems that restaurants and takeaways may encounter. The main ones are improving speed and reducing costs. Automated and electronic systems mean that what used to be a job of the employee, manager or even owner are now being taken care of with very little effort at all. All restaurant activity can be automatically tracked and collected by the software being used, making it a lot easier for owners to understand and improve their business. Along with this, of course, is reduction in labour costs; a restaurant that runs using electronic systems such as table-top ordering and payments doesn’t need as many employees to keep up with demand. Although for most this level of technology is still a novelty, for others it may soon become a fundamental way of doing business.