Here’s the obvious point of the day: information technology enables better communication among many people, whether in business or not.
Restaurant managers know this well. It takes many types of relationships to keep a dining establishment afloat. So, it’s no surprise that leading restaurants have embraced technology wholly.
Make no mistake – the production of good food and provision of courteous service are any eatery’s top priorities. But technology has seeped into these jobs, often in ways that remove friction from the experience, thus improving the lines of communication that propel profits.
Before diners arrive, they engage with restaurants online. They research restaurants, they make reservations – and, more and more, they will even pre-order meals.
They walk in the door to find the host has their reservation and is ready to seat them. But simply being seated in a restaurant doesn’t always put an end to a diner’s online activities. Digital menus help facilitate ordering, and digital advertising within the restaurant can help make their choice easier than ever before. When the food arrives, many diners post photos of their meals on social networks, along with the name and location of the establishment, which nurtures the restaurant’s organic advertising.
None of this would be possible without in-house Wi-Fi – one of the biggest implementations of restaurant technology in the past decade. Offering guests free Wi-Fi is a small price to pay for happy, loyal customers. They’re able to browse the web while they wait for their seat, quickly check-in or post pictures on social media, facilitate conversations and learn more about your restaurant through a customized captive portal.
Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have also kept up. In-store ordering kiosks are transforming diner experiences around the world, making it easier and faster to get their food. This also helps restaurant managers relocate staff needed to man cash registers to busier areas such as food preparation, waiting tables or cleaning up around the restaurant.
When you issue tablets to staff, they can speed up your restaurant’s performance. Servers can quickly and easily send orders directly from the table to the kitchen, diminishing the risk of error and ensuring your customers get exactly what they ordered. They can use the tablets as mobile points of sale (POS) and issue digital receipts, which many eco-conscious patrons appreciate these days.
One thing you want to watch out for, however, is making sure any restaurant devices are connected only to a private Wi-Fi network separate from your guest Wi-Fi in order to ensure complete and utter security.
Employees may accomplish work tasks faster using their own mobile devices if restaurants outfit them with a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy and access to a secure employee network. With a separate employee-based Wi-Fi network, you can enable tasks like clocking in for a shift, receiving pay stubs and accessing training and Q&A, all from the convenience of a smartphone. Automating these seemingly menial tasks saves time, energy and money for your business.
All of these restaurant technologies wouldn’t be possible if not for one key factor – the integration of Wi-Fi. We think of Wi-Fi simply as a tool to gain more traction or more attention in the restaurant world, but neglecting all of the other facets of Wi-Fi implementation would be an oversight.
There are definitely a multitude of other ways you can take advantage of restaurant technology – inventory and ingredient management, loyalty programs, and social media, just to name a few.
This list is far from comprehensive – and it might not ever be complete. Internet technology is constantly changing and therefore there will always be untapped resources that haven’t been considered yet, but we look forward to learning about them when they surface. Make sure your establishment’s network can handle all these bytes as customers enjoy the bites they take in your establishment.