Technology continues to assume an increasingly important role in the restaurant industry, with a growing number of restaurant operators implementing a variety of solutions to increase sales and differentiate their establishments from the pack. Here are four restaurant technology trends that your competitors are using now and that you may want to consider to give your restaurant an edge:
1. Use of automatic messaging channels
Many restaurants now create offers and messages and send them to specific customers or consumer groups (e.g., VIP and loyalty program members). Message topics can include ads about daily specials, news of promotions, special events, or new services such as catering, curbside pickup, or delivery.
Restaurants are sending messages via text, email, or other automatic messaging channel, but there are some tips about this restaurant technology trend to keep in mind, for example, text messages are probably preferable to emailed messages. According to Salesforce’s State of Mobile Marketing report, text messages carry an open rate of 98 percent, versus 22 percent for email messages. Tying messages into a loyalty app can also be effective. The report states 55 percent of U.S. consumers queried said they have made purchases directly after receiving loyalty-based texts, QR codes, and discounts.
2. Growth of new payment technologies
No list of current restaurant technology trends is complete without a discussion of emerging payment technologies. Mobile wallet adoption is growing, with 20 percent of smartphone-owning respondents to a National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey stating that they use a mobile app at least once a month to pay at restaurants. Moreover, 39 percent said they would use mobile wallet payment in a restaurant if the option is available. This makes near field communications (NFC) technology important to consider. NFC allows you to accept mobile wallet payments such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, and to cultivate the business of the growing number of customers with mobile wallets in the future.
EMV chip card transactions are also becoming more common in U.S. restaurants. Customers increasingly expect to make chip card transactions as adoption grows, and restaurants can protect themselves from liability for payment card fraud and chargebacks.
3. More mobile POS
Mobile POS (mPOS) is high on the list of restaurant technology trends. mPOS streamlines operations by enabling line busting during busy times and allowing wait staff to perform POS functions anywhere in the restaurant. Servers can place orders on tablets or other mPOS devices right from customers’ tables, saving time and improving order accuracy. mPOS devices make the ordering process more customer-focused and relaxed, increasing the potential for successful upselling. The end-result: increased customer satisfaction. In addition, orders transmitted to the kitchen via mPOS devices reach their destinations faster, improving service time and table turns.
4. Online ordering explosion
Online ordering is rising to the top of the restaurant technology trends list. Online ordering capabilities fulfill customers’ ever-increasing desire to save time and avoid lines. Restaurants that have introduced online ordering are, by most estimates, seeing the size of their average takeout or delivery order increase by 20 percent or more, likely because customers don’t feel pressured to complete their orders quickly to keep a line moving. Online ordering also facilitates curbside pickup, which can be a viable new revenue stream for restaurants.
These restaurant technology trends are growing because they address the needs to today’s time-crunched tech-savvy consumer. Evaluate your operation to see how you are meeting your customers’ needs and giving them the fast, convenient experiences they are looking for.