In the previous article we have covered how technology is being leveraged to promote and market restaurants with the aid of digital media and online presence. In this article we will focus on how technology is used by restaurant owners to delight customers by providing them a superior dining experience.
Must Have Restaurant Technology for Restaurants
Here we have explained the technological features that cater to easier, and smoother customer service.
1. Online Ordering
Restaurants are now implementing online ordering facilities to simplify home delivery services even more. Customers can go through menu on online ordering tools and place order by themselves without the hassle of explaining their orders over the phone. These online ordering tools also take note of special instructions, extras or preferences to personalize the order and reduce the risks of mixing up orders. There is also no risk of missing orders due to a busy phone line.
A number of online food ordering services have cropped up that provide the technology for restaurants. Food Panda, Tiny Owl etc have collaborated with restaurants that allow users to order from their favorite restaurant online.
Online ordering is especially beneficial for Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) as it ousts missing and mixing of orders.
2. Online Payment
Online payment is the best thing to have happened to both parties – customers and restaurateurs. People no longer need to carry cash or even credit/debit cards with the advent of mobile wallets and online payment tools. Online payment facilities help customers get rid of the hassles of carrying cash, counting and risks of their cash or cards getting stolen. Virtual wallets like Paytm, Momoe, Mobikwik, Citrus etc come exceptionally handy when the customer is out of cash and needs to take trips to nearby ATMs.
It is handy for all type of establishments, ranging from cafes and QSR’s to fine dining restaurants.
3. Cloud Telephony
Cloud telephony is a new technology in restaurant industry which is used to take orders over the phone or make table reservations. So, how is it different from online ordering tools?
In cloud telephony, only one number is designated to the service, while at the backend, it is connected to multiple numbers and operators to receive calls from those numbers. If the first number is busy, the call would automatically be transferred to the next available number and the order or the request of the customer will be attended by operators available to the second line. In this manner, no order gets missed. Cloud telephonic companies like Exotel, Ozonotel etc allow you to run your restaurant smoothly without missing any orders.
Cloud telephony is the most profitable for food outlets that see a lot of home delivery orders. QSR’s and small dining outlets that don’t have a spacious infrastructure make the most out of home delivery and should use cloud telephony to maximize their business.
4. Online Reservation
Online table reservation is another technology that restaurants are using to ease table booking procedures for their customers, at the convenience of the home. The online table reservation interface opens with a virtual layout of the restaurant wherein customers view the table location, availability of tables to select and book tables as per their choice for dining, online. You can use platforms such as dineout, tablegrabber, bookmyrestaurant etc to provide your customers the luxury of booking their table online.
Restaurateurs can significantly boost customer base by digitizing the entire table booking procedure wherein customers don’t need to call maître d’hôtel to inquire for table location, availability, or even, visit restaurants just to book table well ahead in advance.
Fine dining restaurants where guests who don’t like to wait and are particular about their choice of seat, and outlets that are very crowded make the best use of this feature.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) technology is the key to amplify customers and sales in a restaurant. A CRM tool helps restaurateurs register and analyze extensive customer details which aid in promoting the restaurant.
A good CRM stores it all – customers’ contact details and other personal details (such as their birthdays and anniversaries etc.) their order history, food preferences, platforms mostly used for placing orders, their preferred mode of payments, etc. A good CRM can also assist in email marketing, SMS marketing and other digital marketing activities to improve customer base. When linked to a POS system, it has huge potentials to generate useful insights about the best selling items, least selling items, busiest hours and days of the week etc. Therefore, you can create offers and deals based on these reports to maximize your profit. Zoho, Kreato, Soulcrm etc are a few CRM software that are popular among restaurant owners.
CRM’s are a must for all type of food establishment regardles of their size and service.
6. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are the tried and tested methods of achieving repeat customers and attracting new ones. Earlier, cash register staff had to manually input loyalty cards to add, accumulate, and redeem the points earned by customers. Now, restaurateurs can sync loyalty programs with the POS to automate the point calculation process – all that register staff needs to do is to input customers’ names, registered phone numbers or email addresses to get the points added to the system automatically.
Thus, restaurants can ensure customers they won’t miss any opportunities of redeeming points and please their customers by decreasing their bill amounts when points are added to their loyalty cards. Moreover, restaurateurs can integrate multiple loyalty programs to their POS to encourage customers order more and save more on their orders. Accentiv, tlcgroup, LoyltyRewardz are such companies that provide loyalty programs for businesses.
Loyalty programs are an excellent way of customer engagement and droplet marketing, and should be used by all food outlets.
7. Cloud based POS
Are you using or planning to use these restaurant technologies such as loyalty programs, CRM, online reservation, cloud telephony, online payment, online ordering at your eateries? Instead of spending money separately in each of these tools, it is best to get a good cloud POS which includes these all.
Unlike traditional POS, a cloud POS is no longer just limited to billing, but offers a slew of advanced features such as accounting, reports, stock management, menu and recipe management, SMS reminders, feedback management, central customer management, email marketing, taxation, multi store management, offline and mobile report and many more. With a good comprehensive POS at your disposal, you can automate and gain control over the entire restaurant operations.
There are many POS solution providers that provide customized software to suit your establishment. There are niche POS solutions such as Bar POS. Pizza POS, Cafe POS, QSR POS etc that provide a comprehensive solution to all restaurant needs.
Free Wi-Fi facility at restaurants sounds music to the customers’ ears – isn’t it? Why not – with the growing trend of social media shares and check-ins of dining experience, consumers show greater interests in free Wi-Fi enabled joints to shoot and share their experience as they savor the food. Moreover, many cafes, lounges and restaurants invite corporate and tech-savvy diners who carry their laptops and notebooks there to enjoy food and beverage, work solo, meet clients or business associates to mix business and pleasure using free internet connections. Thus, a Wi-Fi enabled restaurant can increase both new and repeat customers. There are a number of internet service providers, such as MTNL, Airtel, BSNL, Nextra that give high speed data connection.
No wonder increased use of technology is being witnessed in restaurant businesses in recent times. Tech-Savvy restaurants are becoming a favorite among customers. From operations to marketing, from menu management to delivery – technology is being widely used to boost customer base and improve customer service. How many of these technologies are you using at your restaurant – let us know in the comments below!