Restaurant technology is continuously evolving, as restaurants look for new ways to improve several areas of their operations like customer service, backend functions, and employee training.
Most restaurants in the UK have kept pace with the level of technological development, like pen-and-paper orders to waiter pads. However, while there has been a lot of progress made, there is always room to grow. Hence, we will be discussing the future of restaurant technology in three specific areas: EPOS systems, machine learning and online booking systems.
You need to be aware of these developments if you wish to stay ahead of the competition.
Once devised as a way to facilitate payments, EPOS functionality is now expanding to include back-end and front-end functions, to the point where it has become the central operating tool for restaurants. EPOS systems will become more intelligent, seamlessly connecting with other backend and frontend technologies. If restaurants are using third-party technology for payment, booking or back-end operations, it will be connected through a centralised EPOS system. The result is better insights into customer preferences because every step of the customer flow, from booking to payment is recorded in the EPOS system.
EPOS restaurant technology continues to evolve by becoming more scalable and flexible. There has been a steady shift away from EPOS systems (where employees initially had to enter data manually), to EPOS systems where functionality includes APIs and bespoke project development. EPOS systems are also becoming more mobile.
It will soon be possible for restaurant owners to access inventory management, analytics and other back-end operations through their smartphones, expanding the system’s functionality indefinitely.
Machine learning refers to technology that can learn functions and trends without being thought by an external user. The technology is already being used in the finance industry to reduce the incidents of bank fraud, but can also be used to improve customer service and functionality in restaurants.
Machine learning is used in all aspects of restaurant operations from inventory management, workforce management, purchase-to-pay service complemented with advanced demand forecasting, and predictive analytics. Machine learning expands the predictive and analytical capacity of a restaurant system. For example, it’s possible for restaurants to predict the likelihood of guests showing up by analysing historical trends, local events and the weather.
Furthermore, machine learning can further streamline many of the complex, time-consuming operations that often plague small restaurants. These operations include payroll, HR and more. With all these operations streamlined, restaurant owners can spend more time doing what they love, be it tending to customers or looking for ways to attract more customers like devising new recipes.
Many restaurants offer customers the option to book/order online. Pre-order technology addresses one problem many restaurants have had for a while: How to reduce the number of ‘no shows’ without having to charge the customer or ask for credit card information.
Pre-order technology is not new, but older iterations of the system required payment from customers, and restaurants were reluctant to ask customers to pay for bookings because it reduced conversions. Pre-order technology encourages customers to commit to their reservations by offering something they cannot turn down. For example, restaurants can provide drinks upon arrival, at a discounted price. The drinks will already be set at the tables on arrival. By using this technology, restaurants can reduce the chances of a no-show, without charging money in advance. Thus, boosting consumer satisfaction, which in turn, encourages brand loyalty, word of mouth and increased sales.
Booking systems can even be accessed via mobile, configured to the unique specifications of the individual and integrated into websites and EPOS systems. This level of integration allows for additional services, like personalised SMS messages to confirm the booking. When people know they are being catered to personally, it increases the chances of them showing up to a reservation.
Restaurant technology is continuously evolving, and the number of ways restaurants can cut costs and optimise processes increases. Restaurants should take advantage of this continued evolution because if they don’t, then their competition will. When investing in new technology, restaurants should not just think about the moment. They must also think about the long run, which means that the best type of technology is scalable tech.
Looking to know about EPOS systems and other types of restaurant technology? Discover everything you need here.