Your restaurant is filled to the brim: There’s a steady buzz of chatter and guests are digging into their meals. But, when you take a closer look you get a glimpse of the massive bar queue, the wait staff that are frantically popping between tables and the kitchen overflowing with tickets. While a full house is a good problem to have, these issues need to be managed.
The core purpose of implementing various technology solutions within restaurants is to make the experience faster and more efficient for staff and customers alike. When you’re overwhelmed, you need to be able to rely on technology doing its job and consistently shaping results. Keep reading for five helpful tips to sharpen tech use in your restaurant for smooth, pressure-free busy periods.
1. Bring your staff together
The restaurants that achieve the greatest amount of success are ones where every team member is playing their part seamlessly – from the front of house to the chef’s line and all the way to reception. It’s easier said than done, and poor management or communication can lead to staff frustrations, particularly during the stress of a busy rush.
Technology can work to reduce this friction. Communication apps, like Yapster, help bring staff together by allowing staff to message and connect with each-other. And employee management apps can work to help build a transparent culture, so everyone is on the same page. Take 7Shifts, for example, who offer a tool which allows staff to access their schedules on the go, and management to change details equally as seamlessly. Make a shift, pun intended, to use technology in ways that will both delight and empower your staff.
2. Personalise customer experience
According to ASF’s research piece on millennials, 77 percent of millennials think that the use of technology in restaurants improves the dining experience. They also hold the greatest spending power of all UK demographics, so it’s important to keep them in mind as a key customer base … don’t make them wait!
Give your customers, millennials and all, more flexibility and control over how, when and what they order. At the same time, implementing experiential tech can work to reduce queuing at the bar, and take pressure off of wait staff. When it gets hectic, it’s customer-facing technologies like mobile Order & Pay which enable that 15 person birthday party in the back corner to seamlessly make menu choices and pay for their food/drink with minimal frustration. No more slow, painful one-to-one card transactions with a waiter slowly working their way around the group with the card machine.
3. Deploy table-top entertainment
Eating out can foster togetherness and conversation between friends and family. But, busy restaurants are a recipe for disaster with overwhelmed children and on-edge parents.
It used to be that colouring books and crayons were the only hope for pleasing your smallest customers and prompting their parents to keep enjoying their restaurant experience. Many restaurants are now employing the help of tablets and table-top games to transform tech into a means for dinner entertainment. Companies like Presto make games that are fit for the whole family, making long wait times a chance to have some family fun, and forget about lingering hunger.
4. Initiate a loyalty program
A restaurant that’s struggling to cope with demand will no doubt lead to some unhappy customers. These unhappy customers are not only unlikely to return but could also end up damaging your online persona and reputation. One way to mitigate this is to introduce a technology hosted customer loyalty program to delight guests and, hopefully, turn them into online evangelists who praise your establishment.
Spoonity is a platform that enables you to run offers, promotions and deliver gifts to your customers so that you can encourage loyalty and find a flexible fix should a slip-up ever occur. For example, if there was a particularly long wait-time you might offer a half-price meal the next time that customer pays a visit. An extra bonus to you is that you don’t have to manage paper coupons or written offers – it’s all handled digitally.
5. Update your POS system
This is a big one, but if the restaurant rush is really affecting your operations, consider taking the time to update your POS system. You’re already aware that your POS system acts as the beating heart of your restaurant operations. So, it’s understandable that an out out-of-date system will cause tension and ultimately slow down your customer turnover. It’ll be worth taking a month or so to completely transform your POS productivity.
A faster POS system will improve the rate at which customers can order and pay and, with no hold up or errors, it’ll improve their experience too. 55 percent of millennials say convenience is a top driver when purchasing food. Don’t keep your customers waiting to pay, but rather flip the table to make way for a steady flow of happy customers coming and going.
With a huge emphasis on experiential and personalised dining today, it’s critically important that technology doesn’t completely remove human touch, but instead enhances it and serves to build a smoother end-to-end operation.
By deploying smart, efficient technology that integrates with your organisational structure, your staff will have more time to meet individual requirements and build relationships. And, your customers can get back to the core of what makes a restaurant meal worth wile, enjoying good food, atmosphere and conversation.