For a restaurateur, the point of sale (POS) system quickly became the hub of restaurant operations in just a few short years. Yet history shows that restaurant technology has been on the rise since 1973.
Over 45 years ago, IBM introduced the first point of sale system. A year later, in 1974, William Brobeck & Associates introduced another point of sale system to the restaurant industry; it is moving from IBM mainframe technology to microprocessor-controlled technology. Using this technology, McDonald’s became the first to create operational efficiencies by moving from paper pin-cut tickets for short-term cooks to customer orders taken at checkout and printed in the kitchen. A quarter of a century later, cloud computing made the first point of sale system more widely available in the 2000s.
Since then, advancements in restaurant technology have become more like a Chess Olympiad, where hundreds of players are engaged at the same time, or the fast-paced blitz chess action, where movements are performed at lightning speed. Technology in the food industry has moved from one company surpassing another to several technologies introduced at the same time, offering restaurateurs a dizzying array of single point technology solutions.
Technology designed for success
For restaurateurs, technological solutions can be found for all aspects of the business. Point of sale technology was just the beginning. Now managers and operators are using their technology stack to track inventory, better control waitlists, access real-time data, manage an online reservation list and more. Yet many of today’s technological introductions exist in a vacuum; they remain siled, complicating the operation of the restaurant instead of providing the operator’s original purchase intentions of increased customer satisfaction, improved efficiency and increased sales.
Throughout 2019, restaurateurs will, if they haven’t already, reach a point where they want all of their technology investments to be connected and to be able to communicate seamlessly with each other. For example, restaurateurs will no longer be content to change their kitchen display system (KDS) when they want to change point of sale. Restaurant owners and managers also want data points to be transferred to and from their various implemented tools. What they don’t want is a limited return on their technology investments that can’t be integrated. Today’s catering solutions must be operator-centric, customer-centric, and have seamless compatibility with other restaurant operational components.
Main advantages of integrated technology
Today, forward-thinking solution providers have engineered their technology for compatibility, giving restaurateurs an edge over success. Now the entire catering ecosystem can be connected, and with the right integrations there will be many benefits, such as:
A house front (FOH) and a house rear (BOH) well connected. By fully integrating point-of-sale systems, loyalty programs, scheduling software, kitchen display systems and customer management systems, operators can increase efficiency while enhancing the dining experience for customers. .
Better customer service and a better experience. Integrated technological tools keep diners happy. Better controlled inventory means that a favorite dish is less likely to be unavailable. In addition to reducing getaways, proper meal timing also increases satisfaction and ensures repeat customers when meals arrive at the same time for each member of a diner.
Optimized restore operations. Friction between FOH staff and the kitchen is reduced during busy meal times, table turnaround time is reduced and food waste is reduced. With technology that provides detailed metrics on what’s going on in both areas, such as providing chefs with the number of games on hold or vice versa, providing the hostess with order times.
Greater employee satisfaction. Fewer clicks on several systems, better coordination between FOH and BOH leads to increased happiness in both operational areas of the restaurant. This allows for easier and quieter operations.
Accurate, real-time and historical data reports. Without the need to manually re-enter data in several different systems, a restaurant can reduce errors in their reports with the right integrations. Operators can link this operational data to specific customer visits and accurately identify bottlenecks or operational inefficiencies.
One of the main advantages of effective integration is the protection of technological investments. When restaurant managers and operators demand software tools that can integrate with others they use, they are less likely to be swayed by a fast-paced technology vendor who sells their “revolutionary” standalone tool that offers little. return on investment. Sustainability is the goal, not rapid obsolescence.
Ask the right integration questions
When it comes to effective technology integration, restaurateurs quickly learn to ask the important questions:
- How many integrations does your technology platform have? And what does your network of integrations look like? (Ex. Does your point of sale integrate with my scheduling software? Does your KDS integrate with my guest management system?)
- What were the shortest and longest go live times with the integrations you made?
- Is the system integration scalable for future restaurant expansion? And will the performance of the system lag behind as the restaurant grows?
- How well will the system integration work with existing systems that I may already have?
- Tell me about your customer support after implementation.
- Can you give me three customer contacts for the integrations you’ve done so that I can visit them about their experience?
Obtaining an answer to this last question should be non-negotiable with any new supplier being considered. Many start-ups are now touting their fashionable integration capabilities, and that number is growing every day. Successful application implementation requires knowledge, skills and expertise, these three things don’t get banked overnight. Making different systems communicate with each other is an investment of time and money for both the restaurateur and the vendors involved. Choosing a vendor who has been in business for many years and who has successful and verifiable integrations will be crucial for success.
Demand trend drives technological integration
We are at a major turning point in the industry. The whole notion of offsite catering and third party delivery partners like UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates and others has been taken to a new level. Smartphone ownership in the United States has now reached a surprising level: 77% and that has only propelled this development. We live in an on-demand world where diners want food when and where they want it. And, they want to know exactly when it will happen. Although connecting with the many different channels available to customers today seems difficult, a much sought-after benefit awaits restaurateurs: increased revenue. Restaurants can now capitalize on off-site orders, creating a new revenue stream that was not previously available.
Successful restaurateurs must cope with this changing industry if they are to not only survive, but also thrive in this new on-demand world; integration is the key to this success. Figuring out how to automate this delivery process and make it more efficient for the restaurant, and informative for the customer, will create even more impetus for the operator to integrate these disparate channels into a restaurant’s point of sale system.
Restaurant owners are now actively seeking solutions that are open to integration with other industry partners. For example, operators want to get ahead of their competition by providing delivery drivers and customers with real-time information against arbitrary numbers. Instead of relaying to a driver: “Your food will be ready in about 30 minutes. A well-connected catering system can observe what is going on in BOH’s operations, evaluate all open orders, calculate the exact pick-up time, and then pass that information on to third-party delivery partners.
Put on the technology hat
As consumers become more adept at ordering food and having it delivered via mobile apps, restaurateurs are immersed in a rapidly changing technological world. For many, this is not only changing the way their business is run, but it is changing at such a rate that requires savvy partners who can guide restaurateurs on the path of integration that can avoid pitfalls, setbacks, and downfall. lost time that can never be regained. Yes, 2019 is going to be an interesting year for restaurateurs. Develop the right technology partnerships and success is more certain than ever.