Today, guest-facing apps are soaring in popularity, automating various types of interactions between diners and restaurants. Self-service kiosks are also gaining ground. These technologies are aimed at reducing friction in the ordering process — making it easier to customize meals, for example, and cut wait times.
Some apps allow diners to track meal progress in real time, from preparation to delivery. Others allow those who are in a rush to pre-order and pre-pay for meals for a more expedient dining experience. Some mobile ordering systems incorporate geofencing and other location capabilities; an alert is sent when a diner is a certain distance away, prompting the kitchen to prepare their order so it’s ready when they arrive.
With all of these solutions, the goal is the same: to help restaurants — as well as hotels and resorts, in many cases — meet the expectations of a technology-savvy, mobile-engaged population and further enhance the quality of the guest experience. Importantly, in the process, restaurants have the opportunity to capture mountains of guest data. Through analytical modeling and reporting, the data can be used to generate actionable insights and further enhance the guest experience.
On the restaurant management side, new solutions are being developed to help operators automate key processes, from inventory costing to menu development — e.g., syncing recipes with inventory and supply ordering systems. Some restaurants are experimenting with futuristic approaches to kitchen automation, to the point of installing robots that operate in an assembly-line setup and do everything from prepare salads to grill burgers.
Today solution providers are unveiling countless additional technologies, some perhaps more useful than others, as well as enhancements to existing platform capabilities, all at an accelerated pace. And increasingly, restaurant operators are seeking to leverage the benefits of these solutions to their advantage.
According to research conducted for the latest edition of the Smart Decision Guide to restaurant management and POS Systems, 79% of restaurant operators believe that advanced technologies are key to not only addressing many of their current challenges, but also to catapulting their businesses to ever-higher levels of operational performance and guest satisfaction on an ongoing basis.
At the forefront of these technologies are next-generation restaurant management and point-of-sale (POS) systems. These systems have recently evolved by leaps and bounds in terms of functionality, and there are compelling reasons for wanting to migrate from a legacy system that may be lacking in multiple performance areas to a state-of-the-art system designed to meet an operator’s needs now and into the future.
According to Starfleet Research, nearly one-quarter (24%) of restaurant operators who have not upgraded their core restaurant management and POS system within the past 3 years plan to do so in the next 12 months. For them, as well as for new operators, the latest edition of the Smart Decision Guide to restaurant management and POS Systems (now available for complimentary access) offers a roadmap to success. It includes insights for evaluating different solutions and practical guidance for making the right selection as well as pointers for maximizing the value of the investment over time.