It is much more likely that franchisors, with resources already on hand, will be able to promote system-wide improvements for all franchisees in their systems.
Modern Tech Can Give Restaurant Businesses An Edge
By Jeremy Einbinder
Restaurants are continuing to use newer technologies that have the potential to optimize the experience both for the consumer and the business. Anything that improve customer experience and reduce labor costs- which is very important in a tight market- is a win-win.
Franchised Restaurants Set Themselves Apart
All of these innovations are especially important for franchised restaurants and allows them to set themselves apart from other restaurants. For entrepreneurs looking to open restaurant locations, it can be difficult to gather all the technological resources available to improve operations. It is much more likely that franchisors, with resources already on hand, will be able to promote system-wide improvements for all franchisees in their systems. These technological enhancements are wide-ranging and could set off a franchise restaurant boom.
For instance, instead of third-party delivery apps, many customers report a preference for ordering directly from the restaurant itself. It would be beneficial, if possible, for a company to have their own internal delivery app. In addition to building brand recognition, this also helps businesses avoid paying exorbitant fees.
Fred Kirvan, Founder and CEO of Kirvan Consulting, a New Jersey based restaurant optimization and consulting firm said: “At this year’s National Restaurant Show, we observed some notable improvements in tech-driven kitchen equipment aimed at providing a more consistent product to its end-user but much of the new tech seemed to be aimed at employee retention.”
Look But Don’t Touch
Payment technologies which allow for no-contact money transfer can also prove to be crucial, especially since the pandemic. In keeping with no-touch technology, it is becoming commonplace for customers to also access only menus and order without contact, allowing for a much safer environment for everybody. The cost reduction for restaurants can be substantial.
There are also tech payment options for employee payroll. Kirvan noted: “Companies offering early pay options and incentives were the noticeable standouts for me. Employee retention is key when you can consider all the software available for taking orders, you’re going to need people to prepare those orders.
Reservation applications like Eat App, Tablein, or OpenTable allow customers to see available time slots, and book their times at their convenience. In such apps, users simply view the time slots available with the number of seats needed and select one. This takes away any awkward interaction with staff of someone calling the restaurant and asking for a specific time for a reservation, only to realize it’s not available. For the business, it allows much greater flexibility in managing waitlists as well as customer loyalty.
Reducing Friction for the Front and Back of House
For streamlining customer orders, Kitchen Display Systems are very efficient, allowing both customers and kitchen staff to seamlessly log orders, instantly displaying them on screen according to priority. This also makes accommodating dietary restrictions much easier.
Radwan Masri, a 30 year veteran in the hospitality industry and a leading international culinary consultant and franchise expert with Ayy Karamba Hospitality added “The other side of food service tech driven business is FOH & BOH automation. Labor shortage in the service business combined with an increase demand for delivered food has impacted how food orders is being processed from start to end. Self-Serve ordering stations, QR codes scanning procedures. Your order nowadays through a drive through window is not the same as it used to be. i.e. I order in Chicago via a drive through window while my order is being processed by a mom sitting at home in Atlanta GA!”
This type of innovation is incredibly valuable and can easily cut down on unnecessary laborious tasks for employees. In addition, artificial intelligence technologies like Winnow reduce food waste. Using a camera, Winnow “learns” to recognize different foods being thrown away. It then calculates the financial and environmental cost of this discarded food to commercial kitchens. This in turn saves company’s money.
If franchisees and independent restauranteurs expect to stay relevant and competitive they need to take advantage of these burgeoning technologies. The guest expectation has risen as a result of the pandemic and most guests will give a restaurant one, perhaps two chances to meet or exceed their exceptions. When it comes to the the overall guest experience, using these technologies gives operators a better chance to succeed.