We live in an age full of new technologies and options for customization. Google and other sites are gaining more information about users than ever before. Companies today are using fully automated systems that allow customers to engage in transactions without ever dealing with another person. All this new technology gives us a chance to explore how we can use it to improve the guest’s experience. Some of this may sound like science fiction, but there are restaurants out there that have already begun integrating various technologies into their business.
People are connecting through technology throughout the world and the more it becomes integrated into our lives the more people will expect it from businesses. If you don’t keep an eye on your competitors and try to keep up you will be left behind. So, what are some of the ways people are integrating tech into their industries, and how can it help? What are some ideas of how technology can be used in the future? Here are some ideas we came up with.
The current way most restaurants are run is called the full-service model. You sit down, you have a server that takes your order, you wait for a check, you pay and you leave. So the question is, how can we stream line this experience?
One suggestion is having an information gathering system. Whether that is a loyalty program in which the customer gives information about themselves upfront or a system that takes data from a cellular device. Restaurants can use this information to reach out to customers through text alerts to offer them a specific experience based off their preferences or needs. For example, gathering data about what that guest typically orders, what deals they typically look for, or if they have kids are all bits of data that can be used to streamline a guest’s experience, and help servers get to know what they are dealing with before the customer even gets to the table.
Even the hassle of payment can be eased through technology that is already available today. Between having to flag down your server, wait for a check to be printed, wait to get your card back and the headache of calculating tip, all while your kids are squirming out of their seats-a lot of time is wasted. Just offering an application where a customer can pay their bill using their phone, or an iPad sitting at the table can cut weight times and improve a guest’s experience.
Companies like Panera and Starbucks already offer services where a customer can order and pay on their phone and pick up at the store without ever interacting with another person. Although, the issue with this is most people tend to over or under estimate the time it will take to pick up their order so food gets cold or they still have to wait for it to be made, and now your customer isn’t happy.
But what if instead, a company used geolocation to see how far away a guest was and how long it will take for them to get there so they can prepare their order at exactly the right time? It may sound futuristic, but the technology to make it happen is already here.
Most of us have our usual at these types of places, so what if the companies could use that to make the experience even faster and more streamlined? Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s already have a mobile order app, so what if they took it a step further and added a way to scan your license plate when you pulled into the parking lot that alerted them when you were there and they could have your order ready and waiting for you at a separate window? Payment has already been handled in the app so all the customer has to do is pick it up. No waiting in line needed.
Some of these ideas may seem far-fetched, but most of the technology is already available or already being used. Integrating new equipment into your business can help ease strain on employees, streamline the guest’s experience, and reduce overhead costs. It isn’t science fiction; these things are all around you. Keep an eye out for examples and think about if integrating it into your business is right for you and your brand.
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