Three Emerging Tech Trends in The Restaurant Industry for 2017
Close your eyes. Think back to before technology was integrated into your restaurant operations in one way or another. For newer restaurants, the simple task I just asked of you might not be possible. The restaurant industry has been trudging along for quite some time now (the first “modern” restaurant can be traced back to 1765), and up until recent history it’s maintained a fairly static mold.
Customers rarely see restaurants as a business or corporate chain. After all, it’s hard to compare your favorite hole in the wall restaurant to Oracle or Procter & Gamble. Yet for those in the restaurant industry who work behind that veil; the chefs, restaurant managers, and operation managers, it is abundantly clear that your restaurant has all the makings of any other business in a competitive market. In recent decades, tech has played an instrumental role in bringing restaurants into the white water of competition and strategic practice.
BUT, change is good. Competition is good. With 2017 rapidly approaching, you’ll need to arm yourself with the best tech solutions for you, so let’s take a peek at what restaurants can expect to see next year.
With more and more payment options surfacing on the app market, restaurants are finding themselves receiving non-cash payments more and more. Simply put, payment options are facilitating date nights, business lunches, family dinners, bar hopping, and nights out. The most impactful changes to restaurants aren’t even transactions between the customer and the restaurant, but instead occur off-the-tab between the customers themselves. In fact, the smart companies in the hospitality industry are integrating with POS providers to ensure you can use mobile for all of your tech solutions.
On the consumer side, mobile payment apps like Venmo allow customers settle any debts right at the dinner table, which is convenient because more and more Americans are carrying less cash with them on a daily basis. Finding your own payment options to facilitate mobile payments and tap into the customer’s willingness to go full-mobile will be essential for your restaurant to stay agile.
A robust inventory management system is the epitome of “not all heroes wear capes.” Let me know if this scenario rings a bell: It’s either late night or early morning, you’re walking through your kitchen holding a clipboard with an excel sheet you printed out, individually checking on-hand levels of each item on the list. When that’s done, you either send emails, faxes, or phone calls over to your supplier, or you sit down in front of your computer and resubmit all the information you just wrote down and ship it off to your supplier that way.
You don’t need technology to tell you that method is outdated. Today, mobile procurement platforms like BlueCart eliminate all activities that inspire late night voicemails and emails. To draw a comparison, some of the features offered by inventory management systems include:
- Set on-hand and par levels
- Create custom inventory sheets to track your inventory and stay ahead of the curve
- Eliminate the need to maintain order sheets by entering inventory right onto the app
- One-click reordering.
If you’ve noticed a similarity between the rising tech trends in the restaurant industry so far, you probably noticed the unwavering presence of the mobile app. Being mobile is what enables customers to interact with you in the way that they do. It’s taken over the front and back of the house for restaurants. Loyalty programs, food ordering and delivery, waitlists, reviews, procurement, staff scheduling, and more, all managed on your phone.
Adapting to integrate and take advantage of mobile apps will be paramount in keeping your restaurant ahead of the competition. On average, “49% of small business owners say their firm was able to spend more time on increasing sales and creating new revenue streams, while 36% said app usage allowed them to cut overhead costs.” There are very few “sure-things” in the restaurant industry. New restaurants pop up everyday, and consumer habits change in the blink of an eye. Even huge restaurant chains aren’t immune to the volatility. But for all of the uncertainties, adopting mobile technology platforms remains one of the guaranteed ways to level up your business.
If you have questions about inventory management for your restaurant or would like to learn more about BlueCart, please visit our website where we also have convenient online chat. If you're ready to join the BlueCart family, please head to the front of the line!
By Will Harmon
Will Harmon is a marketing associate at BlueCart, an online and mobile ordering platform for the hospitality industry. When he’s not busy being a social media guru and creating content, you can find him learning about procurement practices and hunting for wild pizza.