Every day as a restaurant owner/operator brings a new challenge. Customer appetites, holiday trends, best practices — all of these and more morph over time. The trick to making the most of the dynamic nature of business is to stay current and adaptable. Technology can help significantly in this regard, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for and why. Here are four questions to ask when considering new technology to support your restaurant’s daily operations.
1. Is it easy to use/setup?
Above all, any technology investment should make your life easier and your basic processes simpler. Restaurant technologies don’t need to be fancy to be effective, so don’t be lured by offerings that come with a million features you won’t end up using.
While new technology does come with a learning curve, it shouldn’t take you and your staff loads of time to implement or understand. Avoid “innovative” products that take as long as six months to set up — that’s forever in the competitive restaurant world! Look for services that don’t rip you off with long wait-times or convoluted terms and conditions. You’ve got enough on your plate already, so setting up technology should be as easy and fast as possible.
2. Will it really save me time and money?
The best kinds of technology eliminate time-consuming, tedious tasks so that more time can be directed at the tasks that impact the bottom line the most, such as heightening customer experience. In addition to saving time and boosting productivity thanks to automation strategies, the right tech solution for you will be within your current budget, with the option to expand and grow as your business expands and grows.
But how do you know if your investment in a new restaurant tech will really do that for you until you try it out? Some tech partners offer “try it before you buy it” versions of their technology solutions, and that can be a smart way to test things out before committing your time, team, and money to anything.
As the saying goes, time is money. When your technological strategies support the smart use of your time and money, you’re in good hands.
3. Is it flexible?
In addition to having the potential to evolve as your business grows, as mentioned above, the best kind of new technology should integrate easily with the existing systems and workflows within your restaurant. You don’t want to invest in a “solution” that requires you to dismantle all of the workflows you’ve already established for your employees. Rather, you want something that will augment and strengthen what you already have.
Flexibility is also important when it comes to adapting to changing consumer appetites. For example, you’ll want a technology provider who is able to integrate AI interfaces into self-service ordering applications and into a POS that is an extension of those applications. Customers expect a seamless ordering experience, and your chosen tech stack is a crucial element in providing that.
4. Do you trust your tech provider?
Trust is the foundation of any solid relationship, and business relationships are no exception. It’s important to trust your technology provider because in the restaurant industry, you need advocates who understand your business goals, needs, and challenges and who work tirelessly to support the business you’ve built. A good tech provider will be responsive, collaborative, and — above all — dedicated to making your business operations (and your life!) simpler and more effective.
New technology can’t put an end to the new-challenge-of-the-day cycle operators live, but careful selection of that technology can make addressing those challenges just a tad easier.