Tony Smith, co-founder and CEO of Restaurant365, is exploring how to find the perfect balance between high-tech and high-tech services.
When imagining a restaurateur, there are three qualities that immediately come to mind:
These qualities were fully demonstrated during the pandemic, as restaurants were forced to adapt quickly to meet the new needs of their customers. From my point of view, there is no greater advantage than COVID-19 for the industry than this: operators have accelerated the adoption of the technology by nearly four years to better meet the needs of guests and streamline operations.
While technology will undoubtedly improve the performance of restaurants, human work will always be needed. People long for interaction with other people. They want to feel served.
Below are a few scenarios in which restaurant technology can be combined with personal connections to ensure the best possible customer and employee experience.
In front of the house
In terms of service, the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 Industry Status Report shows that 68% of adults prefer traditional server service to ordering or paying via a tablet or phone app. When it comes to hospitality, human connection is highly desirable. Although it cannot be replaced, it can be successfully improved through technology.
Chili’s recently deployed Rita’s robot in eight states. The robot can lead guests to tables, play food and sing a birthday song to guests, but the chain understands that these tasks are designed to help their team members, not replace them. In fact, the company found that 82% of guests thought their experience was better because of Rita, with 77% saying it allowed their human server to spend more time with them.
Why is it important for employees to spend more time with guests? A robot cannot read a room in the same way as a human. He also cannot provide pleasant recommendations or answer every question the customer has about the restaurant or restaurant. The availability of technology to support day-to-day operations allows more time for personal interaction between customers and employees.
At the back of the house
The kitchen also offers many opportunities to use the equipment. From turning burgers to frying, there are so many unnecessary tasks that can be automated without sacrificing quality. But what happens when the customer wants to modify a dish in a way that is not pre-programmed?
A machine will perform the set tasks in a very precise way. Human intervention will be required if a special situation arises. The presence of a backup system in which the waiter can run from behind to inform the kitchen that the customer has severe asthma and can not have black pepper, would allow the replacement of pre-prepared pie for unadulterated pie from the walk – in the refrigerator. The crisis has been prevented.
Management and staff
For managers, rear technologies play a huge role in freeing up administrative work. Cloud-based management solutions provide 24/7 access to critical business data and can be great for scheduling, inventory management, ordering and more. This instant access brings managers out of the office faster and to the floor, where they can serve customers and help staff.
Although some data may suggest that it is time to downsize servers due to slower-than-expected switching, technology lacks the empathy and compassion one provides to one’s employees. With this data, management can strategically use labor where it is most needed, while optimizing labor costs while maintaining the best possible experience for guests.
When employees face personal challenges, such as the need for an illness day or a flat tire, management is there to be empathetic and flexible. Good management listens to and takes this information into account to strengthen the restaurant’s culture and retain talent.
When it comes to the use of technology in the restaurant industry, we have many opportunities to explore. The goal is to pursue restaurant technologies that help employees, not replace them, so as to satisfy both staff and customers. The key is to find the perfect balance between high-tech and high-tech services.