The restaurant industry is competitive, and you need reinforcements to help you stay ahead of your competitors and keep a tab on new trends.
A good place to start is by investing in good restaurant technology.
This will boost you up the competitive ladder and also improve your service, table turnover, and customer satisfaction rate.
But which technology should I invest in? You may ask.
To help you decide, we’ve created a comprehensive list of the best technology and software to use when running a restaurant.
These include an inventory manager, a QR code menu for digitized offerings, and a few for analytics.
Read on to know more.
What is restaurant technology?
Restaurant technology refers to the integration of digital tools and solutions to enhance various aspects of restaurant operations.
It encompasses a broad spectrum, including point-of-sale systems, online ordering platforms, kitchen management software, and customer-facing innovations like mobile apps and digital menus.
Essentially, restaurant technologies aim to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and elevate your customers’ dining experience by leveraging digital advancements tailored to the unique needs of the restaurant industry.
15 must-have restaurant technology and software
Mobile ordering apps
The main feature of mobile ordering apps is the ability for your customers to place orders in advance.
Whether it’s for a busy lunchtime rush or a scheduled dinner pickup, your patrons can select a preferred pickup time, ensuring that their meals are ready exactly when they need them.
Additionally, these are often equipped with online payment options, eliminating the need for physical cash or cards.
There are even free mobile apps for restaurant ordering that highlight this technology. These guarantee a secure and seamless transaction process.
Tableside ordering system
Tableside ordering technology typically involves using tablets or other handheld devices at each dining table.
These restaurant technology trends are equipped with user-friendly interfaces that display your menu with high-quality images and detailed descriptions of each dish.
Your customers will learn how to scan a menu, browse through the offerings, view nutritional information, and even get recommendations based on their preferences or dietary restrictions.
Once the selections are made, your customers’ orders are transmitted directly to the kitchen, eliminating the need for manual order entry by waitstaff.
This reduces the likelihood of order errors and expedites the entire ordering process.
Your customers can browse through the entire menu at their own pace, explore various options, and customize their orders with a few taps on the self-serve ordering kiosk screen.
For instance, if you own a burger chain, a customer can choose the type of bun, patty, cheese, and toppings, creating a personalized burger tailored to their taste.
This capacity to independently input their orders, make modifications, and complete transactions without the need for direct staff assistance speeds up the overall ordering process.
And if you have a speedy service, chances are you’ll get a higher customer satisfaction rate than when you didn’t have a kiosk in your restaurant.
Mobile wallets, online banking, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and Quick Response (QR) code payments help customers to complete transactions by simply tapping their cards or smartphones on a compatible point-of-sale (POS) terminal.
You can integrate this technology into your restaurant system.
Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay can be a good starting point for a contactless payment option.
You can also display a scannable payment QR code on your counter for a seamless transaction after each order.
By offering contactless payment options, your restaurant demonstrates a commitment to creating a safer environment for both patrons and staff.
Inventory management systems
Managing inventory in a restaurant is a delicate dance.
Too much stock can lead to wastage, while stockouts can result in disappointed customers and missed revenue opportunities.
This is where inventory management systems step in. With this technology, you can access in real-time the quantity of each ingredient in stock.
For instance, if your restaurant specializes in seafood, the inventory system would display the exact number of pounds of salmon, shrimp, and other seafood in the inventory at any given moment.
This visibility enables chefs and managers to make informed decisions about menu offerings and daily specials.
Kitchen Display Systems (KDS)
Paper tickets and manual communication can lead to errors, especially during peak hours.
Adding smart Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) into your entire restaurant operation eliminates this risk by digitizing the ordering process and providing a centralized hub where chefs can monitor incoming orders in real-time.
As soon as the customer places an order through the POS system or a digital platform, it will instantly appear on the KDS.
Each order is displayed with clear details, reducing the likelihood of misinterpretation or missed items.
Your chefs and kitchen staff will easily be able to confirm completion, and any modifications are instantly updated, ensuring the final dish meets the customers’ expectations.
Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology in a restaurant
Maintaining proper food temperatures is critical for preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and ensuring food safety.
Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in refrigerators, freezers, and food storage areas constantly monitor temperatures and provide real-time data to kitchen staff.
For instance, a sensor in an oven can monitor temperature, heating consistency, and even energy usage.
If there’s a deviation from the optimal conditions, the sensor can trigger alerts for maintenance or adjustments, preventing potential malfunctions before they impact operations.
According to MARA Solutions, a robotics and automations provider for the hospitality industry, AI-driven promotions can lead to a revenue increase of up to 10% and operational costs reduction of more than 15%.
This is because AI chatbots are restaurant technology trends that can actively engage customers, notify them of your offerings, and even provide exclusive discounts to encourage orders.
You no longer need to hire or assign restaurant staff to man your online reservation systems and website as customer support.
An AI-powered chatbot can seamlessly check real-time availability, reserve a table, and even provide confirmation details. This increases your response rate, leading to improved customer service.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRMs don’t just manage customer feedback. It’s a way for businesses to manage their interactions with customers.
Whether gathered through surveys, online reviews, newsletters, or social media for restaurants, this feedback is systematically recorded and analyzed.
Through the collected data, you can now categorize or segment customer profiles based on their menu item preferences, dining habits, and demographics. This makes it easier for you to launch personalized marketing campaigns.
For example, if the CRM system identifies a group of customers who frequently order vegetarian dishes, you can send them targeted promotions for new vegetarian menu items.
Waitlist management apps
Waiting for a table at a busy restaurant can be a test of patience for any diner.
A waitlist management app or software eliminates the frustration associated with long waits and enhances the overall dining experience.
Instead of physically waiting at your restaurant, customers can remotely join the waitlist with just a few taps on their mobile devices.
This feature is particularly valuable for busy urban areas or popular dining spots where patrons might have other activities planned.
Smart menus or QR code menus
Gone are the days of static printed menus that remain unchanged for months.
The advent of smart menus, often accessed through QR codes, has brought a dynamic and interactive element to the dining experience.
Despite the contrasting opinions on the said technology, recent statistics revealed that QR code menus are here to stay.
In fact, because of its accessibility, your customers can easily view your digital menus with just a quick phone scan.
Also, one of the best things about a QR code menu is it allows you to make real-time updates.
Let’s say you decide to launch a limited-time promotion or adjust the pricing of certain items.
With a smart QR code menu, you can make these changes instantaneously by editing the menu right on your QR code menu dashboard.
If you introduce a “Happy Hour” special with discounted drinks or appetizers, you just need to update your smart menu using the QR code software and highlight the menu items for your promotion.
This not only keeps your customers informed but also encourages them to take advantage of time-sensitive offers.
By analyzing your customers’ order history, predictive analytics can pinpoint the most popular dishes at specific times, days, or seasons.
For instance, data might reveal that a particular seafood dish gains traction during the summer months, allowing you to proactively plan for increased demand, optimize inventory, and ensure the freshest ingredients are available.
This new technology in the restaurant industry also helps you enhance your marketing and promotional campaigns.
You can use the insights on customer preferences, popular dishes, and peak hours to launch promotions strategically.
Restaurant technology printers
Unlike traditional printers that rely on ink ribbons, restaurant thermal printers use heat-sensitive paper.
The printer applies heat to the paper, causing the thermal coating to react and produce the desired text or image.
This method not only results in faster printing speeds but also eliminates the need for ink cartridges and ribbons, reducing maintenance costs.
Portable POS system
A portable restaurant POS system typically consists of a handheld device, such as a tablet or a smartphone, equipped with POS software.
The software is connected to your restaurant’s main POS system, allowing real-time synchronization of orders, inventory, and payment information.
With this technology integrated into your operations, your restaurant staff can take orders, send them directly to the kitchen, and process payments at the customers’ tables.
Wearable technology for staff
One way your staff can use wearable technology is by using smartwatches that are connected to a centralized system.
These wearables can serve as a direct communication channel, allowing staff members to receive real-time updates, messages, and notifications.
Whether it’s relaying customer orders from the front of the house to the kitchen or alerting servers about special requests, wearable technology ensures seamless communication without the need for traditional walkie-talkies or constant trips to a central hub.
Benefits of technology in restaurants
Investing in smart restaurant technologies can offer various advantages and benefits for your business:
Investing in smart technologies, such as tableside ordering systems and smart KDS, enhances operational efficiency.
Orders flow seamlessly from the customer to the kitchen, reducing wait times and improving service speed.
This optimized workflow not only satisfies customers with quicker service but also makes the entire dining experience smoother for the staff, enabling them to focus on delivering quality service rather than navigating tedious processes.
The integration of predictive analytics and digital or virtual menus presents exciting marketing opportunities for restaurants.
The insights gathered through your analytics software provide information about your customers’ preferences. This allows you to tailor marketing strategies, promotions, and menu offerings to align with anticipated trends.
Meanwhile, digital or virtual menus not only enhance the overall dining experience for customers, but also provide a dynamic platform for showcasing promotions, real-time updates, and personalized recommendations.
By reducing reliance on manual processes, you can minimize errors, ensure efficient use of your resources, and enhance overall supply chain management.
These improvements collectively contribute to substantial cost savings, fostering a more financially robust and sustainable operation for restaurant owners like you.
You can easily analyze trends in customer preferences, popular menu items, and peak dining hours with predictive analytics and CRM technology in a restaurant.
Through this data, you are able to make informed decisions when creating targeted marketing campaigns, personalized promotions, and strategic plans.
This improves your customer’s satisfaction rate and can drive your business success.
Flexibility and scalability
Many smart technologies are designed to be scalable, allowing your restaurant to adapt to changing needs and grow over time.
This flexibility is crucial in an industry where trends, customer preferences, and operational requirements can evolve rapidly.
MENU TIGER: Your all-in-one interactive restaurant menu software
In a competitive industry like restaurants, you’ll need to be smart enough to choose a restaurant technology that allows you to stay ahead of the game.
MENU TIGER stands as a prime example of an innovative tool in the restaurant industry, offering an all-in-one interactive restaurant solution.
Beyond the convenience of a food menu QR code, the software boasts advanced features such as robust customer analytics, menu customization, targeted customer email lists, a seamless digital menu, and multiple contactless payment options.
Experience top-tier restaurant management with MENU TIGER by signing up for an account today.