Technology continues to evolve at an exponentially faster pace. With each evolution, though, restaurants are gaining more and more efficiencies, uncovering hidden profits, and making more informed business decisions. To position your restaurant competitively, you need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the experiences consumers want and deploying the tech solutions that will deliver them.
So do you have a future-ready restaurant? Here’s how to tell.
1. You’re informed about your vendors’ plan for upgrades.
A future-ready restaurant has flexible technology. Times change. It’s important that your point of sale (POS) and back-office systems can do the same. That starts with your solution vendors. Your technology partners should have a roadmap — both for the short term and long term — that shows how they will upgrade their solutions to keep up with industry changes. Also ask them if they have avenues for customization or enhancement requests. If your business needs change before the next release, you want to be sure that your software can quickly adapt.
Similarly, find out what the update schedule looks like with your vendor. Some may only update every 12-18 months. That may have been acceptable in years past, but it won’t set you up to be a future-ready restaurant. Instead, aim for something in the 3 month range. This will keep your tech on the cutting edge.
2. Your technology vendors are partnered with each other.
Another facet of gaining the flexibility your business craves is having technology partners that work well together. Every piece of tech and software in your business should integrate and “talk” with one another. Without this, you’ll find that you’re inputting data and other information in duplicates — and where’s the efficiency in that? Your technology should be conducive to allowing data entry to only take place at one point — while still being accessible across all systems.
3. Your POS system is built to perform POS functions well.
It’s important to select a point of sale system that is very successful with fewer, necessary features, rather than opting for one with “everything,” including features that are unnecessarily housed in the POS. For example, items related to accounting should be kept separate. The POS system doesn’t need to store invoice data. That’s a function that should only be processed and paid in accounting.
4. You make informed decisions about third-party delivery and online ordering services.
Online ordering is the wave of the future, and future-ready restaurants are prepared to capitalize on it. Consumers have quickly turned to delivery apps to find all their favorite restaurants. Third-party delivery services can be a great revenue draw for restaurants — opening the door to customers you wouldn’t have served before. However, like any other expenditure, operators have to determine the profitability of these services. A future-ready restaurant will have the solutions in place to monitor their margins with third parties and decide if it’s worth the expense. You may find it pays to deploy a solution that enables online ordering directly from your own website.
5. You’ve determined what systems you can combine.
Restaurant software is much more advanced than it was five or 10 years ago. You may have as many as 10 to 15 systems performing a variety of functions such as facilitating your loyalty program, table management, and kitchen display integration.
Future-ready restaurants are deciding which systems they can combine. The solutions available today are multifunctional, and can allow you to reduce the need for so many systems, and once combined, extracting and analyzing data from different parts of your business is a much simpler process.
6. You’re EMV pay-at-the-table ready.
EMV pay-at-the-table technology combines the best of two worlds. EMV technology is the gold standard for chip-based credit and debit transaction processing. EMV cards are embedded with microprocessing chips that create a one-time-only transaction code that can’t be duplicated. This makes them much more secure and can save you from fraudulent card-present transactions. Pay-at-the-table technology allows servers to accept payments using a mobile device. Customers’ cards never leave customers’ sight, and it streamlines the checkout process. Plus, preconfigured options on the screen make tipping fast and easy for customers. With EMV and pay-at-the-table capabilities, you’ll be able to offer your customers fast, convenient, secure experiences when it’s time to settle the check.
Based on these six characteristics of a future-ready restaurant, how ready is your restaurant to compete — now and in the future — by operating more efficiently and providing the experiences your customers want? If you need help evaluating your current technology or want advice on how to stay ahead of the curve, the team at Touch Dynamic is ready to provide you the advice and information you need.