5 Reasons Why Foodpreneurs Need to Use Technology to Run their Restaurants We tell you why modern ways to keep in pace with the young audience is critical to a restaurant's success
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
In today's digital age, much of how we live our lives has become reliant upon various technologies like the internet, smartphones, AI, machine learning, and Big Data. Their presumed benefits are spoken of in hyperbolic terms, and various sectors have begun the integration of these technologies into their systems in earnest. Unfortunately, this hasn't been mirrored yet in India's restaurant business – a sector that could gain massively through the deployment of these technologies.
Here are 5 reasons why entrepreneurial restaurant owners need to start using technology to optimize their business.
Digital customer outreach raises brand visibility and revenues
Today, most customers finding a restaurant to go to would begin their search online. Several food discovery platforms allow customers to digitally evaluate a restaurant, giving a peer-review based rating that customers use to zero-in on where they plan to dine or order food from. A restaurant website, well-managed social media page, or a presence on food discovery platforms helps these businesses reach out to the today's young audience that is critical to a restaurant's success. It has gotten to a stage where not having a digital presence would make a restaurant seem suspect. Having a digital presence to establish your brand and promote it is more effective than other promotional efforts like offline advertising, which reaches fewer people, is less customizable, and far more expensive.
Automated menu curation and management
Food discovery platforms have given rise to a relatively new phenomenon with massive potential – the digital menu. Having what your restaurant has to offer at any given time transmitted digitally provides the benefit of real-time updating, which means that waiters will no longer have to apologize to customers to say that a specific dish isn't available. A digital menu can ensure that if an ingredient has run out, dishes that are based on it can be removed from the menu in mere seconds. With digital menus capable of being reproduced across multiple platforms simultaneously, owners can ensure that fewer customers end up calling a continental restaurant to ask for pav bhaji.
Receiving, collecting, and fulfilling orders
We've all been there – either the delivery man at your door or the restaurant waiter at your table has brought the wrong dish to the table. This is not just incredibly frustrating for the customer, but for the restaurant as well. Not only is the incorrect item completely wasted, the restaurant must now scramble to get the right dish to the customer as fast as possible. This confusion is caused mostly because of miscommunication between the customer and the restaurant personnel noting down the order. If the order is conveyed digitally, much of this confusion is removed – customers get to see what they have ordered in plain text before confirmation. If order confirmation is sent digitally (as it should even if the order has been taken over the phone), it gives the customer the opportunity to correct an inadvertent error before the kitchen begins to process the order. In other words, digital systems that curate orders offer restaurant owners greater accuracy, transparency, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
Today's digitally-enabled young Indians are far more amenable to digital transactions than paying through cash. For a restaurant serving a wide variety of customers, they must be willing to be paid digitally so that customers aren't turned away. Digital payments are also beneficial for the restaurant not just in terms of customer service, but also in terms of tracking and accounting for transactions. Having a digital system to receive payments helps these restaurants track of all receipts and expenses, while also reducing the possibility of unscrupulous employees skimming money off the top of cash registers.
Inventory management and the back-end
One of the biggest headaches for restaurant owners is managing their inventory efficiently. Buying perishable produce, storing it, tracking it to ensure freshness, and then discarding it when it is old requires restaurant owners to be extremely organized. However, even the most proficient and consummate restaurant owner and manager wouldn't be able to organize inventory and back-end management better than an AI and Machine Learning-driven data wrangling system. These technologies can automate inventory management completely, even using data to predict demand and order accordingly so as to keep waste to a bare minimum. These systems can ensure minimal wastage and maximum efficiency, helping to limit losses and raise revenue for the restaurant.