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How Technology is Improving Dining out Experience Technology options are helping restaurants/food outlets in improving their operational efficiency, customers' experience, and business growth

By Smit Nebhwani

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With time-shortage becoming a characteristic feature of everyone's daily life, quick-service is rapidly becoming a necessity of every industry. Even the dining industry is exploring creative and innovative technology systems to ensure the availability of quick- service restaurants and food outlets that are able to engage customers in many effective ways, taking advantage of data like never before and thus driving sales in the right direction.

In the present time, consumer-facing technology is grabbing more attention in the restaurant industry. And, more and more brands are considering apps, mobile ordering systems and loyalty programs as a part of their functional operation. Fast food restaurants like McDonald's and Wendy's are installing kiosks to speed up the order process and provide customers with the meal customization ability. On an average, quick-service diners spend about nine minutes in ordering and then waiting for their food, but amazingly the kiosks have tackled this problem well by reducing that wait time. These advancements in technological space aren't just reserved for dine-in customers but have also turned out to be a great benefit for the takeaway customers, mainly through the use of digital menu boards.

Apps mean Convenience

Mobile-ordering apps are also becoming increasingly popular in the dining space. They offer the restaurants an opportunity to better target potential diners with location-based push notifications and coupons/offers; improve client retention and diner frequency with app-based loyalty programs; creates new payment options like that of using mobile wallets or internet banking; reserving a table with a few smart clicks and many more. As according to the Business Insider Intelligence, orders placed via smartphones are expected to make up more than 10% of all quick-service restaurant sales by 2020 as these apps offer consumers an added range of convenience and give retailers the opportunity to drive in higher revenues.

mPOS mean Speedy Operations

Excellent customer service rests on many factors like having competent and well-trained servers, great teamwork between the front-of-house and kitchen staff, and a quick and smooth ordering and paying process. It consumes a lot of time and sweat for the restaurateurs to ensure their presence, but fortunately, technology can help with all quite elegantly. Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) is an affordable technology in the restaurant industry is famous for its role in speeding up operations, ensuring more personalized service, and streamlining the dining experience. Even more and more operational tasks are now being handled with the technology tools. But most importantly, these tools are assisting the restaurants in managing the vast amounts of data collected by them on a daily basis and utilizing this information into track trends and project future moves thus ensuring more better and informed business decisions taking place.

Here's a look at the latest tech innovations that have brought a real change in the dining space:

Smart Payments and Reservations

The amazing new world of mobile apps has made table reservations and order placement a quick-to-do and significant step of allowing diners to select the exact table in a dining space where they would love to dine and also enjoy the pre-order facility with some smart clicks. Forget the waiter; one can easily pay the bill along with the tip if they wish to give through their smartphones, without even entering into the hassles of swiping the card or waiting for the change.

Improved Technology and Services

Beacons and iBeacon are the mobile phone technologies that have added a new dimension to the overall dining experience. These technologies work on Bluetooth to provide location-based information to apps that in turn helps the App developers create more contextual experiences for restaurant goers. From sending targeted deals to rewarding diners for spending time in restaurants to efficient order tracking these technologies have created virtual interaction with customers in real time. Technologies and the wide availability of review sites have brought a boom in the consumer complaining power. This has further granted an additional incentive to restaurant owners in ensuring positive dining experience for their customers, which includes training staff, improving delivery times, and using the aforementioned tools to delight customers.

Increased rewards and benefits

Many diners have now got on the trend wagon of posting photos and amazing reviews of their favourite eateries and the meal they loved. As the diners now prefer the options that are gaining more likes and love reactions on different online and social media portals, this has made restaurant owners to build their social media audience, and for this the apps of the dine-in spaces are awarding diners with rewards and benefits in return for every share and positive reviews on Facebook and other social media platforms.

The Mutual Gain

On the whole, technology is redefining dine-out experience, the availability of user-friendly apps aims to provide individual attention to the customer and is like a personal concierge that takes care of everything while dining out. Besides, the same technology options are helping restaurants/food outlets in improving their operational efficiency, customers' experience, and business growth. From human resources to inventory control and labour costs, technology systems are helping control costs while maximizing efficiency.

Smit Nebhwani

Co-Founder & CEO, Voolsy

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