What Separates Thriving Restaurants From Failing Ones? Here Is the Key Ingredient Entrepreneurs Can Harness to Unlock Success. This is becoming a non-negotiable asset in the modern restaurant landscape.

By Greg Davis

Key Takeaways

  • Why a strong internet connection is a vital component of a successful restaurant business.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The internet is a key factor in the growth and development of modern businesses, and restaurants are not immune to its effects. A strong internet connection for a restaurant fuels more than just the free public Wi-Fi service offered to customers. The challenges brought forth by 2020 proved that internet health is a vital component of a strong restaurant business.

In fact, the digital divide is becoming increasingly evident in the restaurant world, and those who utilize the internet and tech well will survive. While a strong internet connection is critical for many reasons, these ten are the most pressing.

Related: Business Network Health — Why You Must Prioritize It (and What It Could Cost If You Don't)

1. Utilize cloud-based POS systems

Managing orders and inventory starts with a robust POS system. Fast internet allows restaurants to use cloud-based systems that provide real-time updates of both orders and shrinking inventory. Both wait staff and guests benefit from the ability to turn tables more quickly, lessening wait times and making the time from walking in the door to getting food on the table faster. Because of the reliance on online POS systems, many restaurants, like the fast-growing pizza chain Jet's Pizza, now choose secondary internet connections to ensure their POS is always on.

2. Offer online ordering (and home delivery)

Restaurant guests are growing increasingly accustomed to having restaurant food at home. A healthy internet connection at your restaurant means easy online ordering for your customers. Slow connections contribute to abandoned orders and lost revenue. Robust internet connectivity also increases your ability to offer delivery service.

3. Streamline your payment processing

Whether you rely on a simple Square Reader system or a complex POS processor, your ability to take card payments is crucial to your success as a restaurant. According to the Pew Research Center, 41% of Americans make none of their weekly purchases using cash, and only 14% say they use cash for all of their payments. Cash is on the way out, and you need strong internet to take card payments and continue producing revenue for your customers.

4. Take real-time reservations

Modern restaurant guests appreciate the time savings of a reservation, and the internet allows you to take reservations without impacting your daily operations and taking up staff time. However, again, this requires a strong internet connection to track and access those reservations when the guest arrives at the restaurant, ensuring their table is ready for them.

5. Keep data safe and secure

Data is increasingly essential to the modern restaurant. Keeping that data secure and backed up requires a flawless internet connection. Without the internet, you cannot track sales receipts, guest preference information and data about inventory in real time.

Related: 6 Easy Tips to Speed Up Your Internet Connection

6. Build a social media and online presence

When you have a reliable internet connection, you will be able to build an online presence more efficiently, and that's critical to your restaurant marketing. Not only can you quickly upload photos and videos to your social media channels, but your guests can do so as well. The more engaging your online presence, the more effective your restaurant will be; a strong internet connection makes that happen.

7. Improve customer service through better communication

Customers choose to communicate with the modern restaurant through online chats, reviews and emails. If you have a weak internet connection, those messages will be delayed at best and lost at worst. Fast, friendly responses to customer communication are essential to the guest experience, requiring a fast internet connection.

8. Update digital menus in real-time

Digital menus are becoming increasingly popular. QR code menus allow guests to browse on their phones while their table is prepared, and they eliminate the need to keep paper menus sanitary between guests. They also allow you to update in real time if you run out of a popular dish. Over half of restaurant guests say they appreciate a QR code digital menu that is kept up-to-date. Again, this requires a good internet connection to use well.

9. Use Wi-Fi to improve guest ambiance

Do you want your guests (and staff) to be in a good mood while they are in your restaurant? Then, upload a soothing or fun playlist using your internet connection. Do you want to make your restaurant convenient for your guests? Free Wi-Fi in the building can also help. They can do research or play online games while they wait. Parents can even use the connection to keep antsy kids occupied and the noise level down in the restaurant. For these scenarios to play out, your internet connection needs to be healthy.

10. Improve overall operational efficiency

With all of the different moving parts of a busy restaurant, from scheduling to inventory management, you will need your tech to function properly. Again, this requires strong internet. Both the back-of-house team and the front-of-house team need the internet to do their jobs.

This list is just 10 of the many reasons why a strong internet connection is a vital component of a restaurant. In light of these facts, restaurant owners must prioritize a healthy internet connection — it's the backbone of your success and not something you can afford to overlook.

Related: How Internet Brownouts Can Threaten Your Business — and 8 Ways to Minimize Their Impact

Greg Davis

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Bigleaf Networks

Greg Davis is the CEO of Bigleaf Networks, with a record of scaling businesses through revenue growth, operations, and strategic acquisitions. He has 25+ years of tech leadership, leading start-ups to $100M+ in annual revenue. He has been on the board of directors for Bigleaf Networks since 2020.

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