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Must-Have Restaurant Technology for New Restaurant Owners

Unlock your restaurant's potential with must-have technology. Stay ahead, streamline operations, and succeed with this latest tech guide.

5 mins readJuly 13, 2023

Author's Bio

Luke Carlino is a freelance copywriter, social media manager, and content creator from Melbourne, Australia, with many years of experience. He also writes, records and performs original music; simply pop his name into any streaming platform to listen.

The restaurant industry is in a state of constant change, with customer preferences continually evolving. Digital solutions are quickly becoming a necessity for restaurateurs, especially given the recent shift in industry dynamics due to the pandemic.

This has led to the rise of technologies ranging from online orders to contact-free payments, transforming the traditional mode of operations in the sector.

This article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the key technologies that are revolutionizing the restaurant industry. As an aspiring restaurant owner, tapping into these technological trends can significantly enhance your operational efficiency, customer experience, and profit margins.

Take this chance to arm yourself with the insights you need to maintain a competitive edge and build a resilient business in the bustling food and beverage landscape.

Technologies for Marketing

Let's take a look at 3 of the most common technologies used by today's restaurant owners for marketing.


1. Online delivery apps


Online delivery apps, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub, enable customers to place orders online for delivery or pickup from nearby restaurants. These platforms provide a digital marketplace where restaurants can showcase their menus and reach a broader customer base.

Online food ordering and home delivery services have become indispensable in an industry vulnerable to regulatory restrictions and stringent sanitary regulations. This trend shows no signs of waning as customers increasingly embrace the convenience of ordering food online and having it delivered directly to their doorstep.

According to Statista, the projected growth of the global online food delivery market will hit around $223.7 billion by 2027.

Benefits for restaurant owners include expanded reach and increased visibility, allowing them to attract new customers beyond their physical location. Online ordering platforms also streamline the ordering process, reduce manual errors, and improve order accuracy. The costs of implementing online delivery platforms can vary depending on platform fees, commission rates, and additional services offered. They typically go around 5% to 30% commission.


2. ChatGPT


ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that utilizes natural language processing to simulate human-like conversations. It can understand and respond to customer inquiries, provide recommendations, and handle various support-related tasks.

ChatGPT can offer 24/7 customer support, reducing the workload on staff, and improving response times. It can efficiently handle frequently asked questions, make personalized recommendations, and even take orders. Restaurant owners can find and integrate ChatGPT into their operations by partnering with AI service providers or exploring chatbot development platforms like Chatfuel or ManyChat.

Just keep in mind the costs of implementing ChatGPT for a restaurant depend on factors such as the complexity of the chatbot, the number of interactions, and the chosen service provider.

ChatGPT can also be used in a creative manner. You can devise new recipe alternatives or ask for help while creating menu descriptions or marketing ideas. For example, you could use a prompt like this:

Act as an experienced chef, a food restaurant advisor and suggest how to turn our [NAME OF THE DISH] into a [DESIRED ALTERNATIVE, SUCH AS VEGETARIAN] option. The ingredients are: [LIST OF INGREDIENTS]. Please provide 3 alternatives. I want each alternative to include a list of ingredients and cooking instructions.

Another example is this: “I want you to act as a seasoned food expert, and write a [TEXT LENGTH] appealing menu description for my restaurant’s recipe. The name of the recipe is [RECIPE NAME] and these are the ingredients: [INGREDIENTS LIST].

Although the answer may require some adjustments, the ideas and the combinations it can generate are always very helpful and time-saving.


3. Social Media automation software for restaurants


Social media automation software, such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social, helps restaurant owners manage and schedule their social media posts, engage with followers, monitor online reviews, and analyze social media performance.

This software offers benefits like time savings, consistent branding and messaging, efficient management of multiple social media platforms, and valuable insights into customer preferences and sentiment. Restaurant owners can find reliable social media automation software tailored for their industry by researching popular providers or seeking recommendations from industry peers.

In terms of cost, implementing social media automation software fees will vary based on factors like the number of social media accounts, features required, and the size of the restaurant.

Technologies for Restaurant Management

There are six key technologies being used by new restaurant owners up and down the United States.


1. Web-Based and Cloud-based Point of Sale Terminals


The right POS system allows online restaurants to manage and process customer orders efficiently. It consolidates all incoming orders from various channels into a centralized system, making it easier to track, process, and fulfill promptly. This streamlines the order management process, reducing errors and ensuring a smooth customer experience.nce.

As an example, Magestore’s point of sale for Magento syncs order data in real-time. When a sale is made through the POS system, the sales orders are immediately updated in the backend of the online store. This synchronization ensures that the order information is accurate and up to date across all systems. Customer data is also synchronized between the POS system and the online store in real time. This means that all customer information remains consistent and identical in both systems.

Any purchases made through the POS system, as well as any reward points earned, are seamlessly transferred to the backend of the online store, ensuring that the customer's history and loyalty rewards are accurately reflected across all touchpoints.

Ultimately, the best type of POS terminal for a business will depend on its specific needs and requirements.

Prices for web-based POS systems vary from $50 to $100 per month. Prices for cloud-based POS systems for restaurants go from around 50$ to around 250$ per month, depending on the required features.


2. Touchscreen POS Systems


Designed to enhance efficiency and withstand the demanding environment of a restaurant, these advanced technologies offer numerous benefits that can transform your business.

Imagine a bustling restaurant where staff seamlessly navigate the order-taking process with ease. Touchscreen terminals, powered by intuitive restaurant POS software, provide an effortless user experience, enabling both seasoned employees and new hires to quickly adapt. With a simple and user-friendly interface, staff can swiftly process orders, resulting in increased productivity and revenue generation.

But that's not all. Today's cutting-edge POS systems, particularly favored by quick-service restaurants, feature guest-facing screens. This innovative feature allows customers to follow along as they place their orders, make quick payments, and even leave tips directly on the screen. The result? Improved order accuracy, heightened customer satisfaction, and shorter wait times, ensuring a smooth and efficient service flow.

Additionally, the best-in-class POS terminals seamlessly integrate with credit card and mobile payment options, providing ultimate convenience for your customers.

From Near Field Communication (NFC) methods like Apple Pay and Google Wallet to Europay Mastercard and Visa (EMV), as well as Magnetic Stripe Card (MSR) compatibility, these systems cater to a wide range of payment preferences. Embracing these digital payment technologies not only enhances customer experience but also helps protect against fraud and provides a seamless checkout process.

A simple touchscreen POS system’s price starts from around $ 1,500 for a restaurant.

3. Automated inventory management software


Revolutionize inventory handling, from tracking stock levels to generating comprehensive reports with Automated Inventory Management Software. This innovation offers real-time monitoring, cost control and waste reduction and the ability to reduce manual and time-consuming tasks, such as manual stock counts and data entry.

Automated inventory management software streamlines and digitizes the process of tracking and managing restaurant inventory. It enables real-time monitoring of stock levels, automates inventory replenishment, and generates detailed reports.

This provides a range of advantages, such as minimizing waste, reducing human error, optimizing inventory levels, and facilitating cost control. It allows for better stock management, reduces the risk of overstocking or stockouts, and provides valuable insights into purchasing patterns.

Reliable automated inventory management software can be found by researching reputable providers like Upserve, Toast, or MarketMan. These platforms offer features specifically tailored to the restaurant industry. The costs associated with implementing automated inventory management software depend on factors such as the size of the restaurant, the number of locations, and the specific features required.


4. Self-Order Kiosks (POS)


Self-order kiosks are interactive touch-screen devices placed in restaurants, allowing customers to browse menus, customize orders, and make payments without assistance from staff. These kiosks seamlessly integrate with the restaurant's point-of-sale (POS) system, and offer a multitude of benefits that go beyond traditional ordering methods.

Picture this: a sleek and user-friendly self-order kiosk greets customers as they enter your restaurant. With intuitive interfaces and interactive menus, guests can effortlessly explore your offerings, browse through options, and customize their orders to their exact preferences. This level of control empowers diners to tailor their meals, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and a truly personalized dining experience.

But the advantages don't end there. Thoughtfully-designed self-order kiosks have proven to boost overall business performance. By strategically incorporating upsell prompts and suggestive selling techniques, restaurants can effectively increase the average check size. These prompts intelligently suggest complementary items, enticing customers to explore additional menu offerings and ultimately driving higher revenue.

Moreover, self-order kiosks expedite the ordering process, reducing wait times and minimizing long queues. This efficiency not only enhances customer experience but also enables your team to serve more customers within the same timeframe. With self-order kiosks, you can mitigate staffing and productivity constraints, ensuring a smooth and seamless operation even during peak hours.

The prices for such systems vary depending on whether the restaurant owner wants to buy or rent the device, and the required features.

Restaurant Tech

5. Handheld POS Systems


Handheld POS systems are portable devices like tablets or smartphones that enable servers to take orders and process payments directly at the table. These systems integrate with the central POS system, enhancing order accuracy, improving table turnover, and enabling a seamless dining experience.

The advantages of this restaurant technology for owners include improved order accuracy, faster service, streamlined payment processing, and enhanced customer engagement. Handheld POS systems empower servers to take orders efficiently, eliminating the need for manual order transcriptions and reducing waiting times. Handheld POS systems can be obtained from POS providers like Lightspeed, Square, or Toast. These companies offer handheld devices and accompanying software that integrate seamlessly with their POS systems.

Handheld POS devices cost from around $30 depending on the model and its features, but don’t forget that banks usually charge commissions for POS transactions.


6. Delivery POS


Delivery POS systems are specifically designed to manage and optimize restaurant delivery operations. They provide features like delivery driver tracking, route optimization, online order integration, and customer communication tools.

POS systems streamline delivery processes, improve accuracy, increase driver efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction. These systems help track deliveries in real-time, optimize routes to reduce delivery time, and facilitate effective communication with customers.

Consumers demand seamless interactions, personalized service, and timely resolutions to their queries and concerns. As a result, the staff members handling a restaurant's incoming calls also face the ongoing challenge of providing an ever-improving customer experience while balancing their time. This is where the power of Contact Center AI (CCAI) comes into play, revolutionizing how restaurants engage with their customers.

A complete restaurant delivery POS system goes from around $2,000 up to $6,500.

Restaurant laws

Technologies for Customer Service

Did you know that there are 5 things customers always expect at a restaurant. Below we tell you what they are and the technologies used to provide them.


1. Order and Pay at the Table


Enabling guests to order and pay for their meals directly from their own devices minimizes physical contact and promotes a safer dining experience. By allowing guests to place their orders and pay digitally, you streamline the ordering process, reducing the time spent on traditional order-taking methods. This, in turn, improves table turn times and enables restaurants to serve more customers efficiently.

Picture a popular fine dining restaurant that implemented this innovative technology in partnership with leading platforms such as Eat App, Wisely, and OpenTable. As guests arrive, they are greeted by a host who provides a quick overview of the Order and Pay at the Table system. Customers simply scan a QR code on their table, which seamlessly connects them to the digital menu and ordering interface. They can then browse the exquisite dishes, select their desired items, and customize them to their liking. Once they are ready, guests can securely pay for their meals directly from their devices, eliminating the need for physical payment methods or lengthy wait times. This frictionless dining experience not only enhances customer satisfaction but also allows the restaurant to optimize their operations by serving more guests efficiently.

In addition, automated invoice processing can free owners and their teams from the tedium of manual invoice processing, allowing them to focus on more value-added tasks related to the quality of the products and of the service.


2. Augmented Reality Menus


Augmented Reality (AR) menus have emerged as a revolutionary technology that enhances the dining experience in unique and immersive ways. By integrating digital elements into the physical menu, AR menus offer a range of benefits for both customers and restaurant owners, including:


  • Providing an engaging and interactive experience for customers
  • Creating the visual representation of dishes
  • Having menus that can easily be customized to offer multilingual options, catering to international customers
  • Creates new possibilities for upselling and cross-selling

Beyond the captivating visual experience, Augmented Reality Menus offer numerous benefits for both customers and restaurants. By seamlessly integrating with the ordering and POS systems, customers can effortlessly transition from browsing to placing their orders with a few taps on their devices. This streamlined process eliminates the need for manual order-taking, reducing errors and enhancing overall efficiency.

3. Online Table Reservation System


To address customer dissatisfaction caused by long wait times, restaurants can utilize a digital table management system. This software streamlines various aspects of the dining process, from booking reservations directly with customers and suggesting optimal seating arrangements based on time and party size. By providing accurate wait time estimates and sending text notifications when a table is ready, restaurants can offer a more pleasant user experience.

Through intuitive online platforms or mobile apps, diners can conveniently browse available time slots, select their desired date and time, and secure their table with just a few clicks. This eliminates the need for phone calls or in-person visits, streamlining the reservation process and reducing the chances of errors or miscommunication.

In addition to efficient reservation management, Online Table Reservation Systems provide accurate wait time estimates. By leveraging real-time data, restaurants can predict table availability and communicate estimated wait times to customers. This transparency allows guests to plan their visit accordingly, minimizing frustration and creating a more enjoyable dining experience.

To further enhance customer satisfaction, these systems offer the convenience of text notifications. Once a table becomes available, customers receive instant updates via SMS or mobile app notifications, eliminating the need to hover around the host stand or wait anxiously in the lobby. This proactive communication ensures a smooth and seamless transition from waiting to dining, maximizing guest satisfaction and creating a positive impression of the restaurant.

A complete AR menu app for restaurants will cost around $20,000.


4. Food Delivery Tech


Have you ever heard of autonomous vehicles for food delivery? This innovative technology offers streamlined delivery processes and potential cost reductions. For instance, Domino's has conducted tests with self-driving cars in Las Vegas and Miami, and while it may not be mainstream yet, the future holds promise for the widespread implementation of autonomous vehicles or drones.

Starship Technology is already implementing autonomous delivery robots. They have this service in operation in many universities and cities, and they are now partnering up with many other delivery companies.


5. Air Purification


Upgrading your air purification systems can enhance the atmosphere inside your establishment. With advanced filter systems designed to trap pollutants and neutralize contaminants, you can improve the overall air quality.

By investing in state-of-the-art filters, these systems effectively trap pollutants, neutralize contaminants, and improve air quality. Create a clean and fresh dining environment that prioritizes the well-being of your guests. With enhanced air quality, you can provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience while addressing health concerns.

Proactively investing in air purification systems demonstrates your commitment to safety, builds trust among customers, and sets your restaurant apart in the industry. Ensure a safe and inviting atmosphere that meets the expectations of health-conscious diners.

Prices start at $ 2,500 for small restaurants.

Restaurant apps

Technologies for your Restaurant Kitchen

New restaurant owners around the United States are implementing 3 key technologies in their restaurant to speed up processes:


1. Robotic kitchen appliances


Robotic kitchen appliances offer advanced automation and precision. They can significantly improve efficiency and productivity in food preparation, performing repetitive tasks quickly and consistently, reducing human errors and freeing chefs to focus on more creative aspects of cooking. Additionally, robotic kitchen appliances can enhance safety by minimizing the risks of handling sharp tools and hot surfaces.


Let's delve into a couple of examples showcasing the impact of robotic kitchen appliances:


  • Automated Food Preparation: Robotic prep stations equipped with precision cutting tools can precisely dice, chop, and slice ingredients with incredible speed and accuracy. This automation reduces labor-intensive prep time and ensures consistent portioning, resulting in faster service and improved plate presentation.

  • Precision Cooking: Robotic cooking systems, such as automated grills or sous vide machines, guarantee precise cooking temperatures and timings. This level of control ensures consistent cooking results for every dish, allowing chefs to maintain high-quality standards and meet customer expectations consistently.


2. Bluetooth temperature sensors


Bluetooth temperature monitoring systems enable restaurants to measure the temperatures of their key assets, such as food items and equipment, in seconds. Handheld probes and fixed sensors provide precise readings, ensuring accurate temperature monitoring.

By measuring temperatures, restaurants can quickly identify and address deviations from the desired temperature ranges. This proactive approach helps prevent food spoilage, maintain quality, and ensure customer safety.

Prices for a bluetooth temperature sensor start at $50


3.Kitchen Display Screens


Restaurants increasingly opt for kitchen display systems (KDS) instead of printed tickets to maintain efficiency in the bustling kitchen. KDS offers several advantages over traditional ticket printers.

Firstly, it is environmentally friendly as it operates digitally, eliminating the need for paper. This reduces waste and eliminates issues like greasy smudges or lost tickets.

Mounted on walls or counter stands, KDS gives kitchen staff a centralized view of all open orders on a single screen. This enhances organization, ensuring accurate and timely order fulfillment while facilitating smooth operations in the front-of-house.

Imagine the impact of having a clear view of all open orders in the kitchen. With KDS mounted on the wall or a counter stand, kitchen staff can stay organized, fulfill orders accurately, and ensure timely delivery. This seamless coordination between the kitchen and front-of-house operations ensures a smooth and delightful dining experience for guests.

This type of service goes for around $10 to $25 per month.

Technologies to Manage Restaurant Staff

Managing a team of restaurant staff is not easy. That's why newbie restaurant owners are using these 3 new technologies for this purpose:

1. Staff Scheduling Software


Managing schedules in the restaurant industry can be a daunting task for restaurateurs. However, scheduling software allows managers to generate and distribute digital weekly schedules to employees within seconds.

The software optimises shift times and positions by considering historical staffing patterns, forecasted sales levels, and employee availability to prevent overstaffing or understaffing. Additionally, the software facilitates employee time-off requests and shift swaps directly through the app.

Prices start at $30 per month.


2. Restaurant payroll software


Restaurant payroll software provides automated calculations and easy integration with timekeeping systems, saving time and reducing the chances of errors in payroll processing. The software simplifies tax calculations and compliance, ensuring accurate and timely employee payments. Additionally, it offers detailed reporting and analytics, providing insights into labor costs and helping optimize staffing levels for improved financial efficiency.

The average price for payroll software is about $30 per month.


3. VoIP networking


VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) networking offers numerous advantages for restaurants, making it an essential communication solution in today's digital landscape. With a Cloud VoIP phone service, restaurants can significantly reduce their communication costs. Traditional phone systems often incur high long-distance charges, especially for restaurants with multiple locations. On the other hand, VoIP utilizes the internet to transmit voice data, eliminating or reducing long-distance costs and lowering overall communication expenses.

Restaurant staff can utilize features like call forwarding, voicemail to email transcription, and virtual extensions to seamlessly manage incoming calls and ensure that no important customer inquiries are missed. With call routing options, calls can be automatically directed to the appropriate department or staff member, streamlining the communication process and minimizing customer wait times.

In terms of scalability, VoIP networking provides the flexibility to adapt to the restaurant's changing needs. As the restaurant grows or expands to multiple locations, additional phone lines or extensions can be easily added without the hassle and expense of rewiring or installing new hardware. This scalability ensures that the communication system can keep up with the evolving demands of the restaurant.

Takeaways

1. Online Delivery Apps: Utilize platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub to reach a broader customer base and streamline online ordering and delivery services.


2. ChatGPT: Implement AI-powered chatbots to provide 24/7 customer support, handle inquiries, and take orders, reducing staff workload and improving response times.


3. Social Media Automation Software: Use tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to manage and schedule social media posts, engage with followers, and analyze performance.


4. Cloud-Based Point of Sale (POS) Terminals: Opt for a POS system that consolidates and tracks customer orders from various channels, streamlining order management and ensuring a smooth customer experience.


5. Touchscreen POS Systems: Enhance efficiency with intuitive touchscreen terminals, allowing staff to process orders quickly, improve accuracy, and provide a better guest experience.


6. Automated Inventory Management Software: Streamline inventory tracking, reduce waste, and optimize stock levels with automated software that generates real-time reports.


7. Self-Order Kiosks (POS): Install interactive kiosks that empower customers to browse menus, customize orders, and make payments independently, improving order accuracy and increasing revenue.


8. Handheld POS Systems: Equip servers with portable devices like tablets or smartphones to take orders and process payments directly at the table, enhancing order accuracy and customer engagement.


9. Delivery POS Systems: Implement specialized systems to optimize delivery operations, including driver tracking, route optimization, and customer communication tools.


10. VoIP Networking: Utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to reduce communication costs, streamline call management, and easily scale phone lines or extensions as the business grows.


By implementing these technologies, newbie restaurant owners can enhance efficiency, improve customer experience, and stay ahead in a competitive market. The above examples are just some of the options to help make running your restaurant much simpler. Along with this, we always recommend that you keep your business protected by speaking with a CoverWallet agent to discuss the best insurance options for your needs.

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