We’re already eating our way into 2020 – but what will the restaurant of tomorrow look like? We’ve been gazing into our hospitality crystal ball, and it will probably be something like this:
- The customer has been chatting with Alexa, and the device asks if he wants to book a table at his favourite eating place. Instead, he decides to use Facebook Messenger to place an order to be delivered.
- A customer arrives at the burger chain she uses all the time – she’s already pre-ordered and pre-paid for her meal using the restaurant’s app. The system has remembered her usual order, recalled that she doesn’t like relish, and the personalised order is ready to pick up as soon as she arrives. There’s no queueing, or delay.
- Another customer takes a drive to collect a pre-ordered meal. As soon he enters the car park, his arrival is detected by the restaurant’s smart platform, and the kitchen is told he’s ready to pick it up.
- Friends are having a chat on social media, and decide they want to go for a meal out together. They use the restaurant’s app separately to place their individual orders what they want to eat. Once they have eaten, they are automatically billed individually.
This could be tomorrow for many restaurants – but it’s actually what’s happening today for some of the most technologically advanced.
They use a restaurant POS system and other advanced technologies including virtual assistant based ordering and chatbot assistants, to deliver what today’s demanding diner wants – a very personalised experience, easily delivered.
In a hugely competitive market, it’s a real strategy for success. As analysts Deloitte say in a recent report:
“Winning restaurant brands will be those that best understand their customers, capitalise on digital technology options and analytics and seize upon the opportunity to engage customers in a highly personalised way.”
Restaurateurs will have a lot to think about as the digital transformation of the industry develops. And it’s not just about new gadgets coming onto the market.
It’s about how you use the amazing digital tools available to you, in what combination – and about the way your customers choose to respond to the technology.
At the heart of every clued-up and successful restaurant there is already a hugely capable restaurant POS system.
It’s at work in the background 24/7 carrying out valuable activities that improve operations and drive revenue, including:
- Keeping labour costs under control
- Controlling stock and lessening food waste
- Providing tableside ordering and payments via handheld devices
- Making food delivery and table turn quicker
- Enabling online reservations and customer ordering
- Reducing risks including staff fraud and allergens.
The restaurant POS system is also a major contributor to creating the customised guest experience, capturing data with each diner interaction.
For example, the restaurant of the future will offer each customer a personalised menu that caters to their known preferences from previous orders. Once you reject relish with your burger, you’ll never have to do it again.
That in-depth knowledge of diner preferences will go further than food and seating choices.
The coolest restaurants will examine the digital life of their customers; with so many communications channels at our disposal, people usually prefer one or two over others.
Restaurants will define how their customers interact with technologies. For example, are they Alexa fans – and is that the best way to reach them? Do they prefer Messenger?
Did you know:
Deloitte surveyed a total of 4,500 diners, and discovered that almost nine in ten of them belonged to fewer than three loyalty programmes.
You want to be one of those favoured three – so you need your loyalty programme to match their preference and lifestyle perfectly.
With the data captured by your restaurant POS system and insight into the way they like you to communicate with them, you can create targeted marketing campaigns providing offers guaranteed to be appreciated.
And that’s happening NOW, not in the future.
There will always be developments we just can’t predict – a decade ago, who would have imagined food delivery by drone?
But one thing’s for sure: digital transformation is here to stay in the hospitality industry – and the restaurants who on board in 2020 are the ones who are going to be around for a very long time.
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