In the digital age, the dining experience is changing.

Reshaped processes require restaurant owners and customers to adapt, promising a bright and sustainable future.

The digital approach to running a restaurant is still really about the end goals. For the business owner, these goals are saving time, reducing workloads, cutting costs, increasing hygiene, managing staff, and improving innovation and sustainability.

At the customer touchpoints, the goals are to provide smooth service, appealing food and beverages, efficient reservations and payments and a memorable dining experience.

Successfully managing the transition to a digital restaurant business involves implementing change and educating customers on the benefits of this new approach.

Digital age dining

New restaurant technology has simplified operations in the kitchen and at the tables. Behind the scenes in the office, automated accounts and cloud-based software have streamlined restaurant admin and management, as in many industries. Digital media has expanded marketing reach and enabled more sophisticated customer relations.

Has your business kept pace with the ‘new normal’ standards of a 2022 restaurant?

  • Online ordering and purchasing of supplies
  • Kitchen display systems (KDS) for staff processing orders
  • Waiters transmit dining room orders to the kitchen using tablets
  • Restaurant management software
  • Automated inventory management and cloud accounting software
  • Online delivery service – management and customer apps
  • Online bill payment for customers
  • Contactless payments using QR codes
  • A digital presence – including a persuasive website and social media reach
  • Digital interaction with customers
  • Digital records of customer satisfaction levels
  • Digital analytics of customer data to improve service
  • Employee apps for virtual communication
  • Staff training modules online.

Educating customers about the benefits of digital + dining

The pandemic has accelerated the take-up of technology by the restaurant industry and customers who are now more inclined to use digital devices as part of their everyday lives.

Nevertheless, it is still important to develop the right marketing and communications strategies to’ sell’ this new approach’s benefits.

You can empower customers who are trying out digital dining with both in-store and online communications. Make sure your digital menus are thorough and informative in the first place. If customers are fully informed, they can work out what they want, which takes the pressure off staff.

Ensure your online communications describe ordering, delivery, and payment procedures to give customers more confidence. Social posts can help convey relevant changes.

Encourage customer feedback, so you know about any technical problems they encounter when ordering or paying. A digital customer loyalty program will also help keep customers connected.

Futuristic options for today

If your business is already on board with the digital dining era, you could also investigate more futuristic tech trends that include stoves that alert staff of malfunctions, material handling technology to reduce food wastage, robots to take orders from customers and serve them, interactive touch tables for entertaining waiting customers, orders and payments, reordering with facial recognition of customers, or virtual restaurant tours to onboard new employees.

Need more convincing?

Even prior to the pandemic, a US survey found that: “More than 80% of restaurants are adopting technology in their operations – like reservations, online ordering, and restaurant analytics.”

Following are some of the long-term benefits to visualise when you are planning a digital makeover of your food and beverage business.

With routine tasks automated:

  • Standards and systems become more consistent
  • Reduced labour costs save the business money
  • Cloud accounting provides real-time monitoring of cashflow for good decisions
  • Resources can be redirected to creative marketing and differentiating your business.

With contactless options in use:

  • Customers feel safer, increasing custom
  • Staff feel safer, increasing staff retention.

With enhanced digital communications:

  • Customers are kept informed with real-time updates
  • The customer base becomes broader – for both in-house dining and delivery
  • Restaurant product lines can be purchased far beyond the local area
  • Customers become more connected to your brand.

How to get your digital transformation underway

If you run a Parramatta based food and beverage business and you aren’t sure where to start, contact Realise Business to book a free consultation. Business Advisors can review your operations and marketing then help you implement new digital strategies.