Opportunities To Automate Your Restaurant

Opportunities To Automate Your Restaurant

Automated payment systems increase table turnover rates.

Technology is the name of the game in today’s world.

That means technology has come on the restaurant scene with a strong presence in 2015. If you aren’t currently automating at least one system in your restaurant, it’s time to look at the many options.

We’re going to discuss opportunities to automate your restaurant and make it run more efficiently. While some of these are things you can implement right away, others are in the beginning stages of development.

Take a look and see which ones might make your restaurant run more smoothly and efficiently.

Self-Ordering Kiosks and At Table Ordering

Restaurants like McDonalds are moving to self-ordering kiosks. They say this will improve order accuracy, speed up service and have the potential to reduce labor costs.

Today’s millennial generation demands this type of convenience. At table ordering gives millennials a sense of control and meets their needs for immediacy. (tweet this) They want what they want when they want it, and self-ordering kiosks provide that for them.

Chili’s has deployed tablets for ordering using Ziosk. These tablets are used for ordering drinks, appetizers and desserts. They are optional for customers. Their wait staff takes the drink and entrée orders giving customers the option to modify or add on to orders on their own.

Restaurants want to speak the language of the millennials. At table ordering and self-ordering allows restaurants to keep up with this young generation and meet their needs.

Restaurants also offer games and feedback opportunities on these automated table ordering systems. Customers can provide their feedback in real time. Restaurants can offer loyalty program sign-ups at the table, even offering a discount for doing so.

Table ordering systems have the opportunity to increase sales because there’s no waiting involved to order another drink or dessert.

Mobile Ordering

Roughly one-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association in its 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast.

Mobile ordering is just one of the ways you can automate your restaurant.

Today’s generation demands speed and convenience. They don’t want to wait in long lines to place their order.

A new restaurant, Qdoba, opened in my neighborhood last week. I was just returning from a long business trip, I had a hungry family and no time to cook. I just wanted to go home. I solved all my problems at once with online ordering.

I picked up my smartphone, entered my zip code, and I was inside Qdoba’s online ordering system. Everyone ordered what they wanted, I paid, and I was quoted a pick up time. When I got to the restaurant, I noted a full parking lot and long line of people deciding what to order.

No problem for me! I walked right up to the meal pick up line, gave my name and was handed my bag of food.

So simple. I got what I wanted, and I got it quickly. It’s worth noting that because we ordered online, we ordered more than we usually would have.

It’s apparently not just me who orders more when the ordering is automated.  According to a study by Ryan McDevitt of the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, consumers order online with a more “reckless abandon” because the lack of social interaction acts as a barrier to shame. Essentially, there’s a lot less judgement and guilt on the consumer for pigging out now and again.

checkout system

Customer check out time is cut in half with automated payment systems.

Checkout System

You can easily automate your checkout system with your table kiosks. (tweet this) Plus, it will leave you with much happier customers.

One of the most exasperating parts of eating out is waiting for the check. It always seems to take the server forever to pick it up, process it and return it.

Send your customers off on a positive note. Offer an automated checkout system. They’ll be happier and even encouraged to leave a positive review. Plus, your tables will turn over sooner enabling you to serve more diners.

Drink Service Automation

Drink machines like the Coca-Cola Freestyle deliver instant drinks to customers. A star attraction at thousands of restaurants, this machine allows customers to pick from over 100 varieties of soft drinks.

With an easy touchscreen, people can serve themselves over and over again. According to Coca-Cola, this ultimate drink machine has boosted sales and increased guest traffic in restaurants using the machines.

Point of Sale System

When you automate this system, you’ll have a clear picture of your sales and your food inventory. You’ll easily be able to answer questions such as why your food costs are increasing, but your sales aren’t. You can check mistakes on orders and inventory. You’ll be able to monitor employees work hours and supervise the daily operations with ease.

Diner by Drone

According to Restaurant-Hospitality, flying robots are on track to start delivering food and drinks to restaurant patrons by the end of 2015.

Infinium Robotics has developed a fully autonomous delivery system with flying robots taking orders and even delivering food. These special flying fiends are programmed with collision avoidance technology so they don’t run into their fellow servers.

The advantages of these automated robots?

  • Fast delivery speed
  • Save space
  • Maximizes sales per square foot
  • Uses the space between ceiling and above human height to deliver food & drinks to customers
  • Adapts to restaurant’s unique layout
  • Simple to deploy
  • Fully autonomous
  • Safe, reliable and efficient
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • No worker strikes, and no salary needed, ever

If you’ve got to see it to believe it, click here to see a video clip of these autonomous robots in action.

Bionic Bar

Humans love their bartenders. It’s always been fascinating to watch them serve drinks, and of course, we like that they listen to our stories.

While we don’t anticipate the demise of the bartender, one restaurant has introduced bionic bartenders that automate drink creation and delivery.

The Makr Shakr, an Italian inception, consists of robotic arms that mix cocktails and put them on a conveyer belt to be carried across the bar to a waiting customer or server. Currently in service in restaurants on Royal Caribbean ships, these robots weren’t created to replace the bartender but to wow customers.

To Conclude

We’ve discussed some easy to implement strategies and included a couple cutting edge approaches to automating your restaurant.

No matter the size of your restaurant, automation increases your productivity and your efficiency.

When you automate your restaurant systems, your staff can focus more on the overall customer experience. This in turn increases your bottom line with happy customers.

How have you implemented strategies for automation at your restaurant? If you have more opportunities for automation then mentioned here, please share them. We’d love to hear them.

Images: Andy and emilydickinsonridesabmx

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  • Mark Kf

    Wow, thanks for sharing this. It;s good to see there’s a lot of automation coming into play – automated payment system, checkout system, etc.,

    What are your thoughts on automating other operational processes / workflow processes?

  • Michael Warren

    Our company Freshtemp has a system that automates temp and task logs. Basically we remove them from the old clip board style checklist and once you download are app all yoru task and temps can be checked off and monitored electronically.

    We basically think we can cut the prep times pretty significantly with this system. Any feedback or questions feel free hit me up, mwarren@freshtemp.com

  • http://www.mcfaddensballpark.com/ McFadden’s Ballpark

    Food app is a good job. online book food, solve payment issue and more. keep it up.