Restaurant Tech: A Must in Today’s World
Although you may have started your restaurant business in the days of paper menus, paper flyers, and newspaper ads, times have changed. Technology in the restaurant industry is rapidly becoming the new normal, and you could be missing out on many benefits if tech tools aren’t yet on your restaurant’s menu. According to Toast, 79 percent of restaurant-goers say that “restaurant technology improves their experience.” In addition, restaurant operators say using technology – for back-office purposes and for relating to the public – improves productivity, increases sales, and provides a competitive edge.
What is Restaurant Technology?
In today’s digital world, restaurants cannot afford to keep their service, accounting systems, and customer interface back in the last century. Back-office operations – the part of the business that customers generally don’t see, such as bookkeeping, staffing, and food-ordering – has left the pen and paper behind, allowing technology to take over. Streamlining operations through automation and by electronically connecting all facets of the back office has saved restaurants untold amounts of money, despite the initial investment.
Similarly, restaurants can no longer depend on word of mouth and print media to reach their target audience and bring in business. In the age of smartphones and tablets, any restaurant that doesn’t take advantage of the latest technology to interface with customers, is simply losing business with every day that passes.
Yelp is a website where the public can rate and review various local businesses. Based on the average rating of one to five stars and the number of reviews, businesses are rated compared to other venues in the vicinity. According to Yelp’s “About Us” page, it was founded in 2004 to help the public find local businesses. They had an average of about 142 million monthly visitors in the first quarter of 2015, and users have written over 77 million reviews. Yelp provides business owners with an option to set up a free account, from which they can post photos and message their customers, as well as purchase ads. In this way, it provides a great platform for positive word-of-mouth to spread through social media, potentially boosting a venue’s image in the public eye. However, at the same time, a negative review can ruin a business, presenting a downside to the service.
Chez Pannise, for example, often a top-rated restaurants, has only four stars on Yelp and has received particularly nasty reviews such as:
“Look, 100 years ago or whenever Alice whats-her-name came up with the oh-so-brilliant idea of serving stuff that’s fresh and local (DUH, like rural people have been doing FOREVER), but guess what .. tons of places have taken the concept light years beyond anything ms. alice does and they do it far, far better…”
On the other hand, Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine, California, is the top-rated restaurant in the United States for 2015, according to Yelp, and has received praise such as:
“***DO NOT MISS THIS SLICE OF BBQ HEAVEN***
As a BBQ aficionado, this gem ranks in the top 1%!!
Owner Hank loves what he does and loves whom he serves!…”
The contrasting examples above make the case for keeping in mind the pros and cons of Yelp when opening a business page, and when deciding how to run a venue.
Online Restaurant Reservations
When it comes to 21st century restaurant management, online restaurant reservations are the way to go. The Internet is the first place people look for anything these days – a product, a special deal, or a place to dine out. Of course, it is best to access all the info from one source – one place where people can learn all about your restaurant, menu, and reviews.
To capture potential diners and increase those all-important online restaurant reservations, you need to expand your online presence. You can send out mailings and other marketing gimmicks through your website, but how many people actually pay attention to that stuff? Furthermore, customer testimonials are limited to people who are looking at your site.
You can and should list your restaurant on the usual sites, such as YELP, YAHOO, and MENUPAGES, however they are used primarily for customer reviews. You need to distinguish yourself from your competitors as much as possible. Enter OpenTable.com! (…Read More…)