In 1997, Steve Jobs famously said, “You’ve got to start with customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around”.
This statement had evolved since 1997, and never resonated more than what is happening now with the restaurant industry. Customers have come to expect, maybe even demand, a unified guest experience. Restaurant owners and service providers are being pushed to strategically leverage technology to their advantage.
With so many moving parts, this can all be very daunting for restaurant owners, as well as their employees. Some of the most common conversation points with restaurant partners can lead to even more questions.
- How can smaller locally owned shops stay abreast of the customer demand for ease of use and convenience and continue to keep up ever the expanding technology?
- Does your rewards platform integrate with your delivery platform?
- Does your delivery platform integrate with your restaurant POS software?
- How can your catering platform be better integrated into each of these systems?
- How can your loyalty points program apply to all these sales avenues?
- Do you offer gift cards and if so, can they be purchased and redeemed seamlessly from any of your ordering platforms?
- How do large franchised restaurants ensure that they are able to keep up with technology while also keeping their corporate identity?
- Do all these platforms integrate to make it easier for you to market your brand?
- Does your back office aggregate your sales reports for each of these channels?
- Is one platform outperforming another?
- How does the restaurant industry respond?
The goal of technology should be to simplify the management of a restaurant, while also meeting the needs of as many customers as possible. Integrating takeout, delivery and catering platforms into one seamless avenue to talk directly to the point of sale will be the solution. Unifying technology to create meaningful customer interactions will help keep restaurants profitable.
At the end of the day, restaurateurs want to provide an excellent customer experience that parallels the need for evolving technology and fulfill customers’ orders in the most efficient manner. Integrating technology will also help restaurants more effectively decode the ever-increasing data that comes from using technology effectively. Analyzing sales and customer data can keep restaurants agile to the needs and desires of the customer, therefore increasing the meaningful customer interaction. As new technology and tools for deciphering data collection emerge, operators will be better able to strategize their marketing to maximize their profit.
However, restaurants need to stay realistic as to what they can provide while leveraging technology. Making sure they are prepared to deliver on the new opportunities’ technology brings forth. The importance of owning the customer experience full-cycle or out-sourcing parts, such as delivery can have ramifications both ways. If restaurants are not prepared for the growth, being too busy may lead to a less than optimal customer experience. Technology is helping to solve operational challenges so that restaurants can better engage with all their customers. In the end, all restaurants really want to do is ensure that every customer has the best customer experience, weather the customer is on site to dine, ordering delivery or takeout. Hopefully, the technology helps everyone to that amazing guest experience goal.