Digital Self Ordering - Are you benefiting?

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Who has never been annoyed in a restaurant? With bad tempered waiters who take a lifetime to serve you, and after you have been finally served, you wait another lifetime for the bill. All these factors together turn what was supposed to be a pleasant experience into a nightmare. In our fast paced world, time is of the essence, but we're still always looking for great service and smiling staff.

Having travelled a lot in the past, Jérôme, the CEO of Awadac, observed a recurring problem: ''In my previous jobs I spent my life in restaurants. Very often I would go into a restaurant to kill time. I would catch the waiter's eye to order, be served and then paid. And more often than not I wished I hadn’t bothered, because when I checked my watch, I realized I was late.”

Lots of restaurant owners explain the biggest challenge is to find a balance between productivity and service quality. During peak times, waiters are focused on taking orders and delivering dishes, forgetting customer contact, causing both restaurant goers and the staff to become grumpy and stressed. Lionel Albrecht, Food and Beverage Director at Montpellier train station in France, understands this issue:''80% of waiter time is dedicated to poor added-value tasks whilst only 20% is dedicated to customer relations. I have been working in restaurants for the last 20 years, and it’s clear, we should have modernized earlier''.

What does modernization mean? It means going digital. Many sectors have been gradually implementing new technologies over the last few decades, to quicken up waiting time and to improve their customer service. For example, in logistics (traceability with RFID), transport (geolocation with GPS) and retail (new channels of e-commerce, web to store, digital signage). Restaurants also started to implement new technologies, such as ordering platforms (click & collect/click & delivery), but they forgot the in-house experience.

The fast food industry began its ''in store'' transformation more than ten years ago with self-service digital ordering which enabled employee optimization and drove customer traffic and sales by 17%. Today, fast food chains such as McDonald's are launching the ''table service'' concept to concentrate on customer experience.''When the fast food industry launched self-ordering, the Food and Beverages sector was really skeptical because everything seemed to be pointing towards the end of human interaction. Yet, after 10 years, the fast food industry is growing and moreover enhancing customer experience because it’s focusing on service. Now, when I go to McDonald's, I don’t wait, prices are competitive and the employees are pleasant. Traditional restaurants will be obliged to follow these new trends in order to secure their future and investing in customer experience is paramount'' says Jérémy Cazalas, VP Sales & Marketing of Awadac.

Areas, a subsidiary of the Elior Group (Food and Beverage concessions in train stations, airports and on motorway service stations), introduced the digital menu on connected tables in sit down restaurants. The results were significant: +25% turnover due to customer traffic. Moreover, brands are using this digital support to monitor customer behavior, in order to improve products and services. For employees, digital ordering entails a new way of working.''

To conclude, digital self-ordering allows the Food and Beverage industry to focus on customers’ evolving expectations and tastes, whilst promoting excellent service and encouraging loyalty.