How technology is helping restaurants to establish long-term customer relationships

Restaurant Tech Live blog post 1

From multi-touch kiosks to artificial intelligence, restaurants are employing new gadgets and devices to gain new customers.

Innovation is currently rife in the industry, with Domino’s trialing delivery by drone in Australia and a whole host of industry leaders implementing mobile payment solutions. Such innovations are of great benefit to food businesses, helping restaurants to improve the customer experience, increase the speed of their service and gain valuable insight into customers’ habits, enabling them to amplify their brand identity.

Adam Griffin, Director of Foodservice Consulting at JLL  has vouched for the importance of technology stating ''Technology is a game-changer, both as an enabler and a disruptor’''. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the the impact of the digital dining revolution on the industry.

Digital Delivery Revolution

It’s safe to say, the development of delivery apps has had the biggest impact on the industry since their creation. This is has been of great benefit to restaurants as it enables them to receive more food orders but without the need for manpower and to cater to more guests.

It has to be said, however, that the growing popularity of these apps hasn’t been of benefit to everybody, shopping centres in particular. This is largely due to the fact that shopping centres usually lease spaces to restaurants based on turnover. Due to the fact that the turnover afforded by on-demand delivery app doesn’t account for physical space, restaurants don’t have to pay more on their lease, but the shopping centres have to deal with the problems it generates.

In response to this, Griffin believes that restaurants will have to adapt by redesigning their spaces in order to facilitate the rise in delivery apps. For example, a restaurant could better accommodate users of the delivery app by designating a service entrance. 

 Making it personal

 Many food businesses are leveraging technology to refine how they attract new diners. For example, in London, Maxwell’s Bar invested in making itself a location in Pokemon Go, increasing revenues by 26 percent. 

Wi-Fi is also of great importance. Not only does solid Wi-Fi boost convenience for customers, it can give restaurants real customer insight, resulting in an improved customer experience. 

The future of food technology

Tech will be instrumental in driving business in the food and drink sector. From interactive tabletop menus to 3D printing food, QSRs are a good indicator of the direction in which technology is leading the industry. Wendy’s and Panera are rolling self-service kiosks where customers can order and pay – with zero human interaction.

Notably, Self-service kiosks are now in use at every one of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. locations – and even the deep-frying of its French fries is controlled entirely by automation.

Due to rises in wages, QSRs could increasingly look to automated processes in order to stay cheap, thus replacing human staff. Additionally, higher-end restaurants will look to develop and fine tune the experience, potentially investing in sleek apps and virtual reality technology to facilitate this and improve both the online and offline customer experience.

Griffin adds: “The thing about technology is that it is inherently unpredictable but there’s no doubt that in 10 or even five years’ time, the physical and digital worlds will be much more intertwined than they are now,” Griffin says. “And food is as susceptible to advances in technology, and the structural change it brings as any other industry.”