You know times are changing when you sit down at the table and the restaurant POS already knows more about your favorite dishes than you do. While that may have seemed a bit Orwellian twenty years ago, we are living in the future. And restaurants have to adapt or risk becoming outdated in the minds of the guest. “I just thought for the restaurant to stay relevant in the minds of consumers, we had to figure out how to get technology as part of the experience,” said Chris Sullivan, an Outback Steakhouse founder.
The move towards technology is being driven in part by the millennial crowd. Millennials are a big part of the dining scene and having grown up with the birth of social media, they have a craving for social experiences. Also, this tech-savvy crowd spends nearly half their food dollars dining out, according to the Food Institute.
But its not just Millennials – all demographic groups are influenced by technology. In fact, in an OpenTable customer survey, it was discovered that 86 percent of patrons previewed the menu online before going to the restaurant. That’s why, from mobile apps to online reservations, many restaurants are dishing up innovative technology to deliver a personalized dining experience for each guest.
Table Top Tablets
Already a staple in many casual restaurants including Applebees, Olive Garden and Red Robin, table top tablets are winning over diners. “It makes it really easy, and you’re not having to go, ‘Where’s our server,’ especially when you have a larger party,” mentioned Diane Sullivan, a patron at Carmel Kitchen in Tampa.
While increasing productivity and improving the dining experience with an easy way for customers to navigate the menu is one of the benefits for restaurant owners, studies have shown that tablet devices at the table also increase sales. The sheer simplicity and speed makes it simple for diners to order additional menu items with a click where it goes straight to the kitchen. It also gives the restaurant a captive audience for promoting offers and highlighting specials.
Already nearly one million diners are making online reservations at thousands of restaurants around the world every day. And believe it or not, this figure is expected to grow even more. Many restaurant POS systems partner with third party apps like OpenTable which not only manages the booking process, but is also like having another marketing channel that can help attract more guests and groups to the restaurant. Owners can also access an array of valuable insights that can be used to provide a more personalized guest experience.