Between the Covid pandemic, labor shortages and a struggling food supply chain, it’s no wonder restaurants are feeling the heat.
Finding ways to reduce stress on your business and your people is necessary to survive and succeed. Technology can provide the tools needed to facilitate day-to-day logistics management.
Technology has become the norm for most industries around the world, and even the more traditional food industry is embracing high-tech solutions. Stay on top of technology trends to tap into areas where digitization can help save staff time and energy, what’s popular with customers, and what your competitors may already have in place.
Fighting staff shortages and monitoring supply
Shortages of products and people have been a problem since the start of the pandemic, but the situation has worsened this year. An international conflict has paralyzed the supply chain with a lack of crucial commodities like wheat and oil, and rising energy prices have made transportation expensive. Staffing shortages that began during the pandemic continued to be a looming issue for the industry.
For many restaurants, these two problems are linked. Problems with suppliers and missing supplies are the responsibility of your staff. Menus need to be rearranged without notice, alternative products need to be ordered, and your staff needs to make it happen.
For example, Choco makes the process of communicating with suppliers easier and less time-consuming. Choco is an app where you can order from all your suppliers in one place. Your whole team can see what’s available, place an order in minutes, and chat with your suppliers. “Before Choco, I used to spend at least an hour ordering every day, now I can do it in just 5-10 minutes. There is no tension or pressure,” described the application Pujan Sarkar, head of Rooh at San Francisco.
With staff turnover at an all-time high and shortages making it difficult to find qualified employees, technology can help make regular tasks easier and less stressful for your staff.
Online ordering and mobile payments
Online ordering became the industry norm during the height of the covid pandemic. Consumers now expect to be able to place and pay for take-out orders independently. While online ordering is a reality for the industry, technology solutions can take some of the stress out of fulfilling takeout orders with less time spent answering calls and processing payments over the phone.
A new trend emerging across the industry is the prevalence of mobile payments. Many popular restaurant POS options offer portable payment devices so staff can accept and process credit card payments at the table. It is an extension of the already popular contactless payment technology in the industry.
Some restaurants are taking it a step further with technology allowing customers to browse the menu, order and pay for it all from the table. This self-service phenomenon is popular in large restaurant chains where a large staff is needed to serve each table. Letting customers order and pay for themselves leaves staff free to serve food and manage orders online.
Although not all ordering and payment options are necessary for all restaurants, customers and staff can benefit from self-service options that facilitate the process of sending tickets to the kitchen and paying for your meals. services.
AI Advances in Food Production
For a long time, artificial intelligence has been a concept of the future. Not anymore. Artificial intelligence is already at work in many industries around the world, including food. Automated machines can scan production lines to extract the wrong products, count the seeds on a bun, or even combine pre-prepared ingredients into a dish and serve it to a customer.
While it may take time and refinement before robot servers or line cooks become a reality for the average restaurant, there are already machines at work in restaurants across the country.
Fast food restaurants like McDonalds and others are using ordering kiosks to reduce the need for human cashiers and long lines for customers. Not only does this reduce the need for staff to monitor the flow of customers and be ready to intervene when things get busy, but it allows staff to focus more energy on producing and serving food. While these machines are essentially larger versions of a portable order and payment device, some businesses are also experimenting with virtual assistants to answer customer questions or even facial technology to recognize repeat customers.
The food industry is changing and technology is playing its part. While the heart of the restaurant will always be the kitchen and the creative minds that serve satisfying meals, technology can be a solution for other stress-inducing hassles in your operation.