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Using technology to make restaurateurs smarter, more agile

4 min read


This post is sponsored by Upserve (formerly Swipely).

Behind every successful restaurant is a good manager — and they’re usually looking for ways to improve their systems. New technology is trending toward mobile- and social-enabled apps, deeper data analysis and upgraded point-of-sale systems, making owners and managers more effective — and profitable.

In thinking about upgrading restaurant management solutions, it’s important to evaluate mobile, cloud-based solutions that integrate with existing tools and devices. Restaurateurs can also completely replace the existing system to take advantage of the latest technology advancements. This year, operators say they plan to increase spending on front- and back-of-house solutions.

A National Restaurant Association Restaurant Trends Survey reveals:

  • 31% of restaurateurs plan to increase resources for service-based technology
  • 19% intend to spend more on customer-facing devices and technology
  • 19% have earmarked additional funds for back-of-house technology

New apps are changing the way restaurants are run. Upserve Restaurateur, for example, makes analytics easily visible with a cloud-based, mobile-enabled dashboard summary of an operation, two trends that are becoming ubiquitous in restaurant management solutions.

Here’s a quick look at some of the major restaurant management technology trends today:

  • Mobile-enabled apps are crucial. Mobile payments/POS and restaurant management solutions are on the rise as restaurateurs require real-time access to data from any location and device. According to Technomic, one-fifth of all diners and more than two-thirds of millennial guests at limited- and full-service restaurants value mobile payment options. In response, many restaurateurs plan to enable mobile/wireless payment in 2016, according to the National Restaurant Association’s survey. Look for solutions featuring transparent pricing, PCI Level 1-compliant security and next-day funding.
  • Analytics can offer tools that will forecast everything from the weather to how big the crowd will get during a particular shift. It’s done with machine learning and can even provide sales insights for all locations even if they’re on different POS systems.
  • Another popular trend is scoring. These tools gather and index information so you can track and rank individual servers and menu items can be tracked and ranked to measure performance. For instance, staff performance can be measured by sales, guest retention and turn time, waste, or even abuse from too many voids or discounts can also be quickly detected.
  • Half of all restaurant reviews mention specific menu items. With robust menu tracking solutions, restaurateurs can decide which items to promote, and which need to be eighty-sixed from the menu, using artificial intelligence.
  • One of the hottest business trends is personalization, which allows operators to gather, process and use detailed information about guests to deliver better service, increase visits and grow sales. Look for apps and software that create a dossier on every guest, including preferred servers, special occasions, frequent dining companions and items ordered — and integrates with a loyalty program. Harvard research estimates a 25% to 125% profit lift from just a 5% increase in repeat business. And data from Technomic shows that loyalty-program points and rewards are important to almost 40% of all guests and half of all millennial diners.
  • Respondents to the National Restaurant Association’s National Household Survey said they regularly checked restaurants on review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp (36%) and social media (34%) when choosing locations. A BrightLocal survey found that 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Top solutions use artificial intelligence to understand the meaning of every review, tweet or online mention, and process it in the context of menu items or locations. Restaurateurs can respond to posts (complimentary and otherwise) quickly and make service or menu improvements.
  • The cloud is key to accessing information anywhere, and it also makes it easier than ever to stay current with the latest versions since there’s no software to manually update. Many cloud solutions are designed to integrate with popular restaurant management and POS systems as well as commonly used devices so there’s no need to create an entirely new system.


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