There are very few sectors that aren’t taking advantage of advances in technology, restaurants included. Everything from ordering to stock management now has a piece of tech that makes the process that much easier.
Whether you’re at a local cafe or a restaurant that’s one of the best in Vegas, you will see and experience technology being used to make your dining experience easier and more enjoyable than ever before.
Touchscreen POS systems
Touchscreen systems have revolutionized restaurants. Servers and managers can now handle all transactions and receipts from a single machine and have every transaction accessible at any time.
They are far more efficient than the previous system of sorting through and manually inputting stacks of receipts. They also leave little room for mistakes, which commonly occurred before, due to something as simple as poor handwriting or misreading something.
Handheld ordering devices
Handheld ordering devices have had the same effect as touchscreen POS systems. They have transformed how servers take orders, and almost eliminated mistakes and miscommunication between those at the front-of-house and those in the kitchen.
They have made it much easier for servers to take larger orders, and it is easier to refer back to a receipt if there is a problem as everything is kept on the system.
Order and pay at the table
Some restaurants have opted to add technology that allows patrons to order and pay while at their tables. This has been common in restaurants in Asia for a while now, but it is spreading worldwide.
This type of technology is especially helpful for smaller restaurants and food trucks, as they are usually a two or three-person operation. Having to do everything at once can be pretty tricky to navigate, and you make your potential patrons wait.
Cash is becoming less and less common, with so many people having a payment app of some kind on their phone that they use. Apple Pay is one of the most famous, with people just needing to have their phone near a payment system to pay.
While this technology isn’t completely necessary, as people still have debit and credit cards even if they don’t use cash, it is quicker and more efficient. It ties into being able to order and pay at your table.
Restaurants are also expanding what type of payments they accept. Before we could just use cash, then cash and bank cards, now we can use those in addition to Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and many other payment options.
Accepting these types of payments sets restaurants apart as so many of us have stopped online shopping, for instance, when we get to the checkout and see the seller doesn’t accept PayPal, for example.
This is something that some people may have seen in McDonald’s, but self-ordering touchscreens and kiosks are becoming more popular. It is quicker, eliminates the need to wait in line, and there is little to no room for a mistake in your order.
This is very similar to the concept of ordering and paying at your table. This system can be used for much bigger establishments, as you can have a touchscreen at your table and a server to bring your food.
Kitchen order screens
In restaurants with big kitchens and a lot of staff, hearing orders or knowing your timings can become very difficult, even for seasoned chefs. Order screens take the guesswork out of knowing what to do when.
The orders come in from the front and are displayed big and bright for the whole kitchen to see. This allows everyone to know what needs to be cooked, first, second, etc., and when it needs to be ready. This means you will have a more cohesive and efficient kitchen.
Digital signs can be used in several different ways in a restaurant. Digital menu boards have become the restaurant essential for fast food joints as they have ever changed menus and can be updated instantly.
They can also be used to create a please ambience in the restaurant whilst conveying information on promotions and events upcoming.
Online booking has made the process of booking a table much quicker and easier. It also cuts down the chances of a restaurant being overbooked or a group arriving and the restaurant not having enough seats for all of them.
This exists in other sectors like airports and being able to book seats in advance. Still, more restaurants see the benefit of having an online schedule that patrons can access and lessen any confusion and mistakes that come with booking and overbooking restaurants.
Online delivery apps have been one of the most significant advancements in the food industry for years. It has changed how we eat and has altered how restaurants do business, and it has even changed the concept of take-aways, something we didn’t know could be improved upon.
Simply put, restaurants are added to apps, and their menus are uploaded. People can download the app and have access to all the restaurants that are on the app. You can then order, pay on the app, and a driver will deliver your food.
There is no need to go to a restaurant or even go there to get takeaways if you want to enjoy their food.
While a lot of the tech on this list helps patrons and the front-of-house staff, technology also changes how restaurants and chefs buy and store stock. Previously, you would buy stock and then have to manually keep track of what is being used, its use-by date, and how much you have left of a particular item.
Nowadays, restaurants can scan the items coming into and leaving their refrigerators, which cuts down on waste and keeps over-ordering to a minimum, not only for masses of produce to go unused. This also applies to the bar, which arguably is just as hard to keep track of in a bigger establishment.
As you can see, technology is transforming how we interact with restaurants and how restaurants interact with us, and the internal operations. Especially on the environmental front, the need to save money and not have a considerable waste imprint is more crucial than ever.
Hopefully, technology will continue to improve our dining experience and help restaurants become more environmentally friendly.