There has never been a more exciting time to own a restaurant.
Competition may be fierce, but the wealth of technologies that are now available to budding entrepreneurs looking to make it big in the restaurant trade have opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
The many ways you can market your restaurant in the digital age are exciting enough, but that means it’s unfortunately all too easy to look past the stuff that makes your operation run like a well-oiled machine.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out what we believe to be the five most important pieces of restaurant technology:
1. Kitchen order display screen
Kitchen printers? Pah! These days, its all about kitchen display screens, which are beginning to take over their dot matrix-based forefathers.
The reasons is simple; with a large monitor mounted on the wall, every member of the kitchen team will have full view of incoming orders and the statuses of each table.
Kitchen display screens are transforming service.
2. Pole-based customer displays
While certainly not a new piece of restaurant tech, the humble customer display mounted on a pole is one of the best ways to ensure customers can follow their purchase.
Remember – it’s a legal requirement in many areas to display the order, therefore if your EPOS system is situated at the back of the bar, a pole-based customer display is the way to go.
3. Handheld waiter pads
The debate over handheld waiter pads (or order pads, as they’re often known) rages on in certain sections of the independent restaurant sector, but there’s little doubting their continued dominance table-side.
This is largely because they offer convenience in abundance. They’re convenient for the waiter, because they can use an approachable, familiar, touch-based interface to draw from set menus; convenient for the kitchen team who don’t have to keep an eye out for waiting staff entering the room with new tickets, and waiter pads also result in a pleasingly efficient service for the customer.
What’s not to like?
Just like waiter pads, self-order kiosks have their fair share of detractors, but the fact they’re appearing more readily in big chain restaurants and fast-food outlets shouldn’t be dismissed as a technology that is purely for the brands.
History tells us that restaurant tech gradually filters down to the independents from the big boys of the industry – because customers become accustomed to the benefits offered.
Although you might not want to invest in self-service technology just yet, it’s certainly something you’ll need to keep an eye on.
5. Touch Screen EPOS system
OK, so this may prompt many readers to roll their eyes in a “well, yeah” fashion, but there are still plenty of independent restaurants out there who continue to rely on old point of sale systems.
If yours is cranky when first awoken or is the regular topic of conversation among staff when discussing their least favourite aspects of the job – it’s time to upgrade.
EPOS is nowhere near as expensive or inaccessible as it used to be. Modern systems are often web-based, available for low, fixed monthly fees and can run on hardware that won’t break the bank. Don’t look past this vital element of restaurant technology.
Have we missed a piece of technology your restaurant relies on daily? If so, tell us below in the comments section!