It might seem that technology is everywhere these days. It has transformed a number of industries, from retail to healthcare but when it comes food, it’s still not the norm in many restaurants. In fact, when surveyed, nearly half of restaurant operators describe their use of tech as “lagging.”
Lagging behind is kind of understandable. The fragmented nature of the industry and the very thin profit margins of most restaurants has led to a slow adoption of new technologies. However, more often than not, the real reasons restaurants don’t keep up with technology are the common concerns about cost, time to implement new systems and the big fear new tech will somehow undermine hospitality’s traditional foundation: human interaction with the customer.
According to a warning issued by QSR Magazine playing it technologically safe may have worked in the old days, but in today’s highly competitive industry you will regret skimping on technology – especially if you don’t want to be put out of business by the big chains who are doubling down on tech innovations. The magazine’s advice is that if operators want to survive today’s restaurant game and serve the mass of tech-savvy consumers they need to take a page from how Amazon approaches business.
What are they talking about specifically? Data. Amazon has altered the way consumers spend their hard-earned money and the way business owners operate. Their power lies in the data collected and how they put what they’ve learned to work. If restaurateurs were to adopt the same data-driven approach to sentiment and consumer behavior they too have the same opportunity to transform their food & beverage service and experience.
While data analytics probably wasn’t the reason you got into the restaurant business, the discipline of analyzing and understanding the numbers is precisely what today’s restaurateurs need to do. Data helps businesses figure out what exactly what their customers want. By tracking each customer’s order, their preferences, search habits, etc. businesses can use this information to their advantage to sell more; they can better tailor their marketing to individual customers enhancing the user experience and increasing customer engagement. It allows operators to offer the best possible service and constantly find ways to improve – such as making decisions on creating new dishes or tweaking existing ones.
Gone are the days where restaurants must operate on “gut feel” and fascinate solely on sales, costs and margins because they’re calculable on P&L spreadsheets. With the power of technology, operators have the ability now to collect information in real-time and tap into customers’ likes and dislikes allowing them to make informed operational decisions. With data, instinct is replaced with certainty and confidence.
The message is simple: The clearer you see your consumers, the easier it is to reach them, and the better you can serve them. Today, running your business with the help of data is the new standard. Harnessing the capabilities that data has to offer will create significant value and help you remain competitive. If you’re not using data to guide your business into the future, you will increasingly find yourself at a disadvantage.