Technology in the Restaurant

In our day and age, a business can’t survive long without adapting to the ever changing technology that barrages it. While you might think that food should remain relatively unaffected by the latest gadgets on the market, many restaurant owners have found that creative leveraging of new technology has significantly boosted their bottom line. Here are the highlights of some of the most interesting technological uses in the restaurant.

Mobile Payment Platforms for the Restaurant

It is estimated that the worldwide value of mobile-payment transactions will nearly quadruple over the course of the next three years as more and more consumers utilize their phones and tablets to pay their bills. The forecast is that the mobile payment market will be worth around $617 billion with a total of 448 million users by 2016.  This represents a huge demographic that, as a restaurant owner, would be wise not to ignore.

Unfortunately, there is not, as yet, a one-size-fits-all mobile payment platform. Different establishments are experimenting with a variety of different platforms to find the one that is best suited to the restaurant industry. The three biggest platforms in use right now are Square, Isis Mobile Wallet, and MCX.

Several restaurants have seen increased enrollment in their loyalty clubs when they adopt the use of mobile apps. These same institutions report vastly improved data gathering as well.  Integrating your brand with mobile payment platforms allows you to consolidate your mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs into one easily accessible platform.

Tablet PCs for Digital Ordering and Loyalty Rewards

Tablet PCs have become increasingly popular for a variety of uses in the restaurant. Some establishments hand them out in place of menus to allow digital ordering and at-table payment. Others are using them to give customers digital rewards tied to their loyalty programs when ordering certain items in-house. Several restaurants have found that the use of a tablet menu increases their sales of food and wine and has dramatically increased the use of ‘mix and match’ promotions for menu items.

Of course, tablet PCs have also found wide use as a tool for servers and hostesses to increase and efficiently deliver orders, track reservations, and increase consumer satisfaction with customer service.

Wi-Fi Bars, iPad Jukeboxes and Other Tech Amenities in the Restaurant

While the preceding technologies were used more for function rather than entertainment, these technological advances are equally important to meet consumer entertainment satisfaction requirements as well. Having Wi-Fi Internet available is particularly important, and some restaurants have gone so far as to create ‘Wi-Fi’ bars to encourage customers to linger in their establishments longer. Having outlets available to allow consumers to re-charge their devices is also particularly popular.

Having both plugs and Wi-Fi available can drastically increase the flow of traffic through the doors of the business. Other restaurant owners have employed technology in a more entertaining way – by providing iPads that will play personalized jukebox stations while you dine, or by using those same tablets to run a quiz bowl or other fun game that diners can play while they eat.

There are numerous choices a person could make when selecting the right technology to integrate with a business establishment like a restaurant. It’s smart to analyze the trends and figure out how to integrate technology that is both efficient to install and beneficial to customers to use.

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