The 4 big tech ideas that will drive your success in #restaurant2021

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There’s a sense of determination in the hospitality industry as robust operators head into 2021 with hope in their hearts – and a host of new ideas tried and tested during the last year.

For some, a new focus and clarity has emerged from the chaos as they innovated and experimented to deal with the incredibly tough trading conditions.

And with fingers firmly crossed for a restaurant renaissance as the vaccines kick in, these savvy establishments are looking to technology to underpin their operations going forward.

So we’ve worked with some of our prestigious technology partners to examine 4 big tech ideas that will build on that renewed focus, and drive success in #restaurant2021.

    1. Creating the WOW! Customer experience

    2. Contactless ordering and payment

    3. Building the new brands

    4. Taking complete control

1. Creating the WOW! customer experience

Eating at home: it’s a big success, for sure. Fine – but restaurants will need to tempt people off those sofas and get them back into the habit of eating out.

So what beats supper in your slippers with Netflix? A WOW! experience – and restaurateurs will be working hard to provide that special occasion feeling for any eating out event.

Expect to see lots of added value for customers in the shape of loyalty-rewarding freebies – free glass of Prosecco, anyone? – live music, one-off celebratory dishes etc.

But don’t forget the basics – and this is where technology has all the big ideas.

Retail has seen a huge boom in online activity, and it’s creating expectations that are spilling over into every aspect of consumers’ lives. They want it – and they want it NOW. So sprinkle a little stardust on their entire eating out experience, from booking to final payment.

Make sure your website not only creates a true reflection of the tone and nature of your establishment, but also allows diners to make a reservation online quickly and easily.

They should also be able to access your reviews there – a key element in choosing where to dine. Statistics show 87% of people looked for reviews on local businesses in 2020 (up 6% on 2019), with restaurants the no 1 industry they checked out.

Once they arrive at your door, the data captured by your restaurant software from the booking helps your staff create a warm personal welcome, and ensures rapid seating is a cinch.

Along with tableside ordering and payment, which we’ll discuss below, it adds up to an effortless and enjoyable experience for every diner.

2. Contactless ordering and payment

Contactless is safe and hygienic, as we’ve already learned, but the benefits it brings to a restaurant operation are far broader.

As discussed above, enabling contactless ordering and payment at tableside is quick and convenient for the customer, but also speeds delivery by sending orders direct to the kitchen (where your restaurant software can integrate with kitchen automation).

It saves your serving staff time running back and forth with orders, so they can spend more time looking after guests, and record-keeping becomes so efficient it also helps prevent employee fraud.

The adoption of mobile ordering and payment rocketed at UK restaurants, pubs and bars in the past six months. Our prestigious partner Global Payments believes signs are pointing to a fundamental shift in the way consumers wish to transact, with the move from cash to digital payments accelerating fast.

Kiosk ordering and payment technology has also seen major growth over the last year, with hypo-allergenic surfaces being introduced for extra safety.

3. Building the new brands

Many restaurants and bars branched out into takeaway and delivery out of necessity, but have succeeded so well that they will be developing the new revenue stream as part of their #restaurant2021 strategy.

NFS customers Gaucho, for instance, launched their Meat and Bun by Gaucho brand together with Deliveroo, and it’s a huge hit.

At NFS, we launched Aloha Now to respond to the demand for a robust takeaway solution, allowing operators to set up a great takeout website, and select the third-party delivery channels they wanted to work with.

Our delivery partners Deliverect say: “It’s important to implement tech to optimise your restaurant operations and to have sales data. Implementing inventory or staff management software is a good start, but finally what’s key is having all your delivery and online ordering channels integrated in your restaurant epos software, so you can manage online menus from one interface.”

Operators will be working hard to reinforce these new brands during 2021, using marketing channels including social media to engage strongly with their customers. Get Instagram tips here.

4. Taking complete control

Restaurant operations are always complex – particularly multi-site operations – and will be even more so in #restaurant2021, thanks to additional operational elements such as takeout.

Restaurant software will be even more crucial in providing an end-to-end view of operations, from sales to labour and stock control, and even enabling dynamic pricing.

With the help of our expert workforce control partners Harri, NFS support operators with effective labour scheduling to manage costs and communications, as well as handling payroll, talent acquisition and compliance training.

Harri say: “Managing operational costs has never been so crucial and to manage this, restaurateurs need to invest in their tech stack now.

“Agility is key; furlough and opening times are a moving feast; Brexit will present talent shortages, and a system to accurately manage minute by minute revenue with the ability to change rotas at the click of a button will not only manage labour costs, but also save expensive resource and time.”

Stock control will also be crucial in the coming year, not only to keep costs down but also to assure the public of your restaurant’s sustainability credentials.

A restaurant management system provides huge help in this area by monitoring stock levels in real time, and also highlighting best-selling dishes to enable proactive procurement. Even allergen control is more efficient, thanks to our tie-up with another partner, Kitchen CUT.

Conclusion

NFS Chief Executive Luis De Souza says: “At NFS, we’ve been proud to support our hard-working, brilliant customers throughout 2020 – and we’ll continue to do so as they prepare for #restaurant2021.

“Uncertain times like ahead, that’s for sure. But we’re confident that with the support of strong restaurant software, our clients will be in a great position to make the most of whatever opportunities come their way.

“So we’d like to offer our best wishes to everyone in the hospitality business for the new year – we’ll be on hand with expert advice and support whenever you need us.”


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    Read more from these NFS technology partners:

    Global Payments – Taking on tomorrow with your payments partner
    Deliverect – Delivery information all in one place
    Harri – Technology trends for 2021

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