Importance of Automation in the Restaurant Business: 5 Key Tips to Make it Work
For years now, the restaurant industry has been championing the adoption of new technologies. Yet, the industry has seen drastic changes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging digital transformation to boost business success has become one of the key ways to stay ahead of the game and keep up with the latest consumer trends. Restaurant technology comes in numerous forms and serves a variety of goals.
At its core, it aims to automate as many processes as possible to elevate the customer’s experience, boost internal efficiency, and minimize the risk of error. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Investing in the right restaurant tech allows you to automate everything from order processing to inventory management and analytics, but also improve the in-house experience with automated ordering, payment, and more.
Making your employees’ lives easier is a major perk for every restaurant owner, as employee happiness boosts retention. Not only that, but the automation also allows you to elevate the customer experience and satisfaction.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can automate these and other processes to achieve higher efficiency, minimize financial waste, and improve your restaurant’s reputation.
Synching orders directly with your POS system
One of the biggest problems that restaurants face nowadays, especially in this volatile landscape driven by the pandemic, is managing orders seamlessly and without mistakes. In reality, manual order processing and management from third-party platforms is a big challenge, and errors are almost impossible to avoid.
When this happens, your restaurant’s reputation can take a big hit, because errors in order processing and delivery will almost always lead to negative feedback and customer turnover. To avoid this, you need to automate your order processing from third-party platforms and synch it with your POS system.
Our very own flagship product, Bitebell Connect, is a comprehensive system that allows you to seamlessly sync all orders with your POS system without any manual input. Instead of having to retype every order into your system, and use several devices in the process, Bitebell Connect will automatically forward all incoming orders to your POS from all local delivery platforms. By saving time and energy, you end up retaining customers.
This feature is invaluable to restaurant owners and managers during peak ordering hours. When the peak ordering time overlaps with the busiest in-house hours of the day, chaos can ensue without an automated and centralized system. Our software ensures this high level of efficiency and takes the stress off you and your staff during the busiest hours of the day.
Whether you’re working with Glovo, Donesi, Wolt, or anyone else, Bitebell Connect will make sure orders are punched in quickly and accurately every time. This saves you time and money, but it also ensures that your customers get prompt service.
Seamless front-of-house ordering
Technology is not only changing the online landscape, it’s also transforming the in-house experience for customers. While many restaurants have been forced to shift to online ordering and curbside delivery, there are still many restaurants that allow in-house dining during the day. Provided that they adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures on-site, of course.
To boost safety and improve the customers’ overall experience, server tablets and ordering kiosks have become increasingly popular. In fact, even back in 2017, way before the pandemic, more than 68% of surveyed customers agreed that the use of server tablets improved their in-house dining experience.
Nowadays, this tech serves another important purpose, aside from decreasing customer effort. Many restaurants are using these tools to automate in-house ordering to deliver faster and safer service to their guests while lowering operational and payroll expenses on their end.
Monitoring feedback to improve your reputation
In the online world, people will judge your restaurant by the number of five-star ratings it has, and by the testimonials left by your customers on your site, social media, and third-party platforms. You can have the best menu, the most alluring brand visuals, and the tastiest food in town, but there is no denying that one negative review can set you back significantly.
In fact, the most important factor for modern customers when choosing a restaurant is the review. People need to validate their decision to order from your restaurant and to do that, they will analyze the reviews on Google and third-party platforms.
Keep in mind that people won’t just leave feedback praising your food, they will also scrutinize your delivery process, your order processing times, and the overall online experience with your restaurant. You need to have all this information at your disposal if you are to elevate their experience.
Bitebell allows you to do this as well by automatically sorting and synching all feedback for every order to give you a comprehensive overview along with a unified ticketing system so that you can manage your reputation with ease. You can go through every rating and every review to spot weaknesses and opportunities in your processes and improve in a smart and calculated way.
Efficient reporting and analytics
Your decision-making process should be based on relevant and actionable data. Having the right information at the right time allows you to stay flexible and respond to any problem quickly, but it also allows you to strategize. Your goal should be to use the right data to identify customer pain points and invest in the right areas of your business.
After all, your current menu might be perfect, but your delivery system might be ruining the customer’s experience. This is why you need to analyze the performance of your restaurant in real-time, across all delivery platforms and locations.
Use the Bitebell platform to seamlessly analyze your performance from a centralized location, and compare your performance to your competitors and industry averages. This will ensure that you back up every strategic decision with relevant insights.
Automated inventory management
Last but not the least, it doesn’t matter if you’re managing a single location or a chain of restaurants – you can’t hope to manage your inventory manually without making a single mistake. It’s not just about ensuring product and stock availability, it’s also about enabling an omni-channel sales approach.
Selling your products on multiple channels requires that your process orders from multiple locations in the online and offline worlds. When orders start to come in from all these locations, it can be easy to miscalculate the availability of certain resources in your inventory, which inevitably leads to customer dissatisfaction.
Automating your inventory management is about the only way to avoid these pitfalls without breaking the bank, especially knowing that as much as 82% of people will check online availability before ordering or visiting one of your locations. You can use a cloud-based resource management system to automate inventory management and get notified when stocks are running low, what products are available for customers, and what’s in high demand so that you can put an order in for the right resources.
It’s not a question of whether or not automation is possible, it’s a question of implementing automation in the most effective way for your restaurant. Using these tools and platforms will allow you to enhance the customers’ experience, safeguard their health, and make your internal processes more efficient than ever before.