Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

5 Restaurant Technology Fears Operators Face

July 3, 2019

Most restaurateurs believe in the power of mobile tech, but quite a few aren’t sure they can use it to their full advantage going forward because novelties are coming too rapidly for them to digest. These restaurant technology fears are the findings of a report drafted by Oracle Food and Beverage.

Almost two-thirds of operators expressed doubt they’d be able to keep up with the innovation, and almost 20 percent said their companies were not investing in technology fast enough to take advantage of what’s available.

What restaurant technology fears do operators face? You’re about to find out.

1. Repair and Service Issues

Great technology comes with great repairs – no doubt about it. On the plus side, it makes it easier for customers to do business with companies and track information like inventory usage and sales. Not many restaurant operators are confident enough to contribute as service technicians. The need for repair and servicing shouldn’t be a determining factor in adopting technology.

Nothing is ideal – everything is flawed. You’ll need to have software and hardware at some point. It’s important to understand the overall impact of technology on your business. More specifically, the servicing potential should not outweigh the benefits of technology.

It pays off to do research beforehand and see what the most common issues users have with a piece of technology are. Customer support is an often overlooked component of a good tech company. You need to find out if support is paid and how much they charge if so, how fast they respond to a support request, is there are customer support ticket system or is it possible to contact a service representative directly. You also need to know if their site makes resources like product tutorials available because this would mean you could troubleshoot and solve issues on your own.

Finally, the complexity of the product itself matters too. All these issues need to be taken into account when looking at new technology.

2. Implementation Cost

Many restaurant operators worry about the cost of implementation when considering new technology. Again, it’s hard to decide if an investment will pay off. This consideration is only the first step of analyzing new technology.

You should do a thorough cost-benefit analysis if you’re looking at technology as an investment to secure your restaurant’s future. This analysis would involve looking at the cost of an operational expense and then seeing its potential benefits in terms of returns.

To find out how new tech will impact your operations, see if it will help increase revenue or potential revenue by expanding your market reach or whether you are addressing issues within your venue that new tech will remedy. Will the new tech reduce costs in other areas that will ultimately allow the new equipment or software to pay for itself in money saved?

If this is an issue you’re concerned with, we recommend looking at case studies and testimonials from current users of the new tech you’re interested in. For example, you might want to know if digital restaurant menus can augment your sales and save you operation and labor costs.

Seek out case studies and testimonials that quantify success with hard numbers when researching a new product. This helps you obtain a better understanding about the pluses and minuses that new technology will have on your restaurant.

3. Employee Training

Employee training is a big issue. It is a ceaseless process for many restaurants, especially those with high staff turnover. It can be hard to constantly have to train staff over and over again to use a new technology. However, training on customer-facing technology can be integrated into your normal training routine if done right. Any trainee can shadow the use of any technology in your restaurant just like they can shadow a server at the POS system.

The restaurant technology you use should have a simple, user-friendly interface. If training new employees on a device is prohibitive, then you probably shouldn’t have chosen it to begin with.

4. Speed of Innovation

Less than half of the respondents in the Oracle study we started with said they’re confident they can capitalize on tomorrow’s advancements. There is a good reason for these concerns; a smart business operator should always consider factors like the type of support system needed for a tech service.

This concern is key for independent restaurants, who are trendsetters in the hospitality industry, yet they’re lagging far behind in technology trends. This is especially true in comparison to franchises and corporate restaurants, their more financially secure counterparts.

5. Customer Acceptance

When considering how customers will interact with technology, operators often take the wrong approach. First of all, your customers are already bringing technology to the table. Tablets, smartphones, and laptops are all common sights to behold in a busy restaurant. Curious customers look up dish and cocktail ingredients. Technology in a restaurant is going to happen whether you want it to or not, so you should try to gain as much benefit from it as possible.

“Should I have technology at the table” isn’t what you should be asking yourself. According to POSQuote, many business owners are asking this question. Instead, inquire whether this technology alleviates your customer’s experience or makes it more difficult.

Always keep things as simple as possible. That’s what everyone aims for because we all love simple, straightforward things. For example, digital beverage menus should have a simple and intuitive design that ensures there is a minimal learning curve for the customer and staff. You need to assure yourself and your customers that they will be able to use a new service without compromising the satisfaction of their experience.

A Ray of Light

Most restaurant technology fears seem to be focused around cost and implementation.

On a final note, Oracle’s study showcases the industry as appreciative of phone- and tablet-based technology. Almost 85 percent of respondents said guest-facing mobile tech reduced their labor costs, and 86 percent said digital devices have improved throughput and cut service times.

An even larger majority (93%) expressed conviction that the capabilities have favorably affected guests, facilitating loyalty and repeat business. You need to join their ranks now!

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