Technology in Restaurants

During the economic recession of 2008, no industry was hit harder than the restaurant industry.  With consumers struggling to get by, it seemed that the first costs to get cut by families and consumers to tighten up their budget was eating and dining out at restaurants.

Slowly but surely the economy began to make a turn for the better by 2010 and currently in 2011 is continuing to head in a positive direction.  With that said however, the restaurant industry still continues to face difficult challenges to get consumers into their doors.  Restaurant owners continue to monitor current trends to help them increase annual sales and reach their customers more effectively.

One current industry trend that is on the rise is and restaurant owners are keeping an eye on is the rise of mobile hand-held technology use.

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In the article, “The 7 Trends of 2011”, written in QSR magazine by Jordan Melnick, Melnick sites that Dennis Lombardi the executive vice president of food service strategies for WD partners stated about mobile devices, “ It’s the wallet of tomorrow, the Wi-Fi of tomorrow, the internet of tomorrow all contained in one device.”

With this current booming trend of mobile hand-held use, restaurant owners are devising ways to take advantage of the current trend to boost business and sales in the restaurant industry.

Melnick stated in the article, “Gaining access to consumers as they go about their daily lives is the marketing holy grail, especially for restaurants, which can benefit immensely from being able to reach consumers at that crucial time when craving strikes.”

The use of mobile devices not only can help restaurants get customers into their doors by receiving discounts and promotions on their mobile hand-helds, but can also give customers the option to txt in their orders ahead of time and transfer order history from one location to another offering convenient ways for their customers to communicate and conduct business with their favorite restaurants.

The use of mobile hand-held devices is not only a growing trend for the consumer, but is being considered as an advantage of by many restaurants in house.  Melnick stated in the article that Peter Wolf, CMO at Partech, said, “ restaurants in 2011 will begin to broadly integrate mobile technology into their in-store operations.”

By this, Wolf means that restaurants will begin to provide their servers with mobile devices to take orders from customers or running entire POS systems on mobile tablets.  Another emerging mobile trend in the restaurant industry is the use of mobile apps to cut out the middleman like severs or cashiers to complete and pay for orders with the use of the mobile app will also start to be on the rise for consumers in their dining out experiences.

Other emerging trends in the restaurant industry include using mobile devices to display information about products and product lists to their customers with the use of mobile devices.  In the article written in Nations Restaurants News entitled, “ Technomic Predicts 11 Trends for 2011”, written by Mark Brandau, Brandau states that, “ Look for restaurants to gain a competitive edge with the new technologies and applications, including kiosks for ordering and displaying nutritional information, iPads for displaying wine lists, and hand-held devices for providing tableside payments.”

These are new and innovative ways to convey information to their technological consumed customers through the use of hand-held devices giving the business owners a competitive advantage in the restaurant industry.

In the technological world we live in today which consists of individuals becoming more dependent on their smart phones, tablets, etc.  It’s clear that there are many ways for the restaurant industry to take advantage of these current trends to improve customer satisfaction and interaction. Creating customer convenience can and will benefit the in-house operation of a restaurant. By using POS hand-held software’s and displaying product information in new and unique ways to consumers they can enhance the dining out experience.

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It will truly be an effective way to improve the restaurant industry in the hard economic environment we live in today.  Mobile hand-held devices are becoming a way of life for consumers and offering apps and other opportunities for customers to interact and do business with your restaurant is an emerging trend that will surely keep your business ahead of the competition.  I encourage all restaurants owners to incorporate some of these emerging mobile industry trends into their businesses before your competitors do to not get left behind in the mobile madness that is sweeping our nation.

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