For the next few weeks, we will be featuring a few key questions about the technological shift in the restaurant industry from some of the best experts around. Keep an eye out for each post and be sure to read through their thoughts to see what you could learn to adapt your business and brand.
Jeremy Julian and Ryan Williams, better known as The Restaurant Technology Guys, bring a fresh, new point of view to the subject of Restaurant Technology coming from their decades of experience in Restaurant Technology — POS, Back Office, Enterprise Systems, Mobile and more. Hear what they have to say below:
1. What is the next big thing for the 2019 restaurant industry?
As technology continues to infiltrate consumers’ lives, we will see technology continue to be adopted in new, different areas of the restaurant industry. Everything from the continued expansion of kiosks in all verticals (fast food, fast casual, and full service), to arming servers with tablets to streamline the order-taking process, to seamless customer experience with technology is what’s in store for 2019. The biggest impact to the industry, I believe, will be the increased implementation of kiosk technology. As we’ve seen in the last few years, kiosks have increased per-ticket revenues, increased item modification and personalization, and has decreased some overhead costs at the store level. This is a winning combination and I am confident that 2019 will see more operators realizing the quick ROI of this technology and making the leap.
2. Technology has been a primary focus for restaurants every year. What are your thoughts about utilizing tech tools in the restaurant world?
Historically, the restaurant industry has been a laggard in the technology space. Often, we’ve seen technology roll out to retail first, then to restaurants two or three years later. In the last few years, however, the focus has shifted to highlight the restaurant industry. So much, in fact, that the restaurants that aren’t future-proofing themselves and adopting some various technology components are actually seeing measurable hits to the bottom line. Technology is something that is here to stay. Restaurant operators need to embrace this fact and begin researching and adopting technology strategies that will not only allow them to remain competitive in today’s world, but will ensure that they stay relevant in the coming years, despite what new technology may come.
3. What about social media – do you think having a social presence is important for a restaurant’s brand and identity and why?
It is absolutely imperative for restaurants to maintain a social presence. Social media has never played a greater role in the purchase decision of a consumer as it does today; consumer reviews are the new currency. Ensuring a proper social presence with good interaction between the brand and its guests is no longer just an exception, it’s the rule. Additionally, social media gives restaurants the opportunity to engage in those key conversations with guests to not only ensure that each visit is amazing, but actually improve the business.
4. What piece of advice would you give to any aspiring restaurateur?
The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to follow the “operational pyramid to success”. The base of that pyramid is people. Make sure you have the right people in the right roles and make sure they know what you expect them to do. Running a restaurant is hard. Doing it alone is harder. Make sure you have the right support on your team in order to be successful. The next step is process. Make sure you have clearly identified what it is you want your restaurant to do, how you want your staff to appear, their personality, the way the food is cooked, the way the guests are greeted, etc. etc. Make sure everything is defined and communicated to your team. Make sure your back office is in order as well. Make sure you have processes defined for things like end-of-day, or end-of-month, cleaning, etc. Make sure your team knows the process, and make sure they all agree. Finally, leverage technology to help make your life easier. For example, find a point of sale system that you don’t have to be in the store to make changes on. Find one that you can actually make the necessary changes from wherever you are. You and your family and friends will be much happier with you for it. So remember: people, process, technology.
5. And a fun question! What’s your favorite meal?
Tomahawk surf and turf.