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Communicating with staff about the reasons behind a tech change is vital to the success of a rollout.

Is the Restaurant World Poised for a Tech Takeover?

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How cloud-based technology is revolutionizing foodservice.
By Jesse Noyes May 2017 Vendor Bylines

Kale. Ramen. Locally sourced ingredients. Craft beer. The restaurant industry is quick to jump on food trends. But when it comes to technology—not so much. Although technology has been impacting and improving our lives for decades, restaurants have been slow to adapt.

The biggest innovations the restaurant industry has seen in recent years have been the introduction of credit cards as a payment method and the development of modern point of sale systems.

While the majority of restaurants now accept credit cards, most are simply providing fees to a processor to accept this form of payment without receiving anything but the pass-through service in return. But the credit card, which was initially designed to advance credit and make it easier for consumers to make purchases without carrying around cash, can now do so much more. Restaurants should be using credit cards to understand customers’ purchase histories and consumption habits on a deeper level and to provide reward or loyalty programs.

The story of POS use is similar: Many restaurants are not taking full advantage of available technology. POS software was a great innovation when it first became available, but now many restaurants are using old technology and clunky machines despite the availability of improved capabilities like cloud-based data.

A Tech Takeover Is Here

The good news is that restaurants are poised for a tech takeover. Cloud-based, consumer device POS systems are improving ease of use, communication, and analytics for restaurant owners and managers.

Compared with older technology, mobile POS systems are easier to update, modify, and use. Even better, they’re more affordable and offer a solid ROI. The systems can send orders directly where the front of house needs them to go, whether it’s to the head chef, salad station, or bar. Also, with these systems, your technology is already set up to respond to the next big thing. Updates don’t require costly downtime or new hardware. They just happen.

Mobile POS systems also improve communication within the walls of the restaurant and from outside the restaurant. Your staff can move from email threads and handwritten notes to communicating digitally in a streamlined way that allows you to locate the information the next day or the next year. You can also easily pair the personal feedback of staff with actual data, such as covers, sales, and weather, to get a 360-degree view of what’s happening in the restaurant—even when you’re not there.

Prepare for the Revolution

Despite their ease of use and improved functionality, simply switching to an updated POS system won’t be successful if your staff isn’t prepared and trained correctly to use it. Follow these steps to ensure success at your restaurant.

1. Communicate

Let your staff know why you’re updating your POS system by explaining the benefits and outlining how it can be a solution to current challenges they’re experiencing. Don’t forget that as the owner of your restaurant, you’re in charge.

2. Model and Enforce Best Practices

Before you can measure data, you need to know what you want to track. Learn the new technology so you can tell your staff what you want to accomplish with it and how to best use it.

Always use best practices so your staff can model your behavior, but also understand that your staff may be more entrenched in the new system than you. Request their feedback and be open to making changes on the basis of their suggestions.

3. Take Advantage of the Technology’s Full Capabilities

While the restaurant industry adopts new technologies, it doesn’t always take full advantage (case in point: credit cards). Don’t let that happen when switching to a mobile POS system. Make sure you’re getting real insights and not just a bunch of data.

You need to know which item your top server upsells the most or which menu items bring back repeat guests. Use the data available with your new system to get answers to those questions. Track and evaluate metrics regularly over time to catch negative trends and understand the overall health of your restaurant.

No Longer Stuck in the Past

Cloud-based POS systems will revolutionize how individual restaurants are run, but they also carry the promise of growing the industry overall. The new technology allows owners to manage their restaurants without having to physically be there, which could tremendously impact their abilities to grow multiple locations.

Additionally, the insight that can be gleaned from the wealth of data these systems collect can help restaurant owners run more efficiently and reduce costs while providing better service to customers. Join the revolution, and help make slow adoption of technology within the restaurant industry a thing of the past.

Jesse Noyes is the senior director of marketing at Upserve, one of the largest and fastest­-growing companies in the restaurant technology space. Upserve’s restaurant management system offers a complete suite of solutions purpose-built for restaurants. Upserve's system also includes Breadcrumb POS by Upserve, the industry's strongest cloud-based restaurant management point of sale.