In the new normal, government restrictions and labour shortages have had extensive impacts on restaurant operations of all sizes. Over the past year, technology has stepped in to fill the gap, ensuring kitchens run more efficiently without breaking the bank.
Accelerating with Online Ordering
Previously, where restaurants could rely on consistent walk-in business, delivery was supplementary. But 2020 saw most foodservice businesses pivot to a takeout/delivery model. “Online ordering is not going to go away — the shift from offline to online has happened,” says Zhong Xu, co-founder & CEO of New York-based Deliverect. “Restaurants are looking at how to increase online sales and a logical step is to increase online channels for more sales.”
Launched in 2018, Deliverect offers seamless integration with more than 50 of the biggest POS vendors to streamline delivery apps. Xu says that, over the last year, the company experienced massive demand for its software. In 2019, the company processed 2.3-million delivery orders and in 2020, that number jumped to more than 16 million.
Adoniram Sides, senior director of Product Global Hospitality for Montreal-based Upserve by Lightspeed agrees. “We’ve seen the labour picture change dramatically in the past year and seen a significant change in what restaurateurs are using our products to do. For example, they’re using online ordering in a very heavy way. Restaurants that have never used online ordering now rely on it as a major part of their business.”
Forced to reach customers online, many restaurateurs found managing a host of delivery options to be labour-intensive, as well as rife with a high margin of error. Sides makes it clear, “The POS and technology platforms you choose really determine whether you need a lot of human labour to cover the gaps or not.”
The Integration Ecosystem
Outside of delivery, smart appliances are available to take care of headache-inducing tasks such as temperature monitoring. Texas-based Swift Sensors monitors and records food temperatures for compliance and safety using sensors in refrigeration units that send real-time temperatures to any device and store the information for compliance reporting.
Being able to roll with the daily challenges means owners and operators can add new technology as needed. Chris Adams, vice-president of Strategy at Oracle Food and Beverage notes, “Our partner ecosystem and open API architecture gives customers the ability to spin up new channels with modern technology that’s fast and easy to roll out, so they can test, learn and pivot as needed.”
Insights Add Value
The responsiveness and agility of today’s restaurateur is made possible by the unprecedented amount of information that even the smallest operation has within its POS and integrated platforms.
“Understanding business performance, from sales channel to kitchen productivity, is essential to ensuring restaurants can re-bound and re-build their business, even in the face of reduced foot traffic,” says Adams.
Sides says ensuring guests’ return and understanding menu performance, online and off, is crucial. “Restaurateurs think about cost of acquisition for a diner. We know it costs you less when a diner comes back because they enjoyed your meal.”
In addition, modern tech-based POS systems can pull summaries and predictions based on historical and real-time data at the click of a button from anywhere be it the restaurant office, on the floor or on the go.
Technology Companies and Customer Support
“We’re all in this together” can feel like overused rhetoric, but tech companies are taking it seriously. With dizzyingly robust options for every aspect of running a restaurant, customer-service teams are at the ready to ensure their tools are understood and optomized by customers.
At Oracle Food and Beverage, Adams notes, “We developed a program to help reduce the upfront capital expense for customers looking to upgrade their legacy technology and move to the cloud. Our One-for-One program gives restaurateurs the opportunity to replace their existing workstation or tablet with an Oracle MICROS device for one dollar with every Oracle MICROS Simphony license.”
At Deliverect, customer support provides advice on how to optimize menus, suggesting caption sizes and keywords. “We see [the relationship] as a partnership with our customers,” says Xu
By Andrea Victory