Trish O'Loughlin

3 April 2017

How Technology is Refashioning Traditional Wining and Dining

There’s no denying that technology has well and truly infiltrated our lives. The ease of referring to an illuminated screen to consult the daily weather, map out a journey or track one’s exercise regime has now become the norm. In fact, technology’s grip over society is so strong that it has transformed many old-fashioned measures – including deeply ingrained methods that have helped the hospitality industry chug along for years.

In case you hadn’t already heard, restaurateurs are now bidding farewell to soggy food dockets and the confusing web of split bills. A wave of digitisation is washing over the industry, and it’s creating a new breed of dining experiences that – from our humble standpoint – is all for the better.

Digital point-of-sales systems

Perhaps the most iconic shift that’s currently occurring in the hospitality world is the use of screens over traditional paper pads and biros. More and more waiters/waitresses are staying on the floor rather than dashing back and forth from the kitchen thanks to the ability to swiftly punch orders into a system. With the information then instantaneously whooshed over to the chefs, meals can be lovingly prepared ASAP.

Benefits: Obviously, the core advantage here is the amount of time saved. Adrian Richardson, owner of Melbourne’s La Luna Bistro, recently told Broadsheet Melbourne that a digital POS has enabled him to save around “20 to 30 minutes per waiter” each day. This means increasingly prompt responses to customers and an overall speedier service. Furthermore, with wait staff constantly present on the floor, diners feel like they are being truly nurtured during their whole restaurant experience. Big ticks all round.

Fine-tuning menus according to sales tracking

Up until now, restaurateurs have predominantly relied on their gut instincts to curate their famous menus. The beauty of new technology is currently enabling them to evaluate how different dishes perform on a real-time basis – all from the comfort of their homes, if they wish. The introduction of modern point-of-sales systems track and record how different items are selling. From there, frequent reports are generated for hospitality gurus to gaze over and quickly assess what’s bringing in profits and what’s losing them money.

Benefits: Restaurant owners can now tailor their menus according to the highest-selling items. Sales reporting provides the gateway to filter out the flops and only feature drinks and dishes that are guaranteed to satisfy patrons. The result? Happy customers, boosted revenue and a soaring business reputation.

Mobile EFTPOS integration

Split bills have long given wait staff unnecessary headaches. With newer technologies on the block, some restaurants are now testing out mobile EFTPOS facilities to conduct transactions. Commonly spruiked as “convenient, portable, flexible and secure”, mobile EFTPOS is an all-in-one business payment solution that is proving undeniably effective and efficient.

Benefits: In an increasingly cashless world, mobile EFTPOS integration lets diners give tips and split payments any way desired using just their smartphones. Pretty nifty, right? Not only does this make things a whole lot easier for the customer, it also simplifies things for restaurant owners.

Websites replacing business phones

Though less common, some restaurants are now choosing to forego landline phones altogether and instead, use their websites as primary platforms for customers to make enquiries and bookings. With many restaurant patrons discovering new eateries via online searches anyway, it really only makes sense to cut ties with older technologies that are becoming increasingly obsolete – i.e. the telephone.

Benefits: Ditching the landline can culminate in a few added benefits; namely the fact that restaurant owners can save on time and money. Online bookings can easily and quickly be communicated to staff, thereby cutting out the need for phone conversations (and for anyone who’s ever worked in hospitality, those certainly add up throughout the day). Furthermore, ridding the workplace of a phone eliminates those extra expenses poured into monthly bills and maintenance.

As with most things in life, the integration of technology in the hospitality industry is certainly extinguishing the need for time-consuming, clunky old methods. From taking orders to perfecting the menu, more and more doors are being unlocked for restaurateurs to amplify their business efforts and maximise their ROI.

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