Digital Innovation in the restaurant sector
What comes to mind when you think about restaurant innovation? New menus, new decor, perhaps a new chef?
When we speak about innovation in the restaurant sector, China is one of the biggest thought leaders. In China, it is not unusual to see robots working as FOH (Front of House), or customers having a complete digital experience inside a restaurant.
At smart restaurants (as they are known), consumers can order from a digital menu, pay online and collect the food without any human interactions. This all-digital experience helps attract younger generations like Gen Z's and Alphas that interact more through their phones than in real life.
But it's not only younger consumers that enjoy the convenience of smart restaurants, business owners understood the value of data - that recently surpassed the value of oil as a commodity - and facing the increasing labour cost decided to get closer to technology.
Survival of the fittest
According to BBC, automation could replace 1.5 million jobs in the next few years. To survive the technology revolution, several industries such as transport, construction and hospitality had to adapt to survive.
Some of the new technologies for restaurants include face recognition to recall past purchases, customer's data to suggest mains, starters and desserts and some restaurants even have AR (Augmented Reality) games to be played in exchange for future discounts.
Customers benefit from the convenience, personalised service and standardised experience, while businesses get a better insight into customers tastes that can be used to predict future trends.
All of this is simply the digital way of doing what restauranteurs have done for decades; providing a good experience, suggesting wine pairing, offering desserts, handing loyalty cards and getting repeat business as a result.
This experience sounds great, but what's the downside of it? Cost.
The development of innovative technology requires high investment, consumer feedback, regular updates and finally, it's not always as smart as it sounds.
In early 2017, KFC in China joined forces with Baddu- the country's number one search engine - to deliver a digital experience in-store. The machine installed in the restaurant promised to predict first-time orders based on recalling a database of previous customer orders.
Although promising, the machine couldn't break the complex human decision-making process and soon was left aside for humans at lunchtime.
So now you might be thinking, how on earth is this relevant for a restaurant in Ireland? No restaurants here are taking advantage of this kind of tech. Here's the thing, they are, and if you aren't jumping on board now you will find yourself left behind as your competitors set sail. And this leads us to our next point.
We have been working alongside our 400 plus clients for over 2 years now developing and improving our new software - Socio Connect. Our Community department works with clients big and small, from Restaurants, Bars, Cafe's and Hotels delivering Social Media Strategies, advertising and much more. Through the conversations, we have daily we understand exactly what our customer looks for and through this information, we developed Socio Connect.
But what is Socio Connect and how can it benefit you? Well short and simple, here's the breakdown. Socio Connect is an easy to manage mobile and desktop application that connects all the elements of your digital marketing, finally making it easier to succeed. Your social channels, your advertising, your performance, your reputation, your email marketing, your online bookings all connected, easy to use and in one place. It grants anyone and every one the power to fully utilise the digital landscape as we now know it and we continue to develop it and change with the ever-changing digital landscape.