4 Digital Innovations That Will Improve Your Restaurant Operations

From ordering to paying the check, diners are using technology to improve their overall dining experience. But restaurants, too, have plenty to gain from investing in the latest digital innovations. Stay on top of these four emerging tech trends, and take your restaurant to the next level.

Digital Loyalty Programs

Diners love a good deal, but their keychains and wallets can only hold so many loyalty cards. Restaurants are finding they can provide a better customer experience while improving their own operations when they digitize loyalty cards for mobile use. Diners are more likely to use loyalty cards when they dine in if they’re stored in their smartphones, and restaurant owners and managers can use information collected from their digital loyalty programs – such as preferred menu items, birthdays and aggregate points – to dish out rewards to loyal dine-in customers while also optimizing seasonal food orders, staffing levels and menus to reflect diner preferences.

Mobile Payments

Diners and service staff alike are always looking for easier ways to split bills across big parties. A number of legacy and upstart payments companies are working to do just that. Virtual wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay have allowed diners to virtually move their credit and debit cards onto their smartphones. These mobile wallets are accepted at new POS terminals that are gradually rolling out across the U.S. Other apps are available to make it easy for diners to split up their tabs, no matter how they pay. Because the new mobile payment options available to diners are also a time saver and morale booster for front-of-house staff, restaurant managers are embracing the trend, updating their POS terminals and offering branded mobile payments apps to their diners.

Online Ordering

Whether your restaurant is dine-in or takeout (or both), you can appeal to new diners who want to save themselves a trip to your restaurant by adding delivery options. To increase order volume, restaurants now allow diners to place delivery and takeout orders online, in addition to traditional methods such as phone and fax. Restaurant owners have seen online ordering not only increases sales volume and ticket sizes, it also frees up their employees from being tied to the phone. Because they’re spending less time on the phone thanks to online ordering, restaurant staff have more time to help out with in-house customer service, delivery preparation and performing the other small but critical tasks that keep every restaurant running smoothly.

Digital Menus

That’s right, even the menus are going digital. Diners who like to order their delivery and takeout from a tablet or smartphone will soon be enjoying the same ease, convenience and service within the restaurant’s dining room. Several companies are designing software that enables restaurant owners to make menu adjustments without incurring extra printing costs. These next-generation menus can also make suggestions to diners (Which wine pairs well with the pork chops?), as well as securely accept payments.

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