In the future, restaurants will need to be on constant look out for innovation.

For restaurants looking to make a comeback from the pandemic’s wrath, the recently passed Restaurant Revitalization Fund may be the lifeline they are looking for. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the fund will offer $28.6 billion in federal grants to revive struggling establishments. Yet even with this relief, restaurants will not experience immediate effects without properly investing the money in solutions that ensure long-term results, such as technology. 

Through today’s modern technologies, restaurants can accomplish smoother operations, foster stronger customer experiences, reduce labor cost savings, and recruit staff members with ease. 

AI and Machine Learning Enable Streamlined Processes

While there are many useful technologies that can help restaurants grow, two of the most common and effective tools are AI and machine learning. With their ability to streamline overarching internal and external processes, AI systems can revolutionize the way restaurants operate and assure the right decisions are made for each unique store location based on the system’s data, preventing potential human errors and alleviating the stress of critical decision making by restaurant staff. 

However, with today’s consumers, the external processes that ensure top-notch customer experiences are especially important. External ordering and delivery mechanisms will ultimately determine whether a customer reorders from a restaurant again, and spread the word on the restaurant’s overall performance. With technologies that control the kitchen and foster end-to-end optimization processes, customers can receive a perfectly accurate ETA and monitor the exact status of their order preparation from start to finish. 

Additionally, optimization platforms powered by AI and machine learning enable a direct line of communication between restaurants and customers, which strengthens customer service initiatives to guarantee hot and fresh food as quickly as possible.  

Delivery and Staffing Solutions

Delivery plays a crucial role in solidifying customer satisfaction. Therefore, restaurants should prioritize optimized delivery capabilities, which can be achieved through a combination of third-party and in-house delivery drivers. 

There are sophisticated systems that can automate the delivery process by dispatching appropriate drivers based on the restaurant’s needs. For example, if the in-house driver is too far from the store or if it is rush hour and more drivers are needed than the current pool the restaurant has available, they can tap into third-party systems to meet their delivery needs. 

By optimizing the delivery process, restaurants can experience labor cost-savings because of better driver efficiency. In addition to this, drivers can also see financial benefits, with sophisticated learning machines giving drivers the ability to take “smarter” delivery trips per shift. This leaves more opportunity for drivers to make more deliveries, ultimately earning more tips at the end of each day.   

Aside from delivery drivers, technology also benefits internal kitchen and wait staff members. While some restaurants are having difficulty staffing their locations, technology can help fill in the gaps to meet current demand while also attracting new talent.  

Technology is Key for Future Success

The past year has spotlighted that the implementation of technology is vital to the future success of the restaurant industry. As vaccinations continue to become more widespread in the U.S., restaurants will need to prepare to handle both online orders and in-person dining, which requires the use of proper technologies and practices to maintain excellent customer and employee experiences. 

Technology is modernizing and elevating many facets of consumers’ daily lives, all the way from autonomous vehicles to easier delivery channels, such as ordering by tweet (after setting up a Twitter profile) or ordering with virtual assistance through devices like Alexa and smartwatches. Moreover, contactless deliveries through robots and drones that operate by using cameras, sensors and 3D city maps are becoming more readily available. 

In the next few years, more technologies will enter the food industry and restaurants will need to be on constant look out for innovations. However, rather than wait for these developments, restaurants should start prioritizing investments in today’s technologies to improve both customer and employee experiences. These technologies do not replace human connections, but rather, amplify them.  

Ido Levanon is the CEO of Dragontail Systems. He has 20-plus years’ experience and a proven track record in successful management and turnaround of various international companies. He was CEO and a seed investor in several technology start-ups and a Financial Planning Manager for Fujitsu USA. Ido holds an MBA from San Diego University. He has been part of DT Israel since its inception in 2013 as one of the founding investors

Feature, Leader Insights, Technology