With recent shifts in customer behaviors and the rise of technologies to meet those changes, restaurants have the opportunity to reimagine the customer experience, discover value in new ways to serve customers and harness the power of data to rethink business models.
In 2023, restaurant owners should continue assessing opportunities to become more agile and efficient through digitally-led solutions that meet diners where they are.
What is digital transformation in the restaurant industry?
Digital transformation describes the incorporation of new technologies into the food service industry to optimize the customer experience, organizational processes and company culture. Embracing digital transformation is essential to stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment.
The transformation considers two fronts:
- Transformation: Establish the technological goals you hope to achieve and customize your transformation to meet those specific needs.
- Agility: As new technologies become available, plan to improve processes with data-driven decisions and a willingness to adapt.
Perhaps more than any other industry, restaurant owners are keenly aware of how their services impact their customers. Here’s how you can deliver to your customers’ changing needs:
1. Use data-driven systems to automate BoH and FoH.
Using data-driven systems to automate back-of-house (BoH) and front-of-house (FoH) operations starts with building a solid foundation (and connection) through innovative software and robust wireless network management tools.
Utilizing systems and software that give you actionable insights based on the data gathered, you can:
- BoH: Manage inventory and supply chain information, right-size employee work hours, streamline customer orders with kitchen duties and consolidate point-of-sale (POS) data with your internal customer database.
- FoH: Utilize tools that allow for digital signage, digital menus and automated kiosks.
2. Maintain an online presence with intuitive, contactless engagement.
Self-pay kiosks, dynamic QR code menus, online delivery and online reservations are a few ways businesses are going digital to accommodate the need for fast, convenient service. Don't get left behind as customers become savvier with technology, resulting in shorter waits with the expectation of higher-quality service.
As we see a significant increase in the need for payment methods better aligned with consumer expectations, offer multiple forms of payment, including (but not limited to) tap-to-pay, Google Pay and Apple Pay.
By integrating your point-of-sale transactions into your customer database, you can use that data to create efficiencies within the POS or even use the data to market to customers.
3. Focus on your team’s transformation.
Digital transformation is as much about how your employees embrace the technology as it is about the technology itself. That might not seem intuitive, but when everyone is aligned on the benefits of the technology, that technology can be used optimally.
To ensure your team is fully on board:
- Prepare and train your staff on how to use your digital tools to increase operational efficiencies.
- Conduct open sessions with internal teams to resolve areas of friction.
- Implement new tech that better aligns with customer needs.
Providing training for employees who aren’t happy is a waste of time. If your company is like many others, it is embracing the changing tide of employee-first mission statements. Retain and grow your team by evaluating compensation plans, PTO policies, free meal offerings, opportunities to contribute to the menu, promotions planning, commissions and involvement in event planning.
In the end, staff's insights and involvement will bring digital transformation to life much quicker with their buy-in.
4. Maximize consumer tech knowledge to maintain customer satisfaction.
Some say that social media is the new “word of mouth.” These platforms are how people recommend goods and services to friends, family, and even strangers, so if you care about bringing in new and continuing customers, you need to be on social media.
You can encourage customers to post about you by:
- Creating Instagram-able moments with photo walls, aesthetics linked to your brand and unique menu items.
- Strategically developing menu items and direct team members to suggest them for flavor and photos
- Offering weekly or monthly specials linked to socials and including giveaways for increased engagement.
How can DOCOMO PACIFIC support your digital transformation?
As you start formulating your digital transformation strategy, working with DOCOMO PACIFIC offers you an opportunity to take advantage of our business bundles and individual services.
We are always growing and transforming to bring customers like you into the digital future. Get in touch with us to see how we can help! Or you can download our free checklist that every business needs to implement a successful digital transformation strategy.
About the Author
A wholly owned subsidiary of NTT Docomo in Japan, DOCOMO PACIFIC offers business internet, phone, cable and mobile services to Guam and the CNMI.