Data Is Paving the Path Forward for Restaurants
Restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems are due for a major digital overhaul in order to meet mobile customers’ needs and achieve enhanced data services. Being confined to legacy systems not only inhibits a restaurant from fulfilling the needs of mobile customers, but it also prevents it from pursuing new opportunities to serve those customers. The goal is to incorporate features like loyalty, rewards, and even delivery into a single solitary system that streamlines back-end inventory, accounting and management reporting.
According to Geoff Johnson, Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Product at Bypass, a company specializing in enterprise commerce, medium-sized chains boasting 50 to 1,000 locations suffer the most, because they’re limited by what’s currently offered on the market. Far from being technologists or experts in technology strategy, they must adapt to whatever is available.
Fortunately, the restaurant POS space is advancing and moving to the cloud. Cloud-based POS and migration toward restaurant management systems will revolutionize the way restaurants handle services like delivery. If delivery is executed by third-party aggregators, two potential threats exist. The first is an aggregator’s ability to handle logistics without charging huge fees and scaring off customers. The second is ownership of customers. Aggregators that deliver a lousy experience can cause a company to lose customers, which could be averted if said company were able to fully brand the experience. Where a cloud-based POS solution becomes instrumental is providing that coveted optionality across all channels through which customers are served.
But innovation in the restaurant domain is not always applicable. Consider self-service ordering kiosks, for instance. These have enjoyed stellar success with global giants like McDonalds, Wendy’s and Panera because customers know what they want when they walk through the door. With smaller companies like Shake Shack, human cashiers accepting cash payments work far more effectively. The idea is that customers don’t always know what they want, and equipping them with fancy technology hardly ameliorates service time. It’s all about delivering an end-product to the customer done well, more so than it is fancy software that neglects to take into account operational thought.
So what does the future of restaurants look like? Quite notably, it will be the invisible use of data to capture what consumers like, what they dislike, and what the next focal points should be. Data on its own means very little. Processing data over customer interactions and automating it to quip up about which goods to offer – artificial intelligence, in brief – are where true value lie.
AI-based systems are not easy to build, see or imitate, which is why they are so commodious. Drawing insight from data captured by cloud-integrated systems and plugging it in to restaurants’ real-time issues are where interest is presently concentrated. Ultimately, the path forward is feeding data back to restaurants so that they can effectively price offerings, push relevant products, and satisfy customers.