Who remembers the line from When Harry Met Sally when Carrie Fisher goes, “Restaurants are to people in the 80s what theaters were to people in the 60s”?
What would that line be now? A seamless digital experience is to people in the 2020s what drive-thrus were to people in the 2000s? Or, AI and automation are to people in the 2020s what mobile was to people in the 00s?
No matter how you look at it, the restaurant experience has changed significantly, especially in the past few years. Now, restaurants need to have an online presence in order to succeed, and not only that, but they need to keep it updated and optimized for today’s customer expectations.
According to Google, 89% of diners research restaurants on their phone before visiting. And there are over one billion restaurant searches on Google every month, with a growing number of searches for “food near me”. The opportunities are there.
As a response to changing customer preferences, staffing challenges, and environmental and safety concerns, many restaurants are turning to contactless menus using QR codes, mobile ordering, mobile apps, and digital checks. As of 2021, 7 in 10 restaurants are single-unit establishments, meaning that they may not have big corporate teams to implement and manage the latest tech. But since 73% of diners feel that restaurant technology improves their experience, restaurant operators of all types of businesses should invest in technology now, and start getting comfortable with the new diner expectations.
To meet these high consumer expectations while maintaining a positive staff environment, restaurateurs are turning to new restaurant technology and integrated systems, the “restaurant tech stack”. 95% of restaurant owners feel that restaurant technology helps their business to be more efficient. The right restaurant tech stack can help even the busiest restaurant teams deliver incredible service and keep up with major chains without breaking the bank.
As Gen Z grows up, gets on the road and out on their own, and more digital natives gain spending power, the restaurant experience will only get more tech-y.
Recent restaurant industry research from Toast shows that:
Some of the top restaurant technology trends in 2022 are:
A typical restaurant tech stack might look like this:
This list can go on and on depending on the technology your audience prefers and the mission, branding, and identity of your restaurant. For some customers, order-ahead is a must-have feature for their morning coffee since they run on a tight schedule. For others, they prefer a more collaborative environment of a community-oriented space with local meetups advertised via SMS.
According to G2, a third-party review site, the top 10 restaurant management software platforms that restaurants are using in 2022 are:
Here are the tools that restaurateurs swear by to provide the best possible guest experience.
By the way — did you know that the top three reasons people call restaurants are 1) to make reservations, 2) to place takeout orders, and 3) to modify existing reservations? There are tools on this list to help you automate all of those requests, saving your restaurant team time to serve the customers you have standing in front of you.
Slang, an AI-powered virtual phone agent for restaurants, helped the Weimann Maclise restaurant group eliminate hundreds of unanswered voicemails. Digital phone and customer service technology, like live chat software, SMS communication, and virtual assistants help to improve the customer experience, all while generating helpful data for your business.
The top tech feature that diners want from restaurants is the ability to make an online reservation.
Whatever your biggest challenges as a restaurant manager or operator are, there’s a platform that can help you. Whether you’re overwhelmed with staffing, inventory, reaching new audiences, retaining customers, or managing customer service, there are new restaurant technologies that meet even the most specific needs.
Looking for a restaurant tech solution that you can get up and running in just a few minutes? Try Slang.ai, the first customizable, AI-powered restaurant virtual assistant. Your customers will love it.