How to Become a High-Tech Restaurant in 2023
In today's competitive industry, high-tech restaurants are creating the best and most personalized guest experiences.
When you hear the phrase, “high-tech restaurant,” what do you think of?
Flying delivery cars?
For restaurants, being high-tech simply means implementing tools and resources to improve the guest experience, by making dining more efficient and streamlining your processes. And while robot servers are a thing, your restaurant doesn’t need to add them in order to be high-tech.
In the past, being an innovative restaurant was a differentiator. Due to the pandemic, however, most restaurants were forced to adopt advanced restaurant technologies. From contactless options to increased delivery outlets, tech-enabled restaurants were able to stay afloat when times got tough.
But increased technology in restaurants wasn’t just a pandemic-led trend — it’s a facet of the industry that’s here to stay. Now, most guests expect smart restaurant technology, whether they’re dining in or carrying out.
How to become a high-tech restaurant
Start with the best POS
The point of sale system, or POS, is the heart of your restaurant’s operations. And the best POS restaurant hardware enables purchases to happen in any corner of the dining area. With a touchscreen terminal at your counter and handheld POS devices in your servers’ hands, you can optimize both counter and table service.
But the most important thing about choosing a POS for your restaurant is to make sure every piece of technology integrates and flows seamlessly into your POS. From kitchen display screens that keep your back-of-house connected to front-of-house, or integrated online ordering solutions that help you take control of the guest experience (without those third-party fees), implementing a POS with the integrations you care about will make a big difference.
Plus, a good restaurant platform will make life easier for you, your staff, and your guests.
With a point of sale system like Toast, you can…
- Offer loyalty programs and digital gift cards for your regulars
- Take advantage of offline mode in case of an internet outage
- Gather useful guest information, such as guest order records and email addresses, to use in automated email marketing campaigns
- Track employee scheduling, payroll, and remote shift approvals, and even allow for employees to swap shifts
- View reports on restaurant sales, labor cost percentage, inventory variance, and menu engineering
…and so much more, all from your POS platform.
In short, implementing an all-in-one POS will help you run your entire restaurant.
Create delightful digital dining experiences with the right technology
When it comes to being a high-tech restaurant, you don’t need IRT tables or smart tables to impress your guests. Instead, deliver a convenient dining experience by implementing technology that lets your guests order and pay at their table.
Toast’s Order & Pay software gives guests the experience they’re looking for. With mobile order and pay, diners have easy access to what they want, when they want it, from their own devices. This technology increases convenience and speed while maintaining staff-customer connections.
Simply implement tabletop signage that includes a QR code to scan, as well as the table number the guest is seated at. Empower guests to take control of their dining experience while freeing up servers to focus more on table touches, upsells, and making recommendations. It’s a win-win.
Learn more about pay-at-the-table software in the video below.
If you run a fine dining restaurant, you may be hesitant to implement order and pay at the table. After all, folks are likely visiting your establishment for a customized, interactive experience. However, there’s a happy medium that allows guests to receive that 1:1 care they’re looking for, while still arming your servers with technology to streamline the ordering process: handheld devices.
With Toast Go® 2, servers can take orders and payments — including contactless transactions — anywhere in the restaurant. Plus, servers can get alerts from the kitchen display system when orders are ready to be served, making sure your dishes go from the line to the table in no time.
You may be thinking, “well, my restaurant gets busy, accidents happen, and spills or heat don’t necessarily mix with technology.” And you’d be right — for most hardware. But the Toast Go® 2 is built for restaurants; the handheld devices are spill-proof, drop-proof, and dust-proof.
“This is a fantastic product. It’s super durable. We’ve dropped ours a few times and it’s none the worse for wear.” - Eli Feldman, Founding Manager of Shy Bird in Cambridge, MA
Sometimes, guests don’t have the time or energy to dine out. For those moments, making sure your restaurant has the ability to take online pickup orders — in a way that doesn’t hurt your bottom line — makes a world of difference.
Using an integrated online ordering system allows you to own your guest relationship and maintain your margins, letting guests easily order pickup or delivery directly from you — commission-free.
Did you know: Restaurants can save up to $36K a year in commissions* by switching to Toast Online Ordering.
If you’re using third-party delivery services, such as GrubHub, UberEats, or Doordash, there’s a good chance you know the struggle of maintaining multiple tablets so an order doesn’t slip through the cracks. If you’re looking to beef up your restaurant’s technology, investing in a third-party delivery integration through your POS will reduce labor costs and order errors.
Plus, we’ve got four words for you: no more double entry.
Toast’s third-party delivery integration lets you manage all your menus in one place. Easily add new items, update specials, or automatically 86 items across every platform. Plus, with a direct integration, you can say goodbye to manual entry entirely, firing orders directly to the kitchen as they come in.
If you’re looking to become a high-tech restaurant, taking advantage of integrated technology to streamline online ordering and delivery is an important step.
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Use interactive restaurant technology to collect guest info and keep in touch
In a high-tech restaurant, the connection and communication between your restaurant and the guest doesn’t end once they’re out the door. By collecting guest information, such as email address or phone numbers, you can keep in touch with diners and encourage them to come back.
With a loyalty program, guests can check rewards progress at any time and will be incentivized to become repeat visitors. Plus, you can view guest order history, creating a more customized experience where you know exactly what your biggest supporters want.
Using email marketing for customer outreach also helps you stay top-of-mind. Plus, if you use an email marketing tool that’s directly integrated with your POS, you don’t have to worry about exporting your email lists and importing them into a third-party tool. This means you’re ready to create custom lists, automate outreach based on guest behavior, and bring back lapsed guests with “miss you” campaigns at any time.
“In our first two weeks, our Miss You campaign brought in over 300 people. I think over $1,600 in sales. Anyone would be happy with that. That’s fantastic.” - Greg Gibbs, Owner of Chicago Bagel Authority in Chicago, IL
For high-tech restaurants, marketing is all about sending the right message at the right time to tailor guest experiences and meet their expectations. Using interactive restaurant technology makes it much easier to do that.
Stay active on social media
Years ago, having a strong social media presence for your restaurant was a nice-to-have. Now? It’s a must. Your guests are on social media, and you should be too.
Social media, and Instagram in particular, have changed the restaurant industry. In fact, 30% of millennial diners actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence.
Now, you don’t have to be a social media pro to reap the benefits of having an active profile. Rather, use social media to keep the lines of communication open between you and your guests through showcasing weekly menus, sharing content that is posted by your guests, ensuring correct information about closures or changes in hours, and generally giving your restaurant the opportunity to be found online.
Using social media will allow you to reach new guests and stay connected with current ones.
Grow your social following and turn them into regulars
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The time to go high-tech is now
If you’ve been hesitating to implement new technology for your restaurant, this is the time to go for it.
Not only will becoming a high-tech restaurant help you deliver a better guest experience, but it can also help cut down on costs and improve your bottom line, all while streamlining processes. Choosing the right technology for your restaurant means happier guests and less-stressed staff.
Ready to get started? Talk to a restaurant expert today and learn how Toast can help your business thrive.
* Based on average monthly Online Ordering volume, assuming that customers pay 30% commission on third-party ordering channels and switch all digital ordering volume to Toast.
DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.