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The restaurant and foodservice industry might seem very straightforward from the outside, but as the industry grows many challenges appear. Technology offers the industry solutions it now heavily relies on.
Restaurants and food services are all about providing customers with quality food, ingredients that are convenient, easy, and quick to make or eat. The foodservice industry encompasses a wide variety of activities, services, and business functions involved in preparing and serving food to people eating away from home. This includes all types of restaurants from your fine dining prestigious restaurant to your local fast food. It also includes institutional food operations at locations such as schools and hospitals, as well as other specialty vendors such as food truck operators and catering businesses.
Today, food concerns about 10% of the global workforce and appears in two main forms, preparing food with the sole intent of eating, which gives you fast foods, cheap alternatives, and a more refined approach towards eating for pleasure. This leads us to the field of gastronomy and more expensive restaurants and food services that focus on quality.
As in most industries, technology is bringing big changes to businesses, each one has to adapt so as not to get left behind. Organizations now rely on technology to stay relevant and keep the same levels of efficiency.
A lot of modern new restaurants and food services rely on social media for their promotions and advertisements. This makes it easy for people to check out what the restaurant looks like and what it serves. As a bonus feature, this gives people the opportunity to recommend a certain restaurant by sharing its profile page with friends.
Restaurants benefit from social media by getting a word to mouth promotion and from being able to directly promote their business to certain crowds.
Technology also provides a new way for customers to order, some restaurants directly allow clients to select what they want online while seated or while waiting in line. Others choose to have a waiter do it for customers to make it feel like a real welcome.
In both cases, the entire ordering process happens online, through a specific network and application made for the restaurant. Organizations now rely on this technology to sort their orders.
Nowadays you can book and cancel a reservation for your favorite restaurant directly from google. Typing its name and date will tell you the possible time for a reservation. This opportunity is huge for businesses as the process becomes incredibly easy for customers.
While businesses could do without this innovation, it makes it much easier for restaurants to secure reservations, and doing without it would be a lot less efficient.
Technology has allowed restaurants and food services to schedule optimal levels of staff and stocks depending on how busy the place will be. This has proven very complicated in the past and is a significant challenge to any restaurant operator.
This takes out the guesswork and gives owners an accurate prediction of what they have to buy and who they have to bring. This can also predict seasonal delays, interruptions in the supply chain, and much more.
As resources are allocated based on actual demand data instead of hunches, benefits directly appear as there is less waste and businesses aren’t short-staffed.
Let’s now look at what technology is used and put in place to achieve these previous solutions.
As in most industries, Big Data and AI have completely revolutionized the various processes. By collecting data on user habits, what they order, how many items they order, if they want it delivered, how much they spend, and much more, various algorithms can start looking for trends in the data.
This allows businesses to predict what demand they will have in the future, what item sells best, and how much users are willing to spend. All these metrics are extremely relevant for restaurants to think of a business strategy.
This technology can also help to organize orders and stocks by keeping track of all the different products that an organization has, it can automatically restock your shelves and warn you of potential shortages in the supply chain.
This use of technology is primarily geared towards software and organizing the processes of a business to get them online. This makes them more accessible and gives users the opportunity of applying AI to them.
This is done by creating different algorithms that update the data, create orders, reservations, and provide information to its user.
Ecommerce revolves around the creation of a website and online store for restaurants to showcase their food, their location, their possible reservations, and for food services to show what they offer, their prices, and the ability for customers to rent their services.
Ecommerce websites can be developed extremely quickly thanks to most no-code alternatives and don’t require a developer. This trend has increased the previous focus on digitization and makes the industry even more dependent on technology.
As users now look for information online, technology has further increased its relevance and importance in restaurants and food services. People now look for places to eat on Instagram, show their friends what they ate and what the atmosphere was like. This forces restaurants and food services to follow the trend to stay up to date with an extremely competitive space.