Converging Restaurant Operations
2020 saw a massive adaptation of digital technologies across different sectors, especially in eCommerce. The USA alone reports growth of eCommerce adaptation from 17%-33% in 2 months, and the previous forecast was 24% by 2024.
One of the sectors that I feel can benefit from digital transformation is Food & Beverages, especially in restaurant operations. Besides enabling the business to control their operations better, they can also leverage this to provide a better customer experience.
While there are solutions available for business owners to use, I feel that digital adaptation in this sector is still fragmented. Instead of an integrated solution, business owners need to operate different platforms and doing consolidation themselves manually.
In approaching digital transformation, business owners might want to consider an integrated solution right from the start. The journey will not be short and smooth, it’s going to be long and tedious. However, starting with the end in mind helps and reaching the destination will be rewarding.
This can form part of the Business Management System (BizMS) which I have written an article on March 2021. This is the link for your further reading.
Coming back to our topic. What are the potential areas that the restaurant can look at enhancing by leveraging on technologies? I am looking at three possible areas, and there can be more.
You browse the app for a dining location and decide on a restaurant. The restaurant app shows you the available time slot that you can choose, and they offer you a 5% discount if you can stick to this time slot.
You can opt to place your order on the app and enjoy a 10% discount. However, you will need to pay a 50% deposit once you confirmed your orders. You pay for it as you are going to dine there, for sure.
Once you are in the restaurant, you head to the table allocated to you. The restaurant team members serve you within 5 minutes of your arrival. You order additional coffee after the meal using the online menu, ensuring that you keep the allocated time slot.
Before you leave the place, you make the payment at your table using one of the payment modes available. You get the receipt electronically delivered to your email.
You enjoyed your meal, get the 15% discount, minimising contact with the team members, and you do not need to queue for payment.
While there are still customers calling in to make a reservation, the numbers are declining. Many choose to go online to enjoy the discount. You can optimise the workflow of the member who is spending time listening to the calls.
You get more certainty on the numbers that will be visiting your restaurant. You can maximise the table occupancy as you now have more clarity on how the restaurant is filling up. Which day of the week and what time slot of the day. With social distancing measures, the restaurant needs to ensure that the maximum occupancy allowed by the authority is being taken up to maximise their profit.
Now, you get more clarity when ordering the raw materials. Knowing what the customer wants in advance helps you to decide what you need to purchase. It helps to reduce food wastage, keeping the ingredients fresh and not spending unnecessarily. You pass the savings back to the customer, keeping the customer happy and encouraging them to dine in your restaurant again.
You can now optimise the number of team members on the ground as your streamline these workflows.
Food Wastage Management
Knowing what the customer wants and purchasing raw materials based on demand can be a proactive approach to food waste management.
Starting from the front helps the entire food chain to optimise its operation. In an ideal situation, lesser orders lower the demand from the producers. Instead of focusing on quantity, the producers can now focus on improving quality, which helps them command a higher fee to make up the differences.
There could also be a mechanism to track the type of food and quantity consumed by a table to manage the wastage for repeated visits. Reducing their quantity based on their past consumption and offering option to top-up for those who consume more. This helps to reduce the guilt of the consumer indirectly by not wasting food.
Digital Integration enables business owners to track and manage their business in a more effective manner. The use of technology should serve to complement restaurant operations instead of solely to reduce workforce cost.
Business owners could start by looking at how to optimise their operational flow. Follow by Digitalisation, which converts analogue data digitally. Lastly, embarking on Digitisation, using the technology to enhance and augment the manual operational flow.
It will be a long journey where one must endure the long duration, the mistakes, the constant rework, and continuous improvement to reach the final vision of Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation is for your customer and your staff, enabling them to focus and get things that they want easily.
It’s never technology-focused. Instead, the focus is on the human and one’s processes, and finally complement using technology.