Restaurant Technology Explained: 3 Things You Need to Consider

By: Punchh


In today’s modern, digitally-enabled restaurant landscape, acquiring new customers and gaining their loyalty is the new battlefield. As a result, new technologies are being developed to help brands win customers and increase their loyalty primarily through ingredients such as mobile ordering, omnichannel engagement, rewards programs and guest feedback.

Although such technological ingredients exist, many restaurant brands aren’t able to efficiently integrate and synergize them. In this post, we have identified some key signs indicating how and why you may not be utilizing your technological ingredients to their full capacity, leaving them “undercooked”.

Undercooked Sign #1: Your Technology Acquires Customers But Doesn’t Retain Them

While some restaurants are focused on jumping on the home delivery trend with services like UberEats and Caviar, many are missing out on the opportunity to turn these one-time deliveries into more loyal customers. Although the home delivery method is convenient for the customer and results in a sale for your store, it doesn’t allow you the opportunity to understand who this customer is, if they have ordered from your store before, or if they’re already part of your store’s loyalty program.

By capturing and recording a customer’s past purchase history with your brand, you can not only get direct insight into their preferences, but you’re also able to use that data to fuel your 1:1 marketing strategy. For example, knowing that Customer X has bought your taco special on UberEats is not nearly as interesting as knowing that Jane Smith has visited your store 12 times and has ordered from your taco menu 9 of the 12 times. With this information, you can then try to get Jane to not only return to your store more frequently by sending her a time-limited coupon for any taco, but also provide another coupon to purchase a soft drink, so now you’re incentivizing an increase in spend as well as frequency.

Having this kind of centralized database of your customers is invaluable for providing better customer service, as well as providing your customers with a more personalized way of interacting with your brand.

Undercooked Sign #2: Tech Lacks Ability to Scale

The ability to scale is one of the most important attributes to look for when adopting any new technology. You want to make sure that the technology you’re investing in can not only help solve your problems today, but can also solve your problems in five, ten or even 20 years from now.

Technology implementations that take a year to roll-out are the standard for many restaurants today, especially QSRs and other casual dining restaurants. The old adage that ‘time is money’ still rings true, especially when customer trends and expectations can change quarter to quarter. Choosing a technology that can be implemented and integrated quickly can help to save you money in the short term by lowering operating costs, but can also get your marketing team the data they need now to increase your speed to market and integrate real-time adjustments to your database so you can market to your customers in the way, on the channel and at the time they want.

Ultimately, your technology stack needs to adjust to you as the needs of both your internal teams as well as the needs of the customer change. Invest in technology that can grow with you as your brand grows.

Undercooked Sign #3: Tech Is Incapable of Adopting New or Advanced Features

In today’s consumer-driven world, convenience is threatening to outcompete food quality for the title of most important restaurant trait. Adopting technology that enhances not only the customer experience in-store, but also allows your brand to understand unique customer behavior digitally is becoming the only way for restaurants to survive.

Let’s look at mobile ordering, for example. Restaurant sales are becoming exponentially more digital, with smartphone orders predicted to account for more than 10% of all QSR sales by 2020 and mobile ordering ballooning into an industry of $38 billion. Rather than making customers fumble with cash or credit cards (who carries cash around these days?!), many restaurants are looking to adopt mobile ordering capabilities where their customers can use whatever online payment option they want, (i.e. Apple Pay and Google Pay). Some restaurants are even partnering with large-scale retailers to provide their customers with even more payment options. TGI Fridays, for one, has become the first restaurant chain to partner with Amazon to enable their customers to pay through their Amazon account.

IoT devices, especially voice-activated devices (such as Amazon Echo and Google Home), are another avenue restaurants are looking at for placing online orders. In fact, Burger King recently launched a marketing campaign that won them a Grand Prix award at the recent Cannes Lions festival. The campaign consisted of a TV ad that read out loud “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” and any Google Home device that was able to hear the prompt, gave listeners a description of the fast-food chain’s burger. Sneaky, but genius.

This is just one reason why your restaurant should invest in technology that is capable of adopting advanced features. Having the flexibility to adopt and integrate into cool, emerging technologies will help your marketing team capitalize on the latest trends, as well as help your brand take the lead in providing new features and offers that help both acquire and retain customers.

It’s vitally important for restaurants to own the relationship with their customers. With the right acquisition and loyalty tools, your brand can constantly acquire new customers and know their digital identity, verify their every visit and keep track of their purchase receipts. Using this information, your brand can automate it’s marketing efforts to design better campaigns and offers targeted for every customer at every location.

For more information on how we can help your brand acquire loyal customers, contact us today.

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