How to make restaurants more profitable using technology
Reducing waiting times in restaurants can help increase efficiency and profitability, we look at how technology can help.
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Restaurants have a problem, well, they have many, especially with all the recent restrictions, but today we’re just going to focus on one. They have a limited number of seats and tables, and can only serve a limited number of customers at a time. If they are lucky the customers will order some of the more expensive options, ideally coupled with some high-margin wine, and they will come back often.
With a little more luck, they will be served quickly and t they will not linger in the restaurant any more than necessary. When they leave, tables will free up for other customers later in the evening. Although the real world is, unfortunately, not so perfect there are ways to make things better, and today we’ll explore some of them.
Creating a smoother experience
A good place to start is reducing dead times, especially those connected with ordering f food. In most restaurants, customers will be seated, receive the menu, and then a waiter will depart to take care of other customers and won’t be seen again for a long time.
When the server finally comes back the customers will ask questions about the dishes and take some time to choose and debate the different options. Sometimes, they may also discover that the restaurant has run out of some ingredients, and they have to re-think their choices.
This system is, obviously, less than ideal. It leaves hungry customers waiting, servers running back and forth, and creates unnecessary delays. In a dream world, the solution would be to “clone” the waiters and assign one to each person. In the real world, this would make costs skyrocket and create a very weird dining experience; as it turns out, technology has a solution that is not too far off and doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Conversational technology in the restaurant
The solution we speak of is one that allows users to talk to a “waiter” that can provide the menu, answer questions, offer suggestions, place their order, and even process payments, all without the need to install a new app or use anything that people aren’t already familiar with.
We are talking about a chatbot. Chatbots are specialized computer programs that have the unique ability to understand human language and hold conversations. They can also easily interface with a restaurant’s management system and operate through messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger.
If the restaurant wishes, they can also be used to extend the interaction outside the premises, asking users for feedback on their meals, sharing recipes, providing recommendations, making reservations for the future, and much, much, more.
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