Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief: Volume 21
Should You Bring in Automation to Your Restaurant?
Hi all, welcome back to the Bonji Food Aficionado Smart Brief! We hope the weekend treated you well and you are ready for a new week full of new opportunities!
First, there is some big news for the Bonji family! We have been listed on Feedspot's top 100 restaurant blogs!!! Thank you for all the support with our growing acai business, our blog, and definitely go check out Feedspot for some other amazing blogs. Now, with technology booming into the restaurant industry, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Thus, we are here to help break down the idea of automating processes and interactions in your restaurant. Many may think that automating is necessary to keep up with the times, however, we feel that there are right and wrong ways to go about bringing in new technology. Overall, automation can be amazing for a business or restaurant, especially with labor shortages, yet do not lose touch with your customers.
Where Automation May Make Sense and Where it May Not Technology may have its weaknesses, but there are countless benefits as well. Therefore, one area to consider automating is the payment process. For instance, something like Apple Pay has transformed the idea of people carrying around traditional wallets. Of course, there are limitations, controversy, and people who won't adapt to this new technology. Yet, more forms of contactless payments are flooding the market. Customers will often find paying through their phone or with a simple tap extremely beneficial. Not only will customers enjoy having an easy payment process, but it also keeps things simple and easy for your employees and accountant. Another area to consider automating is the ordering process; but, this may have a few more details to touch on than the payment process. QR code and digital menus have skyrocketed in popularity since the start of the pandemic. The potential benefits include: reducing waste, less worries about sanitation, no more printer troubles, real-time updates to item availability, simple daily edits to ingredients, multiple menus in one spot, “click for nutritional/allergy information", and more. However, you may want to leave the actual ordering for an in-person wait staff. Ordering online has made everyone want to rush into the digital ordering system, but we suggest letting the massive chains like McDonalds handle that. Of course, online ordering doesn't need a human interaction, but when customers are seated in a restaurant, human connection plays a major role in their experience. They may be looking at a digital menu, or maybe not, but regardless, the environment is built by your staff. Thus, it remains important to ensure your wait staff is trained properly in order to handle questions, polite reception, and any other situation that may arise when taking orders. There is something special about human interaction at a sit-down restaurant, so remember don't lose touch while automating. One area we definitely do not suggest automating is the kitchen. Yes, fast-food operators are replacing kitchen workers left and right with robots. However, independent restaurants should remember that there is true heart put into the food you serve. Don't let labor costs stop you from hiring amazing, creative chefs because once you lose touch of your food, everything else will go out the door with it. Maybe a coffee machine wouldn't be the end of the world, yet they're still is definitely an appeal to talking with a barista about what they are serving. So in reality, you may want to think deeply about what you may be automating. There are plenty of benefits to new technology, but never forget how powerful human interaction can be.
Final Thoughts: On the whole, 50% or more of restaurant operators say that they will deploy automation technology within the next 2-3 years. As much as we would love to stay traditional, automation is clearly something all restaurant operators should have in mind. Technology can help cut labor costs, find labor assistance, or ultimately systemize processes. However, it also takes away from the atmosphere and feeling of your restaurant, so again, don't lose touch.