If you have begun making your way back to local bars and restaurants in the wake of the COVID pandemic, you have probably noticed some new technologies. Food service and hospitality were already looking at new technology options before COVID struck. But having to retool their businesses as a result of the pandemic has led many of them to accelerate their technology plans. Customers are starting to see the results now.
It is fair to say that the simple family diner offering a strong menu and no-frills service still exists. So does the neighborhood bar with its nightly clientele. But both are gradually being swallowed up by technology. They are going the way of the mom-and-pop store as consumer preferences change. Embracing technology is the key to keeping up.
So what new technologies are emerging? Here are just a few examples:
Digital Ordering and Payments
Staff shortages have left a lot of restaurants reeling. In an attempt to recover from COVID, many are struggling because they cannot hire the necessary servers. One way around the problem is to deploy digital ordering and payment systems.
A digital system combines an internal computer network with tablets or terminals at each table. Customers are greeted and shown to their tables by a traditional host, whereupon they are left to transact with a digital terminal. They order food and pay for their meals directly from the terminal. They only interact with a server when food is delivered to the table.
Digital ordering and payments are taking off in fast food restaurants as well. By installing terminals at the front counter, restaurant chains can dispense with the army of employees who used to take orders and run payments.
Digital Menus and Walls
Miami’s Lunis Systems points to digital menus and walls as another technological innovation being embraced by bars and restaurants. A digital menu is just as it sounds: a menu that appears on a digital screen instead of a piece of paper. Its main benefit is that restaurants do not have to utilize them just for menus. They can display all sorts of messages on the digital screens – like daily specials.
Likewise, complete digital walls are the biggest thing in the bar scene right now. Built around LED technology, digital walls can be utilized for menus, marketing, and even showing television broadcasts. They are incredibly versatile, and customers love them. Best of all, an experienced AV company can install a system and get it up and running in less than a day.
Moving outside the confines of the bar or restaurant leads us to another exciting technology: mobile ordering. Bars and restaurants are turning to it as a means of drawing in take-out customers without having to accept orders over the phone. Customers order by way of a website or mobile app.
Mobile ordering is all about convenience. Customers order on their own schedule. They pay right through the ordering system, then stop by the restaurant and pick up their orders at the appointed time. Meanwhile, the restaurant keeps pumping out food without contributing to congestion in the dining room.
These three technologies encapsulate the push for new technology in bars and restaurants. There are others this post could have talked about as well. The fact is that the bar and restaurant scene is changing. Whether or not it is changing for the better is up to customers to decide. For now, though, people seem to be more than happy with what they see. That is encouraging companies like Lunis Systems to continue pressing forward with new ideas.