5 Ways Technology is Transforming Customer Service in Restaurants and Pubs

Jamie Norman
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Technology is everywhere, and it’s changing how restaurants and pubs work. It’s not just about cooking tasty food or pouring drinks anymore. Technology is making things faster and better for everyone, from the people who run these places to the customers who enjoy them. Think about how we use our phones for almost everything. Now, imagine that kind of convenience when you go out to eat or grab a drink with friends.

Technology is a big deal in the restaurant and pub world because it helps in so many ways. For example, it can make ordering food easier, keep track of what needs to be done in the kitchen, and even help make sure everyone is safe by following health rules. And that’s just the start. Customers today want quick, friendly service, and they like it when technology makes their visit smoother and more fun.

Let's take a look into five ways technology is doing just that - changing customer service for the better in restaurants and pubs. From making ordering food a breeze to keeping in touch with customers, technology is at the heart of some cool improvements in how we enjoy our favorite places.

Ordering Made Easy

Imagine walking into your preferred pub on a busy Friday night. The place is packed, the atmosphere is vibrant, but instead of waving frantically to catch a waiter's attention, you simply pull out your smartphone. With a few taps on the screen, you've browsed the menu, made your selections, and sent your order straight to the kitchen. This isn't a glimpse into the future; it's happening right now, thanks to digital ordering systems.

Digital menus and apps have become a game-changer for the hospitality industry. They allow customers to explore a wide range of dishes and drinks at their own pace, without feeling rushed. Descriptions, ingredients, and even calorie counts are readily available, making it easier for diners with dietary restrictions or allergies to make informed choices. This level of detail enriches the customer's experience, making dining out a more personalized and satisfying experience.

But the benefits don't end there. Digital ordering significantly reduces the chances of order mistakes—a common issue when dealing with noisy environments or complex orders. By sending orders directly to the kitchen, the communication is clear, leaving less room for error and ensuring that customers receive exactly what they want. This efficiency not only improves customer satisfaction but also helps kitchens manage their workload more effectively, leading to faster service times.

Payments have also been streamlined through these digital systems. The awkward dance of splitting the bill or the wait for a card machine is replaced by instant, secure transactions. Customers can pay for their meals with a few taps on their devices, choose to split the bill amongst friends without any hassle, and leave a tip with ease. This convenience adds to the overall dining experience, making it smoother and more enjoyable.

The impact of digital ordering extends beyond individual customer satisfaction. It offers valuable data insights to restaurant and pub owners. By analyzing order trends, popular dishes, peak times, and customer preferences, businesses can tailor their offerings more precisely. This data-driven approach allows for menu optimization, better stock management, and targeted marketing strategies, ultimately leading to increased profitability and customer loyalty.

Moreover, in today's health-conscious world, digital ordering provides an additional layer of safety by minimizing physical contact. In the wake of health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, this feature has become indispensable. It allows businesses to continue serving their customers while adhering to social distancing guidelines, ensuring the well-being of both staff and diners.

As more businesses adopt these systems, the way we think about ordering food and drinks is forever changed, setting a new standard for customer service in the hospitality industry. The next time you find yourself in a restaurant or pub, take a moment to appreciate this technological advancement that has made enjoying your favorite meals easier than ever before.

Staying Connected

Establishments are now harnessing the power of apps and social media to create a bridge between them and their customers, transforming the traditional dining experience into something more personalized and engaging.

One of the most noticeable changes is how restaurants and pubs use social media platforms to communicate with their patrons. It's no longer just about posting mouth-watering photos of dishes or announcing events. Many places now offer the ability to make reservations directly through social media, provide exclusive updates, and even host live sessions to share cooking tips, behind-the-scenes looks, or host Q&A sessions. This direct line of communication fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty among customers, making them feel more connected to their favorite spots.

Apps are another game-changer in the hospitality industry, offering a plethora of functionalities tailored to enhance the customer experience. From loyalty programs that reward frequent visits with discounts and freebies to personalized recommendations based on past orders, these apps are making every visit more tailored to individual preferences. Imagine opening an app to find a special offer just for you, on your favorite dish, or being the first to know when a new beer arrives at your local pub. This level of personalization not only delights customers but also encourages repeat business.

Moreover, these digital platforms provide valuable feedback channels for customers. Whether it's a rave review or constructive criticism, customers can easily share their experiences directly with the establishment. This instant feedback loop allows restaurants and pubs to quickly address any issues and continuously improve their service. It's a win-win situation: businesses get real-time insights into their performance, and customers feel heard and valued.

The interactive features of apps and social media also play a significant role in enhancing customer service. Features like chatbots can provide instant answers to common questions, reserve tables, or even take orders. This immediacy and convenience are what modern customers have come to expect in all areas of their lives, including dining out.

Furthermore, technology enables restaurants and pubs to keep their customers informed and engaged even when they're not physically present. Through newsletters, push notifications, and social media posts, businesses can keep their audience updated on the latest health and safety measures, menu changes, and upcoming events. This constant stream of communication keeps the brand top-of-mind and encourages customers to return, knowing they'll always be welcomed with something new and exciting.

Quick Payments

The evolution of payment technology has revolutionized the way customers settle their bills in restaurants and pubs, making the process quicker, easier, and more secure than ever before. This leap forward is not just about convenience; it's about enhancing the overall dining experience by removing one of the traditional pain points – the wait for the bill. With today's technology, the moment of payment becomes almost seamless, allowing customers to focus on enjoying their time without worrying about how they'll pay when they're done.

One of the most significant advancements in this area is the rise of contactless payments. Tap-and-go cards and mobile payment apps like Apple Pay or Google Wallet have become the norm, enabling customers to pay for their meals with just a wave of their phone or card. This method is not only faster but also reduces the physical contact needed to complete a transaction – a benefit that has become particularly appreciated in recent times.

For groups, the introduction of bill-splitting apps and features within restaurant-specific apps has taken the awkwardness and hassle out of dividing the cost of a meal. No more back-of-the-napkin math or uneven contributions; these tools calculate who owes what and allow each person to pay their share directly through their phone. This technological solution simplifies what was once a complex process, making group dining a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Moreover, digital payment solutions offer enhanced security features that protect customers' financial information. Encryption and tokenization ensure that card details are not stored or handled by the restaurant, reducing the risk of fraud. Customers can dine with the assurance that their payment is not only quick but also safe.

The integration of payment technology into restaurant management systems has also streamlined operations, allowing for a smoother flow of service. Servers can process payments tableside with portable card readers or even through mobile devices, eliminating the need for customers to visit a cashier or wait for a server to return with a card machine. This efficiency not only improves the customer experience but also frees up staff to focus on providing better service elsewhere.

Furthermore, digital receipts offer another layer of convenience and security. Customers can choose to receive their receipts via email or directly within the app, making it easier to keep track of spending and ensure that all transactions are accounted for without the need for paper slips that are easily lost or discarded.

Instant Feedback

This shift towards instant feedback mechanisms allows businesses to quickly gauge customer satisfaction, address concerns, and continuously improve the dining experience. It's a dynamic that not only benefits the establishments by providing real-time insights but also empowers customers, giving them a voice that can directly influence the quality of service and offerings.

Gone are the days when customer feedback was collected through comment cards placed on tables, only to be reviewed days or weeks later. Today, digital platforms enable customers to leave feedback at the touch of a button, sometimes even before they've left the table. QR codes on receipts or table tents can direct diners to a short survey, allowing them to rate their experience, leave comments, and suggest improvements. This immediate response system ensures that feedback is fresh and relevant, giving restaurants and pubs the opportunity to make quick adjustments.

Social media has also become a critical channel for instant feedback. Customers often turn to platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to share their experiences, both positive and negative. While this public form of feedback can be daunting for businesses, it also offers a valuable opportunity for engagement. Responding promptly to comments and reviews demonstrates a commitment to customer service and can often turn a negative review into a positive experience for both the reviewer and potential customers reading the exchange.

Furthermore, technology has enabled the automation of feedback collection and analysis. Advanced software can aggregate customer feedback from various sources, including surveys, social media, and online reviews, providing businesses with a comprehensive view of their performance. This data can be used to identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and even reward staff for exceptional service, all contributing to a culture of continuous improvement.

The impact of instant feedback extends beyond immediate operational changes; it also influences long-term strategic decisions. Insights gathered from customer feedback can guide menu development, service style adjustments, and even decor updates. By keeping a finger on the pulse of customer preferences, restaurants and pubs can stay ahead of trends and maintain relevance in a competitive market.

Safety Innovations

Technology has revolutionized safety standards in restaurants and pubs, making it easier to protect both customers and staff. This shift is vital because safety, especially food safety and cleanliness, has always been important. But now, with technology, businesses can do even more to ensure everyone's safety without sacrificing convenience or the dining experience.

First, digital health and safety systems allow for better tracking and management of cleanliness and food safety procedures. Instead of relying on manual checklists and paper records, restaurants and pubs can use digital platforms to schedule, monitor, and verify cleaning tasks. This ensures that all areas, especially high-touch points, are regularly sanitized. It also helps with food safety, as kitchens can track temperatures and storage conditions in real-time, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Moreover, technology plays a crucial role in training staff on safety protocols. With online training modules, employees can learn about the latest safety standards and practices at their own pace, ensuring they are well-informed and equipped to maintain a safe environment. This is especially important when new regulations are introduced or when refresher courses are needed.

Technology also helps in managing customer flow and maintaining social distancing measures. Through reservation systems and digital queueing apps, restaurants can control the number of people inside at any given time. This not only helps in adhering to capacity regulations but also enhances the customer experience by reducing wait times and crowding.

Additionally, contactless service options have gained popularity as a safety measure. From menus accessed via QR codes to contactless ordering and payment systems, these innovations minimize physical contact and promote a safer dining environment. Customers can enjoy their meals with peace of mind, knowing that the risk of transmission is being actively managed.

Finally, technology aids in compliance with health regulations through automated record-keeping and reporting. Digital logs of cleaning schedules, staff health checks, and incident reports ensure that restaurants and pubs can easily provide evidence of compliance during inspections. This not only helps in avoiding penalties but also builds trust with customers who are increasingly concerned about health and safety standards.

In conclusion, technology has become an indispensable tool in enhancing safety in the hospitality industry. By automating and improving the management of safety protocols, restaurants and pubs can offer a cleaner, safer environment for everyone. This commitment to safety, powered by technological innovations, not only meets the immediate needs of a post-pandemic world but also sets a new standard for the future of dining. As we move forward, the integration of technology in safety practices will continue to evolve, ensuring that the hospitality industry remains a welcoming space for all.

Share this post