The Internet of Things (IoT) has promised to make radical changes to the way the world operates, everything from connecting your shoes to the Internet to personal alarm clocks synced with traffic apps. In restaurants, the IoT developments have already begun making changes to the employee and customer experience, and many more changes are on the horizon. This exciting technology is creating a level of connectivity that will improve monitoring, logging, communication, and efficiency in many sectors of the food service industry.
What is The IOT? – If you don’t know much about the IOT, not to worry. It may sound futuristic, but at its core, it’s just a network of connected devices. Many physical devices and everyday objects that you use on a regular basis contain embedded technology that allows them to connect to the internet. These devices can interact with each other and transmit large volumes of data to cloud-based applications where they communicate, analyze, and make decisions without human intervention.
The Customer Experience
Improving Speed of Service – The IoT has pushed major chains to take profound steps to improve the customer experience. These companies, already known for efficiency, have found even faster ways to deliver food. Dominos, McDonald’s, and Pizza Hut have online and linked systems where customers can order, pay and receive their food without the assistance of a human being. Free from preparing the food, employees could be tasked in other ways to make the customer experience more enjoyable. And if your restaurant is using now ubiquitous online ordering apps, you’ve already walked into the world of the IoT. This real-time delivery lets customers track every detail of their order and anticipate its arrival.
Mobile Apps and Tracking Tools – Restaurants are expanding access to mobile, too. IHOP has recently partnered with Google to allow customers to place mobile orders via Google Assistant or Google Home. If a customer wants to dine out instead, some restaurants employ a cloud-based tool to make orders and pay the bill at their table. This speeds up the time customers have to wait, either to receive their meal or in the check-out process.
The Future of Customer Experience – If you’ve already used these services, you may be wondering what’s next? For clientele, it means a more custom dining experience. Improving convenience and anticipating clients’ needs will take customer experience strategies to the next level. Imagine using the IOT to connect to a customer’s mobile device when they enter the restaurant and automatically pulling up their order history. This technology can improve the ordering process and help restaurants create a feeling of familiarity for their clients.
The Management Experience
Employee Management – Restaurants are busy operations and it’s important to understand where your employees are during any given moment. The IOT can improve operations management by seamlessly connecting managers and employees via mobile devices. The IoT connected restaurant could send out reminder notices to employees for scheduling updates, payroll reminders, and more. Larger restaurant chains can even manage employees remotely with geo-locating technology.
Improving Inventory Management – Inventory management is a crucial and time-consuming process. The IOT can automate many facets of this process, saving significant time and effort. Specialized Circuit boards connected to the IOT could track kitchen supplies and refill them on the spot. The system will calculate inventory and send the analysis to managers for review. If you own multiple franchises, the IoT could compare this data from one restaurant to another in real time.
Managing Food Safety Practices – The IOT has the ability to automate and assist with monitoring food safety in restaurants. IoT connected temperature sensors could be placed throughout food storage areas to monitor and record temperature readings. A food safety/task management system, according to Partech, would take HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) required food safety temperature measures, and provide “unprecedented visibility and traceability for an end-to-end food safety strategy” for restaurants. The information this system administers could constantly collect data in the cloud, available on the Internet. Managers would receive SMS alerts if temperature measurements fall outside of predetermined limits so they can take immediate action.
The Internet of Things will fully connect the restaurants of tomorrow. Whether it’s mobile connectivity or inventory management, the data generated by IoT will dramatically alter dining for a more tailored customer experience. Are you ready for it?
Restaurant Magic Software has been providing advanced software solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. The robust Data Central Management Suite, the flagship product, is a powerful and flexible application that takes advantage of the latest technology trends to offer premier processing and analytics. With advanced forecasting, predictive scheduling and mobile technologies, Data Central has something for every problem. To learn more about Restaurant Magic Software and its products, call us at 1(800) 933-4711 or visit the website at RestaurantMagic.com.