Where can restaurants serve up tech?

More and more restaurants are using mobile technology like tablets and handhelds to take orders, inventory, and improve the guest experience.  Some of the more advanced technology allows managers to run real time reports on food usage and sales performance without ever having to leave the dining room floor.  A manager that spends more time on the floor can do a better job of making sure his customers are receiving a great experience…which is a good thing.

But many restaurant owners that have been in the business awhile are reluctant to change.  The biggest argument is that restaurants are a human business and customers don’t want to be staring at the back end of a machine when they’re talking to their server.

However, the restaurant business is one that I feel is desperately in need of an upgrade.  Not just so managers can spend more time out of the back office or that servers can keep better track of their tables and orders, but also so these people can spend less time working.  Restaurant peeps are known for pulling long hours so that they can handle all of the tasks that go in to keeping the business in order.  Beyond making the food and serving the guests there are tons of other tasks that need to be done and many restaurants are still doing things old school.  Managers will take inventory by pencil and paper then enter that inventory in to a massive spreadsheet or similar inventory program weekly…sometimes daily.  To me this is only slightly better than using a chisel and stone.

Technology can be a friend as long as you aren’t too reliant on it’s power.  Turning every customer in to a number is probably a bad thing and removing too much of the human interaction definitely is, but improving service accuracy and lowering costs are big benefits.  Especially if it means that a manager can spend less time doing them.

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