Love it or hate it, the vast reach of technology and its effect on the food service industry, is here to stay and is ever-evolving. Even though the mad fad of creating insane “Instagrammable” dishes has somewhat faded, social media, online reservations, review sites and home delivery platforms have all emerged recently to change the face of dining worldwide.
The temptation is to take an ‘ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away’ position and keep conducting business as usual or viewing it as a necessary evil worthy of minimal effort. Savvy operators, however, have embraced the change, and are creatively exploiting the raft of technologies, making it work for them in solving real business problems.
The likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been around for a few years now and have seen many venues jump on board with varying success. However, if used right, it can help operators take control of their own narrative and engage with diners like never before. Beyond announcing menu changes, special offers and mouth-watering food images, social posts can educate, inspire and encourage more walk-ins.
Online reservations and reviews
The rise of online table reservation sites such as Zomato, Dimmi and OpenTable have changed how diners choose where to eat, often based on a score out of 5. The convenience of locating somewhere new and securing a table with a few clicks on the way out the door, is something that once embraced, can result in real business benefits.
Home delivery apps
Delivery apps have seen some negative press due to the added pressure at peak times, food being out of chef’s control once it leaves the kitchen on the back of a bike, all while that precious margin gets squeezed for the privilege.
Source: Australian food news
Delivery services recorded $1.5 billion worth of orders in Australia last year, and is set to hit $4.2 billion by 2025, according to a Morgan Stanley report. While overseas delivery systems, such as Foodora, left under a cloud, new local operators, like Yello, are looking to fill the gap. Local restaurants signed to the Deliveroo app should benefit as it is set to open its second “dark kitchen” in Australia, spending $2.2 million on the fit-out within the Veriu Broadway in Sydney’s Ultimo. Deliveroo already has a dark kitchen in Melbourne’s Windsor hotel, which opened in November 2017 and is growing fast in New Zealand as well.
Sure, technology has added a complicated facet to doing business, but with the right approach, great things can happen. Take a look at our article 'Tips to get the most of technology for your food business' for some ways of navigating the tech minefield, and make it work for, not against your bottom line.