The continuing advancement of technology is forever impacting the world we live in. If you disagree with this statement, think about how long it's been since you last checked your mobile phone for messages, browsed your Instagram feed, or searched for something 'near me.'
Yeah. We thought so.
Technology has trickled down to every sector imaginable. From robots, or rather Doughbots[i], preparing pizzas in California's Bay Area to restaurant ghost kitchens or 'cloud kitchens[ii]' replacing traditional brick and mortar restaurants, even the food and beverage industry is taking advantage of every new advancement.
Technology has been proven to improve the customer experience and business efficiency at CarniStore, an online butchery and smokehouse based in Dubai's Al Quoz area. Online tools allow consumers to view CarniStore's menu from anywhere and either place an order, so it's either ready for pickup when they are, or waiting on their doorstep after a hard day at the office.
In seconds, our customers can read our reviews, see product photos, view our range of products, and even order online.
— Dan Wanies, Co-Owner of CarniStore
"While this might not be ground-breaking for huge chains like Pizza Hut or Taco Bell, I'm incredibly grateful that Google has leveled the playing field for us independent owners." But, as Wanies explains, it comes at a cost.
With CarniStore's success comes what he has termed: strategic sabotage. "Competitors are creating bogus accounts and intentionally leaving us 1-star reviews on Google which falsely lowers our ratings," Wanies says.
Although Google cannot automatically nab the perpetrators behind violations of this kind, restaurant owners can track and make a case for reviews that go against Google guidelines. "Sometimes I can't appeal, so I beat them at their own game. If I respond to an obviously fake, negative review by offering a heartfelt apology and a100% refund, not only will those responsible be exposed because they are unable to take advantage of our generosity, but others will see how awesome our customer service is. It turns into a win for us."
We tend to agree. Everyone in the F&B industry knows even the best venues in the world aren't perfect, and you don't need a Google 5-star rating for customer purchase probability.
If you own a bar or a restaurant in Dubai, or if you are thinking you might want to open one, here are three MUST HAVE technology tips you need to include at your venue to satisfy your customers and, in some cases, increase your profits. And - as an added bonus - some are even helping venues recover from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 and early 2021.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that Social Media channels are one of the easiest ways to boost customer engagement.
Sharing or responding to user-generated content tagged on social media is a quick and easy way to express gratitude towards a customer's visit, and it’s a quick and easy way to make them feel extra special. And, updating your venue profile to include timings, daily specials, and links to menus and photos help make your brand easily accessible to all.
Ensuring your social media profile is kept current also boosts your mobile strategy since users can easily search and view Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profiles on their mobile phones.
And as we've learned, online networking has gone mainstream as a way for customers to address any issues or concerns. As long as venues maintain an active social media presence, bars and restaurants can quickly respond to any situation or complaint and quash them in near real-time.
Now is the time to arm your servers with POS gadgets like cell phones and tablets.
Not only does it improve order-taking efficiency and order accuracy, but it helps you skip the middleman. Instead of rekeying orders into a bar or restaurant POS terminal, orders are immediately transferred to the kitchen. What better way to help speed up service while reducing the likelihood of slip-ups?
Reservation Management Systems
With the right reservation management system, control of the booking framework can be yours! Reservations made online or via mobile phones can be captured by bars and restaurants in one place and simultaneously.
All table assignments can be administered and supervised based on the captured reservations. This ensures guests are seated promptly, which demonstrates expediency to both the customers who secured reservations and to your walk-in guests as well. Equipped with a real-time view of reserved tables, exact wait times can be determined easily. Unusually long or misrepresented wait times become a thing of the past, along with one of the main reasons potential income turns around and walks right out the door.
2021 is the year to get tech-savvy! Use these tips to help enhance your bottom line and put a smile on your customers’ faces.
[i] Loria, Keith. Robots Find a Home in the Restaurant Industry – Here is What’s Next, UpServe, 14 June 2020, https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/the-future-is-now-how-robots-are-used-in-the-food-service-industry/, accessed 01 July 2021.
[ii] Biscotti, Louis. Food and Beverage Industry Develop a Taste for Tech, Forbes, 14 October 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisbiscotti/2020/10/14/food-and-beverage-industry-develops-a-taste-for-tech/?sh=11236e1218bc, accessed 01 July 2021.
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PO Box 393942, Dubai, UAE