According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry generates more than $800 billion in annual worldwide revenue. And restaurants today are driving serious growth by leveraging technology. The battle to earn a greater share of consumer dollars is more competitive than ever; and there is more pressure on restaurants to keep up with the evolving technology of food service. 

Keeping up, though, is no easy feat: 32 percent of restaurant operators consider their technology operations lagging. As the industry develops and matures, technology is at the center of so many of the most successful growth strategies because it empowers the restaurants to do more than ever before.

Need a good reason to adopt meaningful technology in your restaurant? Here are three great reasons why every restaurant should be hopping on the tech train in 2019:

The World Itself has Become Much More Technologically Reliant

If 32 percent of all restaurants are in fact lagging behind technologically, countless many more exist in the purgatory between lagging behind and truly driving change. The world has become much more reliant on technology, and forward thinking restaurants  have found ways to drive engagement in this newer, more digital world; they’ve learned how to monetize guests with easier take out and delivery, with app notifications to drive engagement and with loyalty programs to create more frequent repeat business. 

Technology is at the center of so many of the most successful growth strategies because it empowers the restaurants to do more than ever before.

Yet, those restaurants towards the middle and back of the technology adoption curve may not even realize what they are missing out on. They look at their eight to 12 percent annual growth, and think they are doing ok. But, for those restaurants investing heavily in technology, in online ordering, in apps, in better utilization of marketing data, and in delivery, those growth figures can be more like 80 to 120 percent, with that growth being able to be leveraged in the future. 

Customers today are used to taking the world into their own hands. Whether in kiosks, mobile apps, or elsewhere in food service, customers understand the value of technology to empower them to take control of what they really want. Strong digital programs and technologies don’t deter customers, but actually support both topline and bottom-line growth.

Restaurants today can increase not only net new orders but can also better optimize existing customer marketing efforts to deliver higher checks, to order more menu item add-ons, particularly more profitable ones, to increase their order sizes 10 to 20 percent, to incentive action and to drive more frequent digital orders in general. 

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There’s an Opportunity Cost to Skipping the Digital Trend

Think of a single customer’s entire spend on restaurants as a pie chart, and each restaurant’s percentage of that spend as wallet share. Every customer divvies out a share of his or her restaurant spending with each purchase; they might frequent two or three different burger places, a handful of pizza options, some fast casuals and other restaurants. Those restaurants that get the most from the customer have the highest shares. The fact about wallet share is this: your direct competitors are trying to increase theirs by talking to customers, pinging them with app-driven updates and smart retargeted ads. For many brands, the absence of a plan is their plan; to cede wallet share to the competitors who better understand how to turn marketing dollars into customer action. 

Together, these efforts can greatly increase a brands wallet share across their entire consumer base. For those restaurants who can use tech to get customers in and out faster, or better facilitate online orders and delivery, or to drive push notifications, the opportunity exists to not only get more guests and get more orders more ways, but also to drive greater loyalty and brand awareness, to be a more convenient choice, to showcase the latest products and services, and to give exactly the right guest the offers they want and need at exactly the right time.

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Improved Profitability with Personalization 

The results are in: guests love the personalized touches that digital platforms can help facilitate. Dining is an intensely personal experience. Guests are loyal to the restaurants and orders they love. As more people order meals online and through mobile apps, the data from those digital efforts suggests that consumers react positively to hyper-personalization in marketing efforts.

Bonus Point: Retain Your People with Savvy Tech Choices

Customers appreciate conveniences like one click reordering favorite orders, and respond well to rewards programs, limited time offers, and push notifications built to incentive behaviors. Personalization is not only a touch that makes marketing efforts more familiar, but one that can take a quarterly customer and turn them into a monthly customer, or a monthly customer into a weekly regular. 

It’s no secret to any restaurant manager: the staff churn is real. With better technology, restaurants can slow some of that labor loss, and deploy your labor assets more productively. By offloading low level jobs to technology, those same staff members are free to work on more purpose-driven work in the restaurant. Take for example counter service. No matter how much staff are paid for their efforts in taking orders and payments, it’s a bit of a thankless job. Replace those staff with kiosks and mobile ordering however, and the same employees can be given a more beneficial job in the back of house, reducing their churn and providing them with a more meaningful career path. 

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