Is Your Restaurant Network Serving Up a Frictionless Dining Experience?


Digitization has permeated every single aspect of our lives and like any other brick and mortar model, restaurants are constantly innovating to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape. Competition from carryout, drive-thrus and food delivery is compelling restaurants to re-design the guest experience. According to the NPD Group, customers dined in at restaurants 37% of the time between Jan-Jun 2017, while carryout and drive-thru visits accounted for 39% and 21% of the restaurant transactions, respectively[1]. Delivery made up for 3% of the remaining transactions.[2]


Loyalty is Morphing into Brand Intimacy; Experiences Fuel Emotional Connections

With dine-in guest expectations changing, digital technologies are enabling restaurants to empower guests with more convenience, speed, and control. Instant gratification is a must-have, so is the need for seamless connectivity. According to industry experts at Hospitality Technology, nearly 64% of diners want free Wi-Fi.[3] Guests feel a need to remain connected even when dining-in, alone or in a group. They want to socialize their culinary experience, share pictures and write reviews. They expect instant gratification – in the form of responses, comments, likes, shares, and they expect a reliable Wi-Fi to meet that need. For restaurants, this is one of the most powerful marketing tools. Happy guests, restaurant pictures and exceptional dining attract more guest traffic. Without Wi-Fi, this is a missed opportunity.


A complete digital dining experience comprises the use of technology during the entire dine-in journey. Guests want the ability to make reservations online, receive notifications on wait times, preview menus, place tableside orders using technology, and pay digitally. These capabilities give diners an increased sense of control, which is further enhanced when they also enjoy uninterrupted access to their favorite social media platforms. For restaurants, it results in more efficiency and productivity, making digitization a win-win situation for all.


Suggestions based on guests’ past ordering history, receipt of coupons on their mobile devices, and birthday or anniversary greetings (based on stored customer profiles) create a holistic, personalized experience. Some restaurants have also started providing an augmented reality experience by placing tablets that contain pre-loaded full-scale images of menu items on dining room tables so guests can see the dishes they may want to order.


For 70% of the consumers, visiting the restaurant is a form of entertainment.[4] Gaming, digital table service, live-streaming of concerts and in-house shows, and other entertainment-focused technologies are becoming table-stakes.


A great dine-in experience, especially if it is also personalized and customized, translates into an emotional connection with the guest. Nearly 56% of guests are likely to return to the restaurant that offers them the technology functions and features that they want.[5]


The Tech Revolution is Transforming Restaurant Operations; Dependency on Network is High

Great restaurants not only have food that provides a superb gastronomical experience but also strive for faster and more efficient processes. Efficiency and response time are key to creating exceptional dining, given that “slow service” was ranked as a common complaint by nearly 51% of the respondents in a 2014 Consumer Reports survey.[6] Use of scheduling software to reduce labor costs, virtual reality to onboard new employees, inventory software to optimize stock and minimize food wastage, and automated purchasing tools – improve operational efficiency, while cutting down costs. Cloud-based data and applications eliminate long paper logs, provide instant and real-time reports, and keep the restaurant business lean and healthy. Also, personnel and guest safety systems are based on a cloud model with IP cameras and Internet-connected alarms.


A network outage, even for a few seconds, could mean lost orders in the kitchen or food not being prepared properly because a pre-programmed recipe could not be followed by the staff. It could mean failure to send notifications for kitchen equipment servicing, resulting in staff being unable to fulfill the demand for certain types of dishes. Lost communication also means lost customers who are looking to book a reservation over the phone or check availability over a reservation application. For restaurants that offer delivery options, it means inability to take orders on time and fulfillment issues.


Network outages can have an even more significant impact – tableside orders not being conveyed to kitchens, scheduling gaps resulting in staff shortage, and processing credit cards without real-time payment authorization resulting in costly chargebacks.

How Does Adaptiv | SD-WAN Support Restaurant Digital Goals?

Adaptiv | SD-WAN provides restaurants with a secure and reliable high-speed network that’s professionally managed, allowing restaurants to focus on creating an excellent guest experience instead of worrying about their network. Adaptiv | SD-WAN runs on low-cost internet connections that are locally available and is a cost-effective solution that enables restaurants to embrace digital transformation. In addition, restaurants do not have to wait for weeks or even months for the big carriers to install dedicated access circuits. Adaptiv | SD-WAN installations are done remotely and require minimal onsite IT skills. To find out how SD-WAN helps deliver the Ultimate Dine-In Experience, check out our Restaurant Infographic.


Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to build the restaurant of the future, maintain current market share or save on operational costs, a fully managed Adaptiv | SD-WAN solution can help. Adaptiv Networks partners with numerous brands, helping to revolutionize networks and improve experiences for employees and guests. If your network is holding you back, contact us, to start planning your Restaurant of the Future today!

[1] With carryout and delivery on the rise, restaurants are getting redesigned; Chicago Tribune

[2] With carryout and delivery on the rise, restaurants are getting redesigned; Chicago Tribune

[3] 7th Annual Customer Engagement Technology Study 2019, Hospitality Technology

[4] How Entertainment Technology is Shaping the Restaurant Experience, Technomic Inc.

[5] 7th Annual Customer Engagement Technology Study 2019, Hospitality Technology

[6] https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/08/most-common-restaurant-complaints/index.htm

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