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As the economy continues its post-pandemic rebound, we see several industries re-evaluating their business plans and working to adjust to evolving market demands. The restaurant industry has suffered significant labor turnover. According to the leading trade organization, the National Restaurant Association, 85 percent of business owners report their restaurant is less profitable than before the pandemic, and only 6 percent report that it is more profitable. Coupled with sharp increases in cost of ingredients and supplies, the industry remains in a quandary.
Automation can be utilized to offset labor turnover and optimize workflow. Software engineers continue developing automation resources to alleviate staffing challenges and, when applied to the restaurant industry, can be a viable solution for its struggles. Additional enhancements can further modernize the industry and mitigate current revenue losses.
Software-based innovations drive businesses, and the restaurant industry is no exception. With continued short staffing, rising expenses, and reduced profits, utilizing tech-based innovations in automation offer refreshing ideas to address industry challenges. Automation enables the reduction of routine tasks, and staffing issues can facilitate restaurant personnel to reprioritize tasks based on urgency and need.
Automation tech designed by software specialists can be implemented to complete multiple tasks, making this a versatile enhancement. The most common deployment has been for the customer ordering process, where virtual assistants via kiosks interact with customers via touch-screen to process orders. This expedites ordering and reduces potential service bottlenecks attributed to short staffing.
Increasing supply and ingredients costs have prompted restaurant owners to seek remedies that maximize supply longevity and ensure quality ingredients can be obtained at cost-effective prices. Software experts have refined Artificial Intelligence by broadening its functionality and applications. Fresh food ingredients are costly to replace, but new AI enhancements power sensors to accurately monitor temperature, texture, and weight to compile reports indicating optimal times to use fresh food. This innovation modernizes the expiration date concept and enables restaurant owners to make informed decisions, making it an invaluable, cost-saving measure.
Great strides have been made by software developers to enhance robotics. Today’s robots have been designed to evolve past basic commands and are programmed to complete tasks with unprecedented efficiency and accuracy. Recent trends have seen an uptick in restaurants implementing robots to complete routine tasks, such as flipping meat or cooking basic side dishes. Artificial intelligence is deployed to program robotics to recognize the food they’re preparing or cooking and automatically adjust to the task at hand.
If a restaurant is operating during peak business hours, robotics can be deployed to expedite rudimentary preparation tasks, enabling owners to reprioritize staffing duties to focus exclusively on customer service.
Optimized robotics have limitless potential and when deployed within restaurants their versatility is fully realized. Robotics are not exclusively limited to back of the house duties. Business owners can use robotics and automation tech to greet diners, take reservations, and even seat customers.
Restaurants can utilize robotics for off-site delivery services, either augmenting their delivery staff or redirecting existing staff for other duties while working to deploy robotic resources to fully complete delivery tasks. A college university has announced plans to expand its use of automated rovers for campus food deliveries and if this plan proves successful, perhaps restaurants can follow suit.
Robotics may not prove to be the most inexpensive resource but the rise of Robots-as-a-Service(RaaS), a monthly or annual rental or subscription service enables a restaurant to gain experience with the technology and learn if it’s the correct solution for their needs. This service is implemented via contractual service level agreement, commonly referred to as SLA. The business model, in practice is implemented like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The RaaS providers complete all programming and will work with clients on how to assign tasks and deploy robots.
RaaS is growing in popularity because it follows the established business model of SaaS and gives businesses, no matter the size, the ability to utilize cutting-edge technology with customized budget plans.
During the height of the global pandemic, the contact-less food delivery business model exploded. The sharp increase in online food ordering and delivery models is driven by software developers creating user-friendly apps that also serve restaurants by aggregating data to complete reports indicating what food options generate the most revenue and which
The global food delivery business model is showing no signs of slowing down. Food industry trade publication Food Delivery News reported online food ordering and delivery sector revenue are forecasted to grow to $200 billion by 2025. Automation tech can further streamline the process, enabling restaurants to further capitalize on the trend by enhancing the end-user experience while utilizing software tech to automate the entire process; customer ordering, food preparation, and delivery.
These software-based innovations are not designed to replace the human element of labor but to augment it, providing critical support that can be used to streamline processes, reduce expenses, and grow revenue.
Automation’s versatility can be applied to multiple facets of the restaurant industry. The entire customer ordering process can be streamlined via kiosks that may utilize interactive touch screens to enable a diner to fully customize their order. At the same time, the restaurant can reduce expenses by dedicating staff to more challenging tasks. Contactless payments and ordering rose to prominence during the pandemic, but these features continue to be implemented to facilitate convenience.
Restaurant365, a prominent industry management platform, reported an uptick in food sales but concluded profitability remains low due to inflation, increased costs of ingredients, and rising supply chain costs of goods. Software experts continue developing resources that can prove invaluable to an industry still seeing slow profit returns post-pandemic.
Restaurant robotics may not be an inexpensive option. Still, RaaS offers a unique opportunity for businesses to utilize tech resources on a rental basis, enabling a business to utilize emerging technology on a budget. With RaaS providers completing all programming and training, this reduces time spent on becoming familiar with the technology and can also be deployed by software specialists to ultimately optimize a business seeking resources and answers to costly challenges.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
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