87% of industry restaurant operators, owners and managers believe that technology adoption has been critical for survival throughout the COVID-19 pandemic (Global State of the Hospitality Industry). The unprecedented events of the last 18 months have resulted in massive loss of earnings for the sector merchants are looking for ways to save time and money by increasing order volumes with less human involvement. The pandemic has undoubtedly served as a catalyst for the role of technology & automation to recoup losses with some estimating that the sector has advanced 10 years over the last 18 months.
At the Restaurant & Takeaway Expo in London a key theme was the role that technology can play in the dining experience, whether that is by enabling restaurants to automate repetitive and labour-intensive tasks to reduce staffing costs or introducing more eco-friendly technology-driven strategies to reduce carbon footprint.
Technology has now cemented its place throughout the restaurant ecosystem from bookings through to staff management and effectively leveraging automated systems effectively can make the reservation, ordering, payment, and delivery experience much more streamlined for both the business and the consumer. In term of recovering profits for the sector, improving the customer experience through automation is also likely to result in more orders, higher spending and increased customer advocacy.
The role of technology in the payment experience
Several speakers at the event touched upon the speed at which restaurants and takeaway vendors have adapted their payment strategies to the post-COVID cashless landscape, implementing automated and digital solutions such as browser-based ordering and online payments through Near field communications (NFC) and QR technology. These solutions can be more beneficial than app-based ordering as it removes the need for customers to download a new app to order their food. Digital savvy clientele now expect that a payment should take a matter of seconds and include digital wallet options such as Apple Pay & Google Pay. It is worth noting that the majority of eCommerce shopping carts are abandoned by customers at or just before the checkout stage if they face a complicated checkout process.
Solutions that support seamless payment processing now play a key role in supporting the reinvigoration of this sector. The ability to utilise technology effectively within the payments experience are proven to improve customer conversion rates, particularly when it comes to online payments. From a profitability perspective, some of the most innovative payment processing solutions now provide real-time data about transactions and data analysis, making recommendations for how businesses can use the information to maximise revenues.
Although this industry may have been forced to hastily adapt to a more digital and cashless society, this rapid evolution has provided a unique opportunity to streamline business operations and build new strategies which effectively leverage the latest technologies. Generally speaking, those businesses that adapted and embraced the new payments tech have tended to thrive more than those that didn’t during COVID.
As the restaurant and takeaway sector continues its digital evolution, solutions that provide rapid, secure and seamless customer experiences will help future-proof the businesses who utilise them effectively. If many of the cutting-edge products which were on display at the Restaurant & Takeaway Expo become widely used within the sector, the world will be a very different place when you go to eat out or order in.