Blog / February 28, 2023
How Automation in Restaurants is Improving Hospitality
While some industry veterans fear that automation in restaurants will replace hospitality, automation is actually helping restaurants improve the customer experience by creating efficiencies, combatting pandemic-induced labor shortages and cutting costs.
In this article, we’re doing a deep dive into how automation can improve hospitality in the restaurant industry, the different types of automation solutions available and examples of restaurants implementing them.
Benefits of Automation in the Restaurant Industry
Letting technology take care of repetitive tasks can help restaurants by:
- Improving the customer experience through consistency. With automation in the front of the house (FOH) and back of the house (BOH), you’ll create a more consistent experience in the level of service you provide, the dishes you serve, your concept and more. For example, kitchen automations, such as a kitchen display system that integrates with your POS, ensure all dishes get routed to the correct stations, while marketing automation helps restaurant owners reach customers more regularly.
- Saving time. Tech can do mindless tasks that don’t require the human touch more quickly than people can. For example, BOH staff won’t need to count inventory as often if they have access to inventory management software, which automatically counts inventory levels as orders are placed into the POS.
- Reducing costs. Time savings translate to monetary savings because you can get the same amount of work done with less strain on your payroll. For example, if you have automated reservation reminders, staff don’t need to manually confirm reservations by calling guests.
Types of Automation Solutions in Restaurants
Consider implementing these automation features at your restaurant to maximize productivity and keep guests coming back for more.
Front-of-House Restaurant Automations
CRM and Guest Profiles
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are critical to modern restaurants. CRMs gather data about your customers, such as how often they visit and what they order, and can organize that data via guest profiles.
Guest profiles fill staff in on who’s coming to your restaurant and their preferences. Instead of servers having to manually add details like a guest’s wine preference or favorite dish, which would be prohibitively time-consuming, auto-tags automatically add this data to profiles. With all this data at their fingertips, your FOH team is better equipped to deliver a more personalized experience to each guest.
Take inspiration from the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, which leverages SevenRooms’ auto-tag capabilities at its food and beverage (F&B) outlets to let robust guest profiles build themselves. Thanks to auto-tags, teams across the property have insights into guests’ special occasions, dietary preferences and spend history. The F&B teams have the information they need to surpass guests’ expectations. Read the full case study to learn more.
Automated Reservation Reminders
Instead of your host calling guests to remind them of an upcoming reservation, a reservations platform can automatically send a confirmation email and follow up with a reminder email or SMS before the visit. Guests can respond to the text to confirm or cancel. This automation saves time and reduces no-shows.
Optimizing table seating assignments can make a big difference in profits, but it’s unrealistic to spend time during a busy shift figuring out the best table for each party. However, AI-powered table management solutions sort through tens of thousands of seating combinations each second to select the most revenue-generating table for each party.
Mina Group, originally founded by Chef Michael Mina, turned to SevenRooms when they needed a platform that could optimize every step of the guest journey. After implementing SevenRooms’ AI-driven table management tool, nightly services became smoother throughout the portfolio and host teams had more time to connect with guests. Read the case study for more details.
Automated upselling prompts, modifiers and upgrades for online orders and reservations help you boost your check average without lifting a finger. For example, by adding upsell options to your reservation widget, you could drive incremental revenue by allowing guests to choose premium dishes, drink specials and bottles of wine for their reservation.
FYI: Commission-free, direct online ordering platforms save you money on third-party app fees.
Another automation feature you could add to your reservation page is to cross-promote your other properties. If tables are booked at a restaurant that guests are interested in, your reservations platform could automatically suggest an open table at a sister property to keep the revenue in the family.
In an effort to increase cover counts and begin accepting table reservations in its beer garden for the first time, Flat Iron Square, a multi-venue food and entertainment destination in London, turned to SevenRooms. By cross-promoting its sister venue, St. Felix Place, via SevenRooms’ reservations solution, the property saw 3,000 additional booking requests in one day. Check out the case study to learn more.
Back-of-House Restaurant Automations
Delivery & Pickup Updates
Online ordering software can automatically give delivery and pickup customers real-time updates about their orders. This saves your restaurant time and money because you don’t need your staff constantly working the phones to answer questions about delivery times.
Kitchen Display System Integration
Instead of using printed tickets to communicate orders between the front of the house and the back of the house, a kitchen display system (KDS) sends digital tickets from the POS (for both in-venue and off-premises orders) to the right kitchen station, which creates seamless restaurant operations.
Inventory management solutions activate low-stock notifications when you’ve reached your reorder point. Your team can spend less time counting inventory because it’s automatically deducted whenever an order is placed. Some systems even place replenishment orders for you.
Sales & Marketing Automations in Restaurants
Automated Feedback Collection
Rather than waiting for guests to leave reviews on Yelp, email them a survey to ask them what they thought of their dining experience. Marketing automation software can help you collect feedback at scale by automatically sending guests a survey after a dine-in meal or takeout order.
Seeking a single technology partner that could provide a unified view of its guests and a better understanding of their relationship with the brand, the team at Brotzeit, a chain of German restaurants in Singapore, turned to SevenRooms. Now Brotzeit uses SevenRooms to send every guest a post-meal feedback survey, automating what had previously been a painstaking manual process and providing greater visibility into guest sentiment. Read the full case study for more details.
Marketing Automations for Restaurants
Restaurants need to market to their customers consistently, but doing so can be a full-time job. Instead of reaching out manually and individually, set up automated email marketing campaigns to engage customers at scale. SevenRooms has a library of pre-built email journeys to encourage guests to come back after a long pause or celebrate a special occasion with you.
Entering the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Altamarea Group wanted a solution that could bolster business. The team implemented SevenRooms to send hyper-personalized, automated marketing emails to guests at Marea, the group’s Michelin-starred flagship. By doing so they have saved countless hours and generated $400,000 in additional revenue in one year. Get the full scoop by reading the case study.
Online Review Digests
Stay on top of public sentiment with a review aggregator, which automatically sends you a daily digest of reviews of your restaurant on sites like TripAdvisor, Google and Yelp. This restaurant automation helps you quickly sift through reviews that need follow-up.
Automation is Augmenting Hospitality in Restaurants
Automation is usually equated with robots taking over and removing humanity from the hospitality equation. However, automation in restaurants augments what humans can do and helps them provide a more elevated level of service that would otherwise be unattainable.
Equip your restaurant with SevenRooms and elevate your hospitality. Book a demo today.
Automation in Restaurants FAQs
1. Why is Automation a Current Trend in Restaurants?
With a labor shortage running rampant and labor costs rising, automation is popular in restaurants because it helps them do more with less, without compromising quality or hospitality.
2. Will Restaurant Servers be Automated?
From self-ordering kiosks to contactless mobile order and pay and QR code technology, some aspects of restaurant service are being automated. This automation helps free up front-of-house staff to do things that require the human touch, like building better relationships with guests.