Many people fear the word “technology”. I know I used to (and admittedly sometimes still do), and here I am working for a software technology company. Bizzare, right?
The connotation of “technology” used to mean “complicated” and still does to many. However, maybe it isn’t the actual word that scares us, but the fear of an unfamiliar change in process. Take the washer and dryer, for example. It’s a lot simpler and easier to use a washer and dryer than scrubbing clothes on a washboard and pinning them up on a line to dry. What about Microsoft Outlook Contacts? It’s a lot more efficient than using a Rolodex. Technology companies have also realized that in order to sell their products, it needs to be simple, efficient, and user-friendly. Even the new smart phones sold today are a lot easier and user-friendly than the smart phones sold just a few years ago. My six year old can pick up my phone and figure out how to use it faster than I can. That is because I have a mindset like many that it’s got to be harder than it is, when my six year old has no preconceived notions about it.
The restaurant industry, which has historically been slow to adopt technology, is now beginning to accelerate their technology adoption rate. Why? First, restaurants are realizing that technology can help them compete with other businesses. For example, just the other day my husband and I decided to stop at a restaurant for lunch before heading to our daughter’s dance recital. We were running a bit late and were concerned we wouldn’t have time to eat. I then remembered a restaurant nearby that had the technology to order online through my smartphone (thank goodness for smartphone technology). As my husband was driving, I ordered our lunch online and by the time we got to the restaurant, our food was ready. We made the recital in plenty of time. The reason I chose that particular restaurant was specifically due to their online ordering system.
The second reason for the acceleration in technology adoption is that restaurant owners and operators are looking for new ways to offset the costs of food and fuel, which always seem to be on the rise. In fact, on average, wholesale food prices have jumped over 30% in the past 6 years. So what can you do to control costs? Try using technology solutions that will reduce your labor or operational costs. Examples of technologies that can help in this regard include:
1) Employee scheduling solutions, like HotSchedules, which can reduce labor costs through forecasting, overtime alerting and punctuality controls.
3) Social learning platforms, such as Schoox, which save employee and trainer time, and reduce the need to print training materials. They also help reduce employee turnover and lead to a better trained staff.
4) Performance and standardization systems, such as the Manager’s Red Book, now with a digital version that helps ensure all locations run in the same streamlined, efficient manner.
5) Inventory management and business intelligence reporting solutions, such as Macromatix, which help you control financials and cash management, reduce stock counts and decrease inventory to actual vs. theoretical levels.
As restaurateurs recognize that technology can and is improving operations and helping their peers successfully expand, the trend toward technology implementation in the industry will continue to increase. So, the next time you hear the word, “technology”, embrace it! Change that preconceived connotation in your mind from “scary” or “complex” to “efficient” and “easier”. It can greatly change your business and your life for the better!
Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect