Having current and up-to-date equipment for your restaurant or bar is imperative if you want your small business to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded field. Unfortunately, running a restaurant or bar can often involve lots of overhead costs – from paying staff to covering extremely high insurance premiums if you operate a place that serves alcohol – and these expenses can make upgrading your establishment cost prohibitive without the right funding options.
Thankfully, by utilizing some cost-saving techniques such as leasing equipment, you can trim your company’s overhead expenses and boost your profit margins. According to Full-Service Restaurant Magazine, a 2015 survey conducted by Toast revealed that 73 percent of industry managers intended on upgrading their technology within a year.
While incorporating new technology is crucial to remain competitive, it’s important for owners to identify upgrades that will have the greatest impact on the bottom line. Having fancy gizmos and high-tech features can be superfluous and a waste of resources if these items are not attracting new customers and keeping loyal ones satisfied.
Why upgrades are important
As the old restaurant industry saying goes, establishments need to innovate or be eaten. It’s not enough to simply open up shop and skate along with the same equipment you used from the grand opening. As new models hit the market, your competitors will be taking advantage of the latest equipment to cook food faster and more efficiently.
And it’s not just fryers, coolers and grills that require constant upgrades, as other technological features can be used to streamline operations across the entire enterprise. As noted by TriMark R.W. Smith, a foodservice products and solutions company, electronic scheduling is becoming the industry standard for tracking timesheets, reporting tips, tracking overtime, communicating with staff and maintaining management resources. Without access to these crucial new technologies, it’s all too likely a restaurant or bar could ultimately end up on the chopping block.
Customers are demanding it
Customers are increasingly expecting the best technology and the most cutting-edge service in the restaurants they seek out. While only one out of every four consumers say technology options influence their decision for choosing where to eat, industry experts anticipate this number to increase, noted QSROnline, a blog for restaurant industry professionals. The industry is incorporating these innovative new features into their daily operations to impress customers and surpass their expectations.
Tablets and other hand-held devices are becoming popular replacements to traditional menu placards for a variety of reasons. Instead of a static design and images, digital displays allow these establishments to utilize fresh pictures, animated features and other attention-grabbing visuals to entice customers and show them the full range of offerings. By turning every table into a digital hub of technology, you can also provide interactive and entertaining features for customers to enjoy while they wait on their food.
Take it to the next level
In a field that’s becoming increasingly crowded with innovative competitors, sometimes it takes going the extra mile to truly stand out in this industry. As noted by TriMark R.W. Smith, restaurants that become trendsetters with outside-the-box ideas can gain traction and build a loyal following.
For example, one company, Sprinkles, launched a Cupcake ATM that become immediately popular, while the restaurant Eatsa made everything automated in its stores. While launching a purely automated shop or inventing what is essentially a brand new type of machinery might be outside the abilities of many small businesses in the industry, these examples can still inspire owners into taking a risk by offering something completely new and different.