What Do Guests — and Restaurants — Want from Restaurant Technology?

Staying on track with restaurant guests’ wants and needs is tougher than ever — and getting ahead of them can seem downright impossible. Guests want speed and convenience, but many restaurants haven’t found a way to deliver them consistently, thanks to tight resources.

How can restaurant groups and franchisees plan ahead strategically and prioritize the right implementations without blowing the budget? Spending where your guests can see your investment is important, but a strong back-end technology infrastructure is your insurance against bigger costs down the line. 

What Do Guests — and Restaurants — Want from Restaurant Technology?

What guests want from restaurant technology

A recent study by Hospitality Technology revealed that the top three factors on which guests based their restaurant choice (all tied at 71%) were:

  • Reliable, secure Wi-Fi
  • Easy online reservations
  • Ability to preview menus and nutritional information

With Wi-Fi such a big priority for your guests, providing a secure way for them to use the internet in your restaurant is a must. You’ll want to make sure it’s fast, offers the right amount of bandwidth for your needs, and is protected by a strong password.

While you want to make it easy for your guests to access your Wi-Fi, make sure you’re using safe password practices to protect your guests from hackers. A wide-open, password-less public Wi-Fi access point is not a good idea — for you or your guests.

Hackers can exploit your guests with a variety of techniques, gaining access to their devices. They can also use that access to gain entry to your other systems if your network isn’t set up properly.

To meet PCI compliance requirements, you must have your point-of-sale (POS) system on a separate network from any other devices. You should never let your guests or employees access the network your POS is on. Not only could it result in big financial penalties for being non-compliant, but it leaves you vulnerable to financial and data losses.

Even a lapse as small as out-of-date software patches could put you at risk, making it important to ensure your team isn’t spread too thin to keep you secure.

What Do Guests — and Restaurants — Want from Restaurant Technology?

Restaurants’ biggest technology challenges

The surging guest demand for technologies that make visiting and ordering from their favorite restaurants easier is making it difficult for many restaurants to keep up. When Hospitality Technology asked restaurant owners and IT leaders what their biggest challenges were, their top three weren’t a big surprise:

  • Difficulty integrating with legacy systems (58%)
  • Lack of sufficient IT budget (58%)
  • Lack of skilled technology resources in-house (46%)

These concerns certainly aren’t exclusive to restaurants, but in an industry dependent on customer loyalty, they can be a big issue. Many older POS systems weren’t designed to integrate with the array of technologies that are becoming increasingly common, like online reservation apps, third-party delivery systems, and newer payment methods like Apple Pay.

When you’re considering integrating customer-facing technologies like these, security should still hold the top spot on your priority list. You can’t take a piecemeal approach to adding any solution to your technology stack because, with every addition, you’re introducing a certain amount of risk.

Give your IT team an assist

From an internet outage to a failing laptop, your IT team is asked to address issues large and small every day. Strategic planning and risk prevention can often take a backseat to putting out fires that pop up in the hub-bub of serving guests daily.

We’ve seen restaurants and other hospitality providers struggle with a lack of skilled in-house technology staff — and, in the end, the absence of these resources hurts your employees’ productivity and your guests’ experience.

IT employees struggle to keep up with all the projects they’re tasked with, many of which are outside their scope of experience. And when technology is slow and clunky — or even unavailable — your guests aren’t getting the best service, potentially damaging loyalty and return visits.

Co-managed IT services are a great solution for an IT team that’s struggling with task overload or with projects they aren’t experts on. These services complement your team, allowing them to focus on the projects they can excel in and letting outside experts work quickly to remedy other issues.

For restaurant groups and franchisees that have many locations, remote support and help desk services can take the load off your IT team and reduce excessive travel and overtime costs you might be seeing today.

While lower on respondents’ list of challenges, responding to guests’ technology demands (29%) stood out to us. The pandemic jump-started the need for new restaurant technologies, and guests are expecting more speed and efficiency from restaurants. The need to be responsive to these demands will only grow in the coming years, making strategic planning now even more important.

What Do Guests — and Restaurants — Want from Restaurant Technology?

Add Cenetric to your IT team

Keeping up with guests’ needs and making the best technology choices for your locations isn’t easy. Your IT team does their best, but their growing list of urgent issues could be holding your restaurants back.

When you let Cenetric experts lighten your team’s load, you can ensure you’re implementing the best technology practices and creating a solid environment for your business. It will mean less downtime and more profits — and peace of mind. Let us know about your biggest IT challenges, and we’ll find the right way to solve them.

What Do Guests — and Restaurants — Want from Restaurant Technology?

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