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Technology Must-Haves for Your Restaurant

In today's modern, technology-driven environment, restaurants can no longer compete without making use of the latest technologies, many of which are helping make the industry more efficient. Here are some of the top technologies modern restaurants are using that you'll want to work into your suite of restaurant tools.

1. Tablet Restaurant Management

New technologies like Breadcrumb allow restaurants to manage the entire restaurant from a tablet. Breadcrumb lets you organize seating in the restaurant, manage the dining process for different tables and coordinate between the front and back of the house. Breadcrumb also offers an offline mode in case the internet in the establishment is spotty.

2. LED Alert Technology

The modern kitchen is a bustling and complex place, and it's common for workers in the kitchen to speak different languages. New LED Alert technologies can take care of this problem by creating color alerts to manage the process of getting food from the kitchen to the table. This means that even people who speak different languages will know when a particular dish is ready or needs some garnish, or when some supervision is needed.

3. Dish Sanitizing Technology

A busy kitchen doesn't have time to worry about whether dishes are fully clean. New sanitizing technologies like PowerSoak allow you to have a continuously running dishware-washing system in place, which means you never have to worry about whether dishes are spotless.

4. Webcam Monitoring

Kitchens frequently have small spaces and obstructed visibility throughout the space. You can solve the problem of not knowing what the entire team is up to by installing webcams with monitoring software to make all activities visible across the restaurant team. Activities that can be monitored are hand-washing, food-compliance measures and other aspects of the food-prep process that can affect your restaurant's accreditation status and legal compliance.

5. Touchscreen Food Vendors

Remember the old days when many restaurants had gumball machines and other small vending machines in the check-out area? Nowadays there has been a technological upgrade to these kinds of automated vending machines. Touchscreen food vendors allow restaurants and cafeterias to sell items in an automated fashion. Customers can simply swipe their credit cards, choose what they want and get going, all without requiring you to have staff on hand to manage the transaction.

6. Mobile Payment Technology

A few years ago, it may have seemed absurdly futuristic to pay for food with a watch or mobile phone. But now, with smartphones reaching universal penetration, customers are eager to cut down on the steps they have to take to pay for a meal. Mobile payments eliminate the need for customers to carry credit cards and removes the step of needing to take a credit card from a wallet and then put it back. All of this adds to the ease of making purchases. Customers who can buy from you seamlessly are likely to make more purchases, so implementing mobile payment technology is a terrific idea for your restaurant.

7. Online Reservations

The days of having to call the restaurant during the daytime to make a reservation are over. Customers can now make reservations online in seconds. The advantage for restaurants of taking online reservations is that you no longer need to staff the restaurant with hostesses to take phone calls in off hours. You can also get a quicker sense of what your evening's table flow will look like. And customers who want to cancel a reservation can now do so quickly from their smartphone, freeing up space in your restaurant for a different party of customers.

8. Digital Menus

Printing up a new menu every day can add to the atmosphere in some restaurants, but it isn't always the most efficient or inexpensive way to present menus to customers. Digital menus now allow you to make alterations to the menu by simply inputting new information into the digital interface. Digital menus also allow your customers to view photographs of various drinks and dishes, which makes them more likely to order things that they otherwise might not have discovered an appetite for. Digital menus are also more environmentally effective, because you aren't printing out menus on reams of paper anymore.

9. On-Demand Food Delivery

Say you run a casual restaurant and want to cut down on wait times at the counter. Now you can allow customers to order food from their tables using software that runs on tablets. In addition to seeing the menu of items available to order, customers can do the work of placing the order themselves. This cuts down on wait staff and can create a much faster and more efficient restaurant.

10. Digital Servers

In some countries in Asia, restaurants are testing technology that can read customers' facial expressions and take orders without requiring customers to type on a tablet or otherwise input information by hand. Some restaurants are even dressing their "digital servers" up as the restaurant's classic avatar, such as the KFC Colonel Sanders. This technology hasn't quite reached the United States, but be on the lookout for these innovations coming to these shores soon.

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