· 4 December 2018
Technology has proliferated in the restaurant industry over the past five years, as eateries look to improve both efficiency and the customer experience.Fast food aficionados have already become accustomed to one new form of service: Ordering from kiosks instead of cashiers. These kiosks have assumed most of the restaurant tech spotlight, cutting labor costs, increasing efficiency, and reducing human error. While kiosks may be successful for fast food chains or to-go based stores, that method isn't as functional for traditional, sit-down restaurants.In a sit-down restaurant, technology is geared more towards improving the guest experience, rather than getting as many customers in and out of the door as possible, according to Steve Fredette, president and co-founder of Toast. A widely-used point of sale system for restaurants, Toast is a cloud-based platform designed to improve efficiency for both customers and employees.Toast and similar products allow waiters to take orders, payments, and customer signatures on handheld devices, and can also read digital gift card QR codes and send texts alerting customers that their food is ready. These tools are now commonplace in many restaurants.A focus on the customer and employee experience above all is key for success in the restaurant tech business, Fredette said."Most restaurant owners didn't get into the business because they were business people, or because they love managing lots of staff. You usually get into business because you love food, or you love hospitality," said Fredette. "We want to get restaurateurs to not have to be CIOs or CFOs. We want them to be able to just do what they love."