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Will 2023 Be the Year of Self Service?

Get Our 2023 Predictions – From Kiosk Ordering to Off-Premise Dining & More

We can’t say for sure, but we certainly got a few clues at the recent webinar we co-sponsored with our partner, PourMyBeer. It was a true pleasure to have our CEO Tim McLaughlin co-present with experienced hospitality and restaurant technology leaders in the 60-minute session. Co-Presenting with Tim were Jimmy Frischling, Founder & Managing Partner at Branded Strategic Ventures and Jerry Mazurowski, Director of Operations and Minority Owner at Neo Pizza and Taphouse. The webinar turned out to be a wide-ranging conversation about overall hospitality trends. 

The Future of Off-Premise Dining 

The pandemic spawned tremendous off-premise growth and that growth was sustained in 2022. The likely next phase of innovation will be in how operators manage the packaging and fulfillment of off-premise orders. That means pushing for better, less expensive packaging methods to keep hot food hot and cold food cold to ensure takeout and delivery doesn’t negatively impact the brand. Operators will also be pushing to move beyond efficiency, to providing an elegant and efficient food pickup experience for guests. 

The Future of Automation

On average, in a traditional service scenario, it takes as many as 3 people in a full-service restaurant to bring a guest a glass of wine, a beer or even a soda. The guest places the order with the server. The server enters the order into the POS. The POS prints a ticket behind the bar. The drink gets poured and put on the service bar. The runner delivers the drink to the table. With technologies like GoTab and PourMyBeer, the guests actually enjoy the experience of ordering on their own, pouring on their own. The staff get to become ambassadors, rather than focusing on mundane tasks like entering orders and pouring drinks.

In a high-performance GoTab venue, 40 percent of guests never pay the bill … they just walk out … the system charges the check automatically and notifies them if the card on file has insufficient funds. If they don’t put another card on file, they can’t go to another GoTab restaurant until they pay their bill. Imagine how much staff time is alleviated by operating this way.

The End of First in First Out Ticket Fulfillment

Instead of retrofitting technology to the traditional service approach, operators will start to lean on their tech to do what it does well. For example, with tools like the GoTab KDS, operators can optimize logistics in the kitchen. It takes a lot of experience to be able to look at 100+ orders and figure out the best sequence to handle them based on fulfillment and running time. GoTab can analyze all of the tickets and direct the kitchen to the optimum fulfillment order. In a future state, operators could envision a KDS that will call orders, like a chef on the line, to create a more fluid experience for kitchen staff.

The Future of Kiosk Ordering

We’ve lost close to a million employees from the  industry and a substantial amount won’t return. So it’s a non-trivial effort to address how to handle cashier and ordering lines. Kiosks will play an important foundational experience for guests, particularly in quick service. GoTab was started with the idea that a mobile device is a kiosk in everyone’s pocket. You don’t have to dip your card, it already knows who you are and it even knows what you ordered the last time. That being said, the mobile phone doesn’t have the advantage of a big screen, which can be compelling in certain scenarios. 

The Future of Restaurant Employment

In 2023 we’ll continue to focus on ways to improve compensation for restaurant staff – recruiting and retention has been a perennial problem in the industry even before the pandemic. The trend will be toward cross-training staff so that they can take on more roles in the restaurant. 

With cross-training, General Managers get more flexibility to manage their limited staff, and it also means that staff are able to provide more value to their guests. One important aspect of this shift to cross-training is tip pooling. Operators find that tip pooling gets people working as a team, with the ancillary benefit of giving everyone an incentive to deliver a better end-to-end guest experience.

The Future of Drink Service and Beverage Sales

It’s no surprise that panelists are huge advocates of beer walls like PourMyBeer. Guests are very comfortable with serving themselves if you give them an efficient system. What’s more, using a beverage wall eliminates many of the persistent problems associated with serving beers and cocktails in a hospitality establishment. 

With a  beverage wall, customers don’t have to wait for their drinks. They don’t have to flag down a server or bartender. Guests get to pick and choose what they want and how much of it they want. There’s no one stealing, and no extra foam being poured out. It basically cuts out all of the waste of a traditional bar. For Neo Pizza and Taphouse, their beer cost is lower than ever. Efficiency in ordering is better. They have full control and insight around inventory controls. They know how much product they have on hand and can control pricing on a daily basis.

The Future of Restaurant Tech is Omni-Channel

Omni-channel means your system is integrated, the parts and pieces speak and share data easily. As a result, costs will go down and operators will find it much easier to train staff. It also means that the guest experience is seamless.

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