Tech Solutions Will Help Solve the Restaurant Industry’s Biggest Challenges

Dallas Henderson
Dallas Henderson

by Dallas Henderson, Director of Business Development at RizePoint

Tech Solutions Will Help Solve the Restaurant Industry's Biggest ChallengesRestaurants are already facing a host of challenges at the start of 2024, including increased competition, ever-evolving consumer demands, and ongoing staffing shortages. And, no matter what else is going on, restaurants must prioritize safety, quality, and compliance, not just in their own establishments, but across their vendors, distributors, and the entire supply chain, as well.

Increasingly, restaurant brands are utilizing technology to improve all aspects of their businesses, from elevating customer service and streamlining operations to improving their commitment to gold standard safety and quality protocols.

Tech solutions are instrumental in helping restaurants overcome their biggest challenges, including:

  • Managing ongoing staffing shortages. Labor shortages in the hospitality sector continue, and restaurants need to find ways to set themselves apart so they can attract and retain talent. As many restaurants remain short-staffed, they’re relying on tech tools to improve efficiencies, optimize operations, and automate tasks, allowing them to do more, even with fewer employees. For instance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can automatically respond to customer inquiries online, providing prompt, courteous, and accurate information to guests and prospects. Automating this important – but time-consuming – activity allows employees to focus on other vital customer-facing tasks.
  • Meeting changing consumer demands. Restaurants must be nimble and adapt to consumers’ ever-evolving preferences, such as online ordering, contactless payment, QR code menus, etc. And when consumer demand drives menu changes – like expecting more plant-based meals – tech tools can help streamline every element from ordering new products to tracking (and utilizing) current inventory to reduce waste.
  • Improving safety and quality management programs. Historically, restaurants relied on pen and paper checklists to monitor their safety and quality initiatives. These antiquated systems were often inaccurate, inefficient, and unable to provide comprehensive, real-time, integrated data across an enterprise. Luckily, times have changed, and now restaurants can rely on intuitive digital systems for continuous monitoring and improvement of quality control. Quality management software allows brands to maintain compliance with health and safety regulations, manage supplier relationships, and ensure consistently high quality across multiple locations.
  • Managing supplier quality. This is critical, given the importance of safety, quality, compliance, sustainability and ethical sourcing across the supply chain. It’s great if your restaurant is operating safely, ethically, and responsibility, but are you confident that your suppliers are, as well? One weak link in the supply chain could result in a food safety breach that could sicken your guests and be damaging for your restaurant, financially, legally, and reputationally. Luckily, today’s fully featured software options now offer audit management and compliance tracking capabilities, which provide enhanced food traceability and help ensure safety practices are being followed at every step across the supply chain.
  • Elevating sustainability practices. Many restaurants are – wisely – choosing to prioritize their sustainability efforts, using cutting-edge tech solutions to help. Restaurants can utilize tech tools to order more precisely and eliminate waste, send delivery drivers along the most efficient routes to save gas and reduce emissions, and use energy more efficiently within their facilities. Implementing sustainability initiatives resonates with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly dining options – plus, it’s the right thing to do!
  • Differentiating themselves from the competition. Restaurants have to do whatever it takes – provide exceptional customer service, offer innovative experiences, demonstrate their commitment to sustainability – to drive traffic, maximize sales, and stand out in this highly competitive environment. Increasingly, tech tools have evolved from “nice to have” to essential for restaurants, who need to operate more efficiently, safely, and profitably in today’s crowded marketplace.
  • Optimizing operations. One of the smartest things that restaurants can do is implement digital solutions for ordering, scheduling, purchasing, inventory management, etc. Integrated tech systems help streamline all aspects of restaurant operations, improving efficiency, accuracy, transparency, productivity, and other critical success metrics.
  • Enhancing the customer experience. When restaurants create safe, unique, and engaging dining experiences, they attract more customers and encourage repeat business. Also, in this era of social media and online reviews, restaurant staff must provide exceptional, personalized service or risk getting blistering word-of-mouth. That’s why many restaurants are leveraging technology to improve the customer experience, such as tools that recommend meals based on guests’ preferences and order history.

The single most important thing that restaurants can do in 2024 is to integrate the latest technologies to boost every element of their business. Luckily, today’s technologies have become more affordable, accessible, attainable, and intuitive for brands of all sizes and budgets.

Technological advancements are indispensable, helping restaurants adapt to today’s most pressing challenges, such as playing an increasingly crucial role in restaurants’ quality management programs. For instance, modern audit management and compliance tracking features ensure adherence to health and safety standards, which should be a top priority for every restaurant.

Tech tools can also elevate operations, improving efficiency, accuracy, safety, transparency, and traceability. From digital menus and online ordering systems to AI-driven customer service and kitchen automation, technology is revolutionizing the restaurant experience.

As restaurant brands look ahead to the rest of 2024, they need to implement strategies to improve tech integration and innovation. Restaurants should leverage the most innovative technologies to maximize safety, quality, and compliance – and remain competitive in this dynamic environment.

Dallas Henderson is Director of Business Development at RizePoint, a technology leader in the food safety, quality management, compliance, and social responsibility space. RizePoint’s comprehensive suite of quality management software solution tools is empowering businesses – including Starbucks, Wendy’s, Hard Rock International, and more – to streamline their quality management processes, aligning with industry-specific requirements. Let’s talk about how RizePoint’s comprehensive quality management solutions can help your company conduct, manage, and track audits, compliance, supply chain oversight, sustainability practices, and more.