Restaurants as Tech Companies: Understanding a New Industry Landscape
January 25, 2019 food operations management, labor operations management, data analytics and reporting
Restaurants that embrace innovative technology are better equipped to provide good experiences for their guests and employees while maximizing profits.
Consider this – rather than a restaurant, you’re a tech company that happens to serve food. That might sound outlandish at first, but in 2019 the concept of restaurants as tech companies has become increasingly popular.
This trend took off when J. Patrick Doyle became CEO of Domino’s Pizza in 2010 and shared that vision with the organization. Today, Domino’s owns a robust tech stack that enhances both the employee and guest experience and in recent years, publications like Forbes and NPR have called Domino’s a technology company.
Others are now following suit and the primary goal for most restaurants is to connect with guests by embracing the technology they use on a daily basis. Today restaurants are steadily increasing their reliance on online and mobile ordering, third-party delivery, digital loyalty programs, online reservations, and mobile pay. This makes sense because their guests are familiar with the underlying technology behind those services.
Restaurants as Tech Companies in the Back Office
Restaurants should not focus exclusively on investing in technology to innovate the guest experience. New technology can enhance the employee experience as well, which we outlined in a recent blog. Implementing operational tools with underlying tech that team members are familiar with creates a more productive back office.
Putting easily accessible information and reports into your managers’ pockets or allowing team members to ask their peers to pick up their shifts online may seem simple, but they will go a long way towards improving the employee experience. Ultimately, that’s the mission for most tech companies. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are among many companies that claim they improve the lives of their users.
When you start thinking like a tech company, these things matter. Accelerating the flow of information through the restaurant and streamlining tasks will pay huge dividends at any restaurant.
A Commitment to Innovation
Brands that capitalize on the trend of restaurants as tech companies know how to leverage existing technologies through integrations and partnerships. Yum! Brands recently invested $200 million in online ordering platform Grubhub, which allows the two organizations to innovate together. Whether you’re investing in the front of house or the back of house, maintaining a commitment to innovation is critical.
Technology partners should collaborate with customers to ensure new features meet both current and future industry needs. Industry trends should dictate the product road map, and the ability to collaborate and share ideas with peers and tech partners ultimately produces the best solutions. It’s also important to partner with technology providers committed to frequent, feature-rich releases.
Ultimately, winning an in increasingly competitive space requires constant positive change. Adopting a tech-first mindset and partnering with providers with an eye for innovation will get you there.