Tech with a human touch
Your guests expect the convenience and personalization that technology provides, but they likely still want it delivered with human interaction. Helping restaurant operators strike that balance is a key topic in “Diners of the Future,” a new report from SevenRooms. As your guests’ needs evolve, you might be considering incorporating technology ranging from AI-powered chatbots to automated assistants who can field inquiries to your restaurant. Ask yourself how these tools can improve the guest experience while helping your guest-facing employees do their jobs even better. Can it enable your guests to request a favorite server? Can it help a server greet all returning guests by name (not just your longtime servers and most loyal guests), guide them to their preferred table or remember their favorite appetizers? Could your restaurant create a personalized menu for a guest based on their food preferences you have stored in your database? This kind of specialization continues to be a priority for restaurant guests in the U.S., with at least 20 percent selecting restaurants that can provide individualized experiences, according to the report. While the generation coming of age is comfortable with technology, which will make it increasingly common in restaurants, the current challenge, SevenRooms says, is to nimbly offer the technology-enabled conveniences that those guests expect – while also ensuring that your existing guests experience the human touch without noticing the technology running behind the scenes that helps to make it all possible.
Guest education with flair
You want to stay on trend – but do some of your guests need help in following your lead when it comes to stepping out of their comfort zone? When you introduce global dishes and flavors, consider how to weave guest education into the experience in a lighthearted way. Sushi-San, a sushi concept in Chicago, made Restaurant Business’s “50 Great Ideas” list for its tool to teach guests how to order sushi: The restaurant has a pulled-apart stuffed tuna behind the counter, and chefs and servers can point to different parts of the fish when explaining the parts that go into its sushi and sashimi dishes.
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