While nothing can replace human interaction, machines and software play an ever-increasing role in today’s hospitality business. Franchise owners describe the transformation as a “cultural change,” all the while shifting business operations with new tech tools to stay on trend, better understand customers, and enhance the dining experience. Here are some examples of the innovative tools ruling the franchise world today:
Easy Ordering. This October, Apple will launch its much-anticipated mobile payment system, Apple Pay. By creating a one-time payment number for purchases, Apple hopes consumers will feel safe to make online and in-person purchases with a simple tap on their iPhone 6. Franchises like Subway and McDonald’s are already on board to support the wireless technology. Panera, also on board with Apple Pay, plans to go further, installing ordering kiosks in stores nationwide for customers’ ordering ease.
Build Your Burger. In addition to Apple Pay compatibility, McDonald’s will soon allow Southern California customers at two Laguna Niguel locations and two San Diego locations the opportunity to customize their burgers with the use of a tablet. It’s all part of the popular franchise’s attempt to stay current with the increasing demands of today’s techie customers.
Tabletop Tablets. Chili’s recently announced the installation of over 45,000 tablets that will be available to customers—at their tables—across 823 restaurants. Powered by Free Builders Club, these tablets will enable on-screen ordering and payments, as well as games for kids and news for adults, while they wait for their food. This follows a trend by other franchises doing the same. Applebee’s rolled out over 100,000 Presto tablets in their U.S. restaurants, and Buffalo Wild Wings plants to install a tablet-based entertainment platform to their chain next year.
Mobile Ordering. According to Hospitality Technology, The Habit Burger Grill has increased take-out orders 200 percent using an order management system that includes phone, online, and mobile ordering platforms to integrate with their point-of-sale systems. Panda Express also just rolled out mobile ordering to more than 1,500 restaurants nationwide, giving customers the opportunity to place orders across multiple devices.
Kitchen Display Systems. The likes of Taco Bueno and Fresh to Order, meanwhile, have used the potential of tablets to aid kitchen staff with recipe tracking and order preparation, using third-party apps that do everything from displaying orders, updating recipes, and showing videos of how to prepare dishes consistently.
iPad Point of Sale. iPad point of sale systems like Revel iPad POS are designed to speed up operations and offer a better overall experience for the customer. Smoothie King recently chose Revel for its 700 store rollout, making this the largest deployment of iPads to date. Kevin Brown, CEO of the Chicken Salad Chick chain, tells QSR Magazine the following about Revel: “Operationally, it gives us much more flexibility and ease of ordering, including credit card transactions at offsite venues…translating to quicker order processing, more tickets, and ultimately higher revenue.” Other franchises using the Revel point of sale system include Popeyes and Pizza Patron.