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4 Ways in Which Automating Restaurant Operations Can Create a Good Customer Experience

  • Team Wobot

A good customer experience is tantamount to your ability to deliver a consistent, engaging, and memorable experience at every touchpoint.

In present times, customers are habituated to looking at ratings on the internet before stepping into a restaurant. Which explains why customer experience is the only real driver of business as we move forward.

It is important to understand that everything from your restaurant cleanliness, to food hygiene, order-to-service speed, and staff productivity – affects customer experience directly or indirectly.

So, let’s start by observing the areas in which restaurants are struggling.

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What are the challenges restaurants face in creating a good customer experience?

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Employee Productivity

Employee acquisition and retention are one of the biggest problems restaurants are facing considering the peak in demand as things are returning back to normal. According to a survey conducted by Business Insider, 7 out of 10 restaurant operators don’t have the staff to meet their current demand.

Restaurants have tried endless ways from giving bonuses to operating under reduced hours, trimming their menus, and whatnot. But there seems to be no immediate solution to this problem.

Fewer employees in key positions imply less productivity at different ordering channels. This increases the average wait time and service speed, leading to frustrated customers.

Inventory Management

For an average restaurant, their menus comprise 10 – 15 essential items that account for 50% of sales. Here, it is important for restaurants to identify these menu items so that they can stock their inventory precisely based on what is required.

Remember, the Pareto principle applies to your inventory as well – 80% of sales are driven by 20% of menu items. By knowing those 20% items, you can keep the stock ready and deliver customers their favorite food items, at all times.

Speed and accuracy

The Amazon effect is real. More consumers want what they order quickly and accurately. As per the SeeLevel HX Annual Drive-Thru study, the wait time to receive a drive-thru order increased by 25 seconds in 2021.

Customers feel anything longer than four cars at a drive-thru or 10 minutes at an ordering channel is too long. So, customers either drop out of the queue or never come back. On the other hand, more than 60% of customers feel speed and accuracy is the reason they come back.

Automation

More than 70% of restaurant operators have seen significant improvements in their restaurant experience by implementing technology in some form or manner.

Some of the most useful technological pieces have been – online ordering systems, online payments, loyalty programs, and guests' Wi-Fi. However, there still lies a gap in the usage of AI-based automation technology at restaurants.

Automating your operations creates a ripple effect across different challenges you face at restaurants. You’ll see more about it in detail in the next section.

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What are customers primarily looking for?

A good restaurant experience ensures customers do repeat business with you. Here’s what matters to them more than anything else.

Restaurant cleanliness

Consider this, according to a survey conducted by Business Wire, 85% respondents would not patronize a restaurant with negative reviews about cleanliness and its facilities.

Gone are the days when a staff member could wipe a table clean convincing you of proper cleanliness. What customers are looking for are clear signs of regular cleaning and sanitization in the restaurant.

Bruce Reinstein, a leader in the food industry management space puts it brilliantly: “People used to go out to restaurants for great food and service and convenience; safety was kind of assumed. Now, if it isn’t overtly clear that your environment is safe and sanitized, nothing else really matters.”

Convenience and accuracy in orders

Complex menus, busier lanes at ordering channels, and emphasis on service speed are primary reasons why inaccurate orders go out. During peak hours, employees are rushed and human error is always in play.

67% of customers say that accurate orders are the primary reason why they come back. Hence, to drive more customers by delivering orders accurately and conveniently are non-negotiable.

Speed of service

Customers strongly believe that anything more than 10 minutes is too long at a drive-thru. Many customers drop out of the queue or return back seeing more than 4 cars in a lane.

Employee crunch which lies at a 17-year low is the primary reason why restaurants are struggling with service speed. There are fewer employees in key positions which has left restaurants crippled.

Favourite food item

There’s always a food item in a restaurant’s menu that sells the most, which calls for stocking up ingredients and a track of the best-selling items on your menu. For more than 50% of customers having their favorite item on the menu is the reason why they come back.

These statistics might scare you, but the good news is that automating restaurant operations helps organize your restaurant better for an unforgettable customer experience.

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How automation will help you create a good customer experience?

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Automating restaurant operations entails the use of technology to make processes self-sustaining and effective throughout the day. For example, a system that could notify you whenever a staff member was spotted without hand gloves or a hairnet.

Wobot.ai adds intelligence to your CCTV cameras to make this possible by enabling real-time visibility and providing suggestive insights that help you take corrective actions instantly.

Automate daily operations

Restaurant cleanliness becomes easy with digital checklists. These checklists are a set of pre-defined tasks that must be carried out daily to keep a restaurant safe and clean.

Wobot.ai automates cleanliness operations by using camera systems at your facility to ensure best practices are followed daily by giving you feedback via alerts and notifications.

Managers can easily check the completion of tasks along with the video proof, which gives a clearer picture of what’s happening at your restaurant, across different locations, all from a single station.

Deploy staff intelligently

Automating operations implies you can wisely deploy staff to essential areas in the restaurant. Accurate orders take less time than those that are delivered inaccurately.

Having staff at the right place, and at the right time ensures orders take less time for delivery, and customers get precisely what they order each time.

Make better decisions

Wobot.ai, uses your camera systems to detect bottlenecks and suggest the right course of action for in real-time.

For example, wait-time: every time your camera detects a car has waited more than 10 minutes at a drive-thru, you’re alerted to add a complimentary drink for the customer’s patience.

Contextual analysis

When it comes to the hottest selling items on your menu, which drives more than 50% of customers – Wobot.ai enables easy integration of your POS data. What happens here is that operators get a visual context for the data, which has two advantages.

  1. Get real-time visibility into your sales, by getting video-proof of what sells the most when.
  2. Prevent employee theft by getting the context behind the transactions through videos.

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To sum it up

Most restaurants generate a plethora of video data every day which not only goes unused but provides no context to how operations can be improved to derive better returns for every dollar you spend.

Wobot.ai simply turns your video data instantly insightful by adding AI into it, to help you understand what’s important for your businesses and take actions as and when they arise.

Good customer experience is a by-product when you automate your operations and make your video data useful.

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Good Customer Experience
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