A sea of change is happening in the restaurant industry. This isn’t something that’s occurred overnight, but a gradual shift using technology and a more recent change in consumer behaviour that is causing restaurants to modify their approach.
Let’s examine a few of the ways that the restaurant industry has changed.
It all started with the digitisation of restaurant transactions. It used to be that the waiter or waitress would take the order on a slim notepad and then place it through the open inner window connecting the dinner hall to the kitchen. The paper slip would go up on the line of tickets to complete and chefs would work through the order list. The manual system worked, but disorganised front-of-house staff or kitchen staff could lose order slips, misread orders or prepare them out of order leaving diners waiting longer than expected.
The use of mini tablets for wait staff to take orders which automatically feeds the order through to a digital order management system in the kitchen is one way that restaurants have modernised their operations. Digital receipts produced at the point-of-sale system allow for accurate billing without the handwritten confusion and payment processing too. Smooth, efficient and not prone to half as many human errors.
With the computerisation of the front and back areas of the restaurant, orders placed trickle down to better data for management to study. What is the average number of table turns per seating, per day or per week? Does the wait staff struggle at busier times, which causes the table turn rate to go down or reduce the amount billing per table or per customer because either the wait staff or the kitchen cannot keep up with the order flow? What’s the average wait time for dishes beginning with the starter and onwards from there?
With digitisation, the sequence has all changed. When wait staff take the order, the kitchen marks each dish off when it’s completed and wait staff update when the dish has been delivered to the waiting customer. The new process provides valuable information on performance and efficiency that didn’t exist before, which allows for better monitoring.
Better Inventory Management
With all the orders going through an established system, it’s possible to associate produce with dishes. For instance, this allows managers to get a rough idea of how much spinach was used that day and the likely amount of spinach that is left in the refrigerator. While exact measurements for ingredients aren’t usually used, computer inventory systems can now provide a list of likely ingredients that require purchasing now or soon. With better predictability on food requirements, efficient bulk orders at a lower cost are possible for restaurants that previously operated haphazardly when it came to food ingredients. No longer are wait staff troubled by having to tell customers which dishes are not available that evening, avoiding disappointing customers and knocking down both order values and staff tipping.
Restaurants Explore Deliveries
The takeaway was previously the staple of the kebab shop, the fish ‘n’ chip shop that opened late, and the local curry house. The choices weren’t that wide. However, enterprising UK food delivery startups like Just Eat and Deliveroo are changing all that. These services enable restaurants and commercial kitchens that service online food orders to offer delivery options to diners who want restaurant-quality food delivered to their door.
For “foodpreneurs” opening up an online food business to offer great food sent to offices and residential homes, a kitchen to rent in London is a way to avoid the cost of a restaurant when their customers are happier with food deliveries. With the desire for healthier food options and ready meal deliveries, the market for ready meals delivered when you want them is expanding much faster than the direct restaurant business.
As restaurants adapt to the changing market and more foodpreneurs see the merit of renting a commercial kitchen to run their food business from, it’s clear that access to tasty cuisine is increasing. No longer are late-night and rushed diners forced to grab fried food on-the-run sacrificing their dietary plan in the process.