On top of all their other tasks, restaurant owners must stay up to date on the latest technology. The apps, screens, and software that make up the world of restaurant technology are an essential part of the industry today.
Fortunately, it’s not that time consuming to keep up with the latest technology trends if you incorporate these 10 habits into your life. Even if you’re not tech-savvy you may find that knowledge is power.
Why is staying up to date with technology important for restaurants?
First of all, staying on top of restaurant technology can help you streamline operations, increase revenue, and offer better hospitality even when labor is tight. Just as important: Your guests expect it. People want to find restaurants on social media, use their phones to order up dinner, and settle the check without touching their wallet or signing a receipt.
Here are 8 easy ways to stay on top of restaurant tech that can fit into your busy life and tight budget:
1. Find a mentor
You likely already have a hospitality mentor or a business mentor. The same may not be true for technology. If you don’t have a person to turn to for tech information and advice, it’s not too late to seek one out.
Keep an open mind about who this teacher could be. In many cases, mentors have more experience or are older than you. But when it comes to technology, consider the younger people in your life. The same people who struggle to make a professional phone call will often impress you with their formidable tech skills.
Your tech mentor could be someone on your team with a passion for social media, someone in your personal life who likes to talk tech, or even another business owner in your network. Don’t rule anyone out.
2. Check out webinars
Industry experts pack these online classes and lectures with tons of up-to-date information. Watching them can help you build skills and knowledge about restaurant tech and related topics.
Some good places to find them include:
3. Join an organization
Most regions have a local restaurant and hospitality association. Membership can help you stay up to date on technology trends, restaurant trends, and economic trends. You’re likely to connect with others who want to share information and resources. Often these local groups offer educational events you can attend in person.
On a national level, consider joining organizations like the Independent Restaurant Coalition. In addition to education, including technology education, you’ll gain the opportunity to become an advocate for the industry and access to other services.
4. Keep up with the latest news
There are many sources online that can help you stay up to date on restaurant technology news. These are a few good places to start. Consider signing up for email newsletters for updates in your inbox.
5. Listen to a podcast
If you spend time commuting, a podcast may be a better way to get your dose of restaurant technology information. There are millions of podcasts, but Restaurant Technology Guys zeroes in on this topic. If you enjoy listening and learning, there are many other restaurant and technology podcasts you can find with a quick search in your podcast player.
6. Sign up for “new feature” alerts
Go through your current tech stack and make sure you’ve signed up for email updates about the products. Companies want to let customers know when the latest cutting edge features become available and how to use them. If you don’t get these alerts, you may miss useful features that could save you time or money.
7. Join online forums
The importance of talking to other restaurant owners cannot be overstated when it comes to staying up to date with technology. Online forums, like the restaurant owners subreddit, provide a free place to ask and answer questions. It’s an easy way to benefit from other restaurateurs’ experiences and share what you learn with others.
8. Hire IT help
You always have the option to bring on someone who does restaurant technology support. These professionals usually offer an hourly or project rate and you can schedule their services regularly or as needed.
It’s also worth seeking out help from the customer service offered by the companies that power your restaurant tech. You may already have access to an expert who can help you get more out of your restaurant technology. If you have OpenTable, you have access to best-in-class customer support whenever you need help.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the fast pace of restaurant technology, but you can get in-the-know faster than you think. Start with one of these options for building your knowledge base and add on from there.