Contributed by Kristi Turner, CMO
The restaurant industry is absolutely brimming with innovation. Between unique customer experiences, the integration of technology, home delivery options and futuristic robotic servers, there’s no shortage of great ideas.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest obstacles the food service industry faces is execution. Putting those fantastic ideas into practice is often where the groundbreaking idea falls short of living up to expectations.
The challenge of execution was a central theme we heard from the eclectic mix of industry experts who took the stage during the NRA’s Signature ’19: The Future of Dining keynote event. Hearing from such a wide range of segments—Applebee’s Grill & Bar, Hy-Vee, Wawa and Cooper’s Hawk—made it clear that that execution is a ubiquitous challenge.
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Of course, every establishment’s goal is to deliver an outstanding customer experience. In order to create long-term, loyal customers, they must know without a doubt that they’ll get the experience they expect when they walk through your doors. Satisfaction is paramount.
But, delivering on that satisfaction grows increasingly difficult every day. As Hy-Vee chairman Randy Edeker recalled, he once asked a customer what she wanted from a Hy-Vee experience. Her response: “I want you to be what I want you to be, when I need you. And, if you’re not, I’ll go someplace else.”
That sentiment pretty well captures exactly the dilemma that every food service organization is facing. Whether it’s a fast food, fast casual, fine dining, convenient store or dine-in grocery store, delivering on customers’ diverse and ever-changing desires forces the entire industry to experiment, pilot new offerings and even move outside their comfort zone.
Automation is becoming a major advantage in execution for both front of house and back of house operations. For example, with business intelligence solutions, automated inventory management and personnel scheduling, there are certainly efficiencies to be found that can make the entire operation run smoother. And, there’s no shortage of self-service, order management and other tech for front-of-house productivity.
Ultimately, however, if the staff is rude, the store is unclean or the service simply falls short, it doesn’t matter how tech-savvy the operation is. The customer experience will still suffer. And, while robot servers might sound futuristic and efficient, the reality is, no one wants to trust their severe food allergy concern to a robot. Even the slickest, most innovative automation is no substitute for a human touch when it comes to delivering outstanding, personal service that keeps customers coming back.
That’s where Compeat can help. With our back-office management solutions that cover accounting, staffing, inventory, logbook and more, we can give you the insights and intelligence to identify what’s working and what’s not. So, you’ll know if the restroom is being serviced on schedule. You can see which recipes are most profitable. You can figure out which servers are outperforming on upsell—and who might need a little nudge.
And, because we’ve been in your shoes, we know that it takes more than technology to run a successful restaurant. About 80% of our staff has worked in the restaurant industry—I began my career as an employee at Outback Steakhouse’s second location and stayed on as the company grew to dozens more. I, and many others here at Compeat, have seen first-hand the type of service, attention to detail and experience it takes to satisfy customers’ evolving needs.
So, while we’re a little skeptical about robot servers, we do know that the right tech to automate and simplify the right processes can give any restaurant the capacity to fully execute on its brand promise and deliver on customer expectations. Find out how Compeat can give you an advantage.