Over the past few years, consumers’ expectations have not only changed, but increased significantly. If in the past they were looking for fair pricings and good service, today expectations fall along the lines of proactive service, easy-to-use platforms, and personalization. This change has deeply affected tech companies—their remit not only covers the innovative technology they are bringing to the table, but also the growing expectation that this technology will be consumer friendly. Without this combination, tech vendors can’t stay competitive.
These days, consumers also have more options, and they can easily switch between brands to ensure they are getting the best experience and value—with so many new gadgets and gizmos entering the marketplace every day, what they may have once found enjoyable is last week’s news. This puts massive amounts of pressure on businesses to have to constantly look forward and come to the table with the “next big thing,” all while delivering higher-quality services.
A significant case study that businesses should always keep top of mind of what not to do is in the rise and fall of Nokia. The Finnish company was extremely successful with their hardware products, but when software was on the rise, Nokia didn’t take the time to move on with where customers were needing service. Kodak also missed a revolution—one of their business engineers invented the first digital camera, Kodak never promoted it. Unfortunately for these companies, they believed that what they had to offer was strong enough to withstand a technological revolution, and didn’t want to change their user experience to keep up with the times. Today, any company that wants any customer needs to put the experience at the forefront.
Innovations become the status quo quickly. There are many different technologies in the food service industry that made headlines only a few years ago and today are a must in every restaurant or quick-serve—think of things such as KDS, online ordering, employee scheduling programs and inventory software. Not long ago, a tracker with the driver location was one of the most sought out technologies for restaurants, and today, those same restaurants are looking for ways to increase their communication with customers, provide accurate ETAs instead of estimated one, and share the exact statuses of where their order is in its process.
One of the best tools to keep both operators and consumers top of mind is AI. AI systems revolutionize the way restaurants operate and help assure that the correct decisions are made, thus preventing human errors when relying on decision making by the kitchen or restaurant staff. By implementing an AI that can learn the business and give sound recommendations based on what it has learned, restaurants will be at an advantage.
In the food industry, the main goal of implementing technology is to constantly improve and expedite service, while also creating easy to use apps and programs to ensure a seamless customer experience. This is exactly what major brands are currently working hard to develop—from using autonomous vehicles for deliveries to ordering with a virtual assistant, like Alexa. Additionally, contactless deliveries with drones or robots are something that the restaurant industry will continue to see take hold.
Technology changes the way people think and consumers habits and preferences are changing the way technology companies work. To keep up with consumers’ expectations, businesses need to remain innovative to face endless challenges and rising competition. It’s imperative that restaurants prioritize investments in technology and innovations, and looking at their customers’ preferences is where they are going to see the most return.
Itzik Bachar is Dragontail System’s Chief Customer Officer. His role within the company involves managing client relationships, cultivating relationships by providing support, information and guidance, implementing the training systems in stores, and supporting training for many other aspects of the business. Itzik is a graduate in economics and management and has managed the operations and support services the largest restaurants and retail customers in Israel.