Restaurant employees are being stretched thin. Here are the technologies that are helping solve that problem.

In the midst of the pandemic, many quick-service restaurants were able to achieve profitability thanks to a rise in the popularity of off-premises channels. But as restaurants fully re-open, labor and other interior costs threaten to challenge that profitability. Namely, staffing a restaurant has become harder than ever before, with spiraling labor costs and a lack of available workers. Often the biggest casualties of an understaffed restaurant is the customer experience—when employees are stretched thin, service can seem brusque and slow, risking customer return visits.

One of the ways operators continue to address this is by adding technologies that help ease the employee workload and guide the customer through a fast and convenient experience. An example of this is a self-service ordering kiosk—either indoors or at the drive thru—which can take orders while employees focus on other customer-service-oriented tasks.

Similarly, digital signage and interactive kiosk ordering are cornerstones of the quest to improve the customer journey. With its ability to deliver a personalized experience, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven suggestive selling capabilities can learn a customer’s ordering patterns and showcase items they are known to like or personalize a menu to their specific tastes, speeding transaction time and increasing the ticket size.

In some ways, this suggestive selling is an optimized version of waitstaff asking if a customer wants “the usual.” With digital signage and the associated technology, that same customer connection is created in a faster and more labor-efficient manner.

“Today’s customers have a ton of options, and you can’t let the experience suffer due to labor challenges,” says Chris Riegel, CEO of STRATACACHE. “It’s important to give known, loyal customers the recognition that they deserve and to tailor your messaging to be relevant to the individual while extending loyalty benefits to your superfans. AI and visual display technology step in to deliver on KPIs and better visits.”

Another upside of digital signage is that it is an agile technology and can be used to enhance the customer experience in ways beyond suggestive selling, such as being leveraged as a communication device. Signage as a communication tool has become a key part of facilitating an exceptional guest experience. For example, some brands are using digital signage to communicate with customers or delivery services who have curbside pickup orders. Clear instructions help customers know exactly where they need to park, confirm their arrival and dispatch a crew member with their order to speed up their service experience.

STRATACACHE is a digital solutions provider that specializes in helping quick-service brands use technology to provide top-notch customer journeys. From digital signage, to self-service kiosks, to sensor systems that help management know exactly what is happening in and around the restaurant, Riegel and his team say these solutions add gross margin points to the top line while helping lower labor costs and improving the bottom line.

“Automation improves the customer experience by giving more up-front information,” Riegel says. “But it also ensures that tasks that would otherwise be allocated to staff are handled with technology.”

For more information visit

Sponsored Content