No industry is immune to technological advances, and in the restaurant industry, there are plenty of exciting new technologies that can improve the dining experience for guests and streamline processes for staff. While restaurants in certain areas, including Europe and Japan, are early adopters of these advances, restaurateurs in Canada are notoriously more resistant to change.
Technological Advances in the Restaurant Industry
What are these exciting technologies restaurateurs in other areas have started implementing? Some of the most popular and useful technologies include:
- Virtual reality (VR) training for staff
- Interactive restaurant tables
- Bluetooth food temperature sensors
VR training shifts the learning environment for your new employees from your restaurant to a virtual version of it. Instead of a new hire shadowing a more experienced employee for the night, potentially slowing a veteran employee down or making costly mistakes with your food, they can slip on a VR headset and have a risk-free training session. This training can include checking out the restaurant, watching simulations of servers and customers interacting, and playing games designed to get the new hire up to speed.
An interactive table is one of those technologies that makes you feel like you’re in the future the first time you use it. These touchscreen tables let guests browse a digital version of your menu, order food and drinks, and even play games. Since the tables are designed for restaurant use, they’re resistant to heat and spills. An alternative to the interactive table is providing tablets at every table, which can perform the same types of tasks.
Monitoring and logging food temperatures are important for safety and minimizing waste. While this is typically done manually be employees, Bluetooth sensors can take and record food temperatures much more quickly. You can set these sensors up to record temperatures automatically and notify if any foods are past the acceptable range.
Why Are Restaurant Owners Reluctant to Adopt New Technologies?
The most significant reasons why Canadian restaurateurs have a trepidation about adopting new technologies are the costs and risk involved. The restaurant industry is a competitive one with low profit margins and plenty of common pitfalls that can spell doom for a small restaurant business, which leads to a heavy emphasis on risk management and keeping costs down.
With an average pre-tax profit margin of 4.2 percent for their businesses, restaurateurs who spend too much could easily end up in the red. The average margins are even lower in areas with higher rents, with Ontario restaurants in particular having the slimmest margins. Since these new technologies are still expensive to implement, it’s understandable for restaurateurs to consider the ramifications if there isn’t a solid return on their investment.
The good news is that as technology advances, the costs to implement these innovations gets much lower. As that happens and the larger restaurant chains incorporate new technologies, small restaurant businesses can get on board with much less risk.
New technology can make a big difference for any restaurant. If you have the money to cover it, you may want to consider adopting the technologies that you think could help your restaurant the most. Or, you can wait for these technologies to get less expensive and more widespread throughout Canada first.