Restaurant owners are increasingly wary of the promises that mobile technology offers, according to a study conducted by Oracle Food and Beverage.
The report found that 62 percent of restaurant owners think they won’t be able to keep up with technological advancement; 59 percent worry they will be obsoleted by more tech-savvy competitors, and 18 percent fear their business doesn’t feature enough technology to be competitive.
These fears aren’t unfounded either. As the technology increasingly grips the industry, traditional means of conducting business fall by the wayside. These can include quality of both service and food. And recent customer trends seem to heighten fears that this is becoming truer with each innovation.
Off-premise and third-party delivery systems are booming because of a growing trend toward on-demand service among restaurant consumers, according to Restaurant Business Online. The competition to fulfill the on-demand space is becoming more crowded every year, with behemoths like GrubHub and Uber Eats leading the way. Smaller companies are looking to find ways to improve the speed of their deliveries in order to keep up. This places a growing demand on restaurants to fulfill tickets quicker, oftentimes leading to sacrificing wholesome ingredients for pre-made ones that cut time and costs.
Another way restaurants are cutting costs is by utilizing mobile and tablet-friendly technology to book reservations. According to Oracle’s report, over 86 percent of restaurant owners who were surveyed said they saw significant labor cost savings by utilizing technology. But this move can conflict with brands that want to be known as a community-centric rather than expedient.
If you’re running a mom-n-pop café, you may not care as much about expediency because you want your customers to mingle and forge a relationship with you and the business. Conversely, restaurants that favor quick service over relationships are often the ones that utilize the latest technology to appease their clientele. There is nothing superior or inferior about either setup. What’s important is that the model is sustainable for both the business owner and the community they serve.
Being cautious of technology doesn’t make you a bad business owner. It makes you a rational one. Technology is a breeding ground for the keeping-up-with-the-joneses mentality, which is a dangerous way for business owners in any industry to think. The newest toy on the market that has the brightest lights and makes the loudest sounds isn’t always the best for everyone to play with. In fact, some will find that toy to be annoying. As long as you’re having fun playing with the toys you have, what else matters? If the doors are open and there’s money in the bank, you’re a success—with or without the aid of technology.