Palate Pleasures – Business Intelligence

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If it can’t be booked or bought online, it probably hasn’t been invented yet …

This is the catchphrase of our times and indeed, it takes some serious hunting to find such goods and services that truly and solely require human interaction of the person to person kind.

Generally, unless you have a problem (and even then, many can be solved via email, or FAQs on websites) – it is incredibly easy to avoid picking up the phone at all, let alone face to face contact with a real person.

Booking online is also becoming increasingly simple and adaptable to the various devices we happen to have on hand at the time, i.e. most interfaces offer a smartphone app which enables a speedier and clearer navigation through the booking process.

Gone are the days where we viewed purchasing anything over the internet with caution and suspicion – the vast majority of transactions are completely secure. Familiarity provides confidence to the notion of buying online; indeed, it is the norm rather than the exception these days.

It is with great gusto that the restaurant industry, too, has taken up the massive advantages of online booking and purchasing. This technology has enormous time saving potential in an already time-stretched business such as hospitality. The booking of tables can easily be managed online through various providers, and certainly we are encouraging our patrons to book this way – a win-win for both parties. It is extremely convenient and instantaneous for the customer, as well as freeing up the most crucial time for restaurant staff – time in the middle of lunch or dinner service that could absolutely benefit from not being interrupted by phone calls, or call-backs.

Essentially, staff are able to completely focus on those people sitting at tables in the here and now – as it so should be.

Ditto for other transactions, such as buying gift certificates for instance. We have switched to solely online transactions for these. Another time saving beauty, in which customers are able to purchase and receive their certificates instantly via email – incredibly easy, convenient and great for last minute gift buying!

What does the future hold technology wise for the restaurant industry? Surely, you say, it is all about sitting at a table and talking to a person who then delivers your meal to you.

It would appear actually, that all that space age kind of stuff with ordering on computers and robot waitpersons is no longer 20 or 50 years away, but in fact coming to a restaurant near you – and soon!

Tabletop POS (point of sale) are increasingly common – basically using a tablet like an iPad to order your meal. Ditto smartphone apps for ordering in advance – removing that frustrating element of queuing to order and waiting for it to be made.

And yes – there are robots. Mostly in Asia at present, but what they lack in character and smiliness they more than make up for in efficiency, ability to work overtime – and yep, you don’t have to pay them by the hour either!

Are they coming to Port Macquarie anytime soon? We haven’t heard any “industry” rumours, but somehow we reckon you will still be seeing the smiling, extremely human and extremely capable faces of our wonderful real people for quite a while … Phew!

Jokes aside though, these technologies have amazing benefits, already apparent. And much more potential for the future, in terms of capturing valuable data from our customers. Being able to easily look up that fantastic bottle of wine you enjoyed so much last time, knowing when your birthday is, the ability for operators to clearly see what is and isn’t working … Here is a powerful tool that helps us understand our marketplace and do the very best job we can to make sure that you are happy – and of course, well fed and watered!

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