Food

Benefits of Automation and Digital Offerings in Restaurant Spaces

bbq Chicken

In restaurants, one persisting issue operators are facing is labor. Hiring and retaining staff have been challenges in recent years, and labor costs are on the rise as well. Additionally, an increased focus on cleanliness and food safety has been top of mind for both operators and consumers alike. Some operators are facing these challenges with innovation, however—adding automation as well as incorporating more digital offerings that help reduce staff intervention in processes are becoming more widespread, and these automated processes have an array of benefits.

Consistency

When processes are automated by computer or robot, especially food prep processes, consistency becomes an easier goal to attain. By removing the potential for natural human error, operators know that every order is made to brand specifications and will taste and look the same from location to location. This means sauces are applied uniformly (never too much or too little), that proteins are cooked to perfect doneness every time and sides such as french fries aren’t over- or under-cooked. The consistency, along with other benefits that automation can provide, leads to something operators need to survive in the restaurant business—customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is the difference between whether someone comes back again and tells their friends about where they ate, or whether they go to a restaurant once and never again. Different factors affect customer satisfaction—things like whether the food is consistently delicious, how long they have to wait to get it and what the overall experience is like all contribute to whether someone will become a repeat customer. Automation can help boost customer satisfaction by not only ensuring consistent food preparation and flavor, but by reducing the amount of time customers have to wait for their orders. In restaurants where processes are automated, such as at popular Korean fried chicken franchise bb.q Chicken’s BSK (bb.q. Smart Kitchen) model in Englewood, N.J., staff-customer interactions are limited—diners order through a self-service kiosk or the restaurant website, and the ordering process allows diners to browse the menu, customize their orders and make payments directly. Once the order is received, employees in the kitchen prepare the order, then place it in the order’s designated food locker, where the customer can pick it up without interacting with an employee. The system allows for a seamless customer experience with enhanced convenience, easy customization and reduced wait times.

Labor savings

The last few years have presented challenge after challenge when it comes to staffing and labor. From minimum wage hikes to employee shortages—especially in the hospitality and foodservice industries—operators have had to seek out new ways to attend to all of the tasks and consumer demands at their restaurants. One thing many are exploring is the use of technology—automation, robots and kiosks are all great ways for operators to complete the same tasks an employee would, and by automating these tasks, onsite staff can focus more on creating an exceptional customer experience. In settings where there are no on-site staff attending to customers, automation means labor costs are drastically reduced while output remains the same. Bottom line? A bigger bottom line for restaurants.

Reduced waste and food cost savings

Finally, automation can help reduce waste. By automating processes such as food preparation, operators can use data and specific measurements to ensure only the necessary amount of an ingredient is used. While an extra tablespoon or so of sauce may not seem like a lot, multiplied by hundreds of orders, it can make food costs rise for a restaurant. Similarly, using data to determine how much of an ingredient should be prepared ahead of time can help reduce the amount of leftover, unsold food at the end of a shift or the end of a day.

Labor and cost savings are of course the two most attractive benefits when implementing automation and technology solutions in restaurants, but by optimizing processes all over, such as how bb.q Chicken is implementing technology in their units, operators stand to boost customer experience and satisfaction, reduce waste and ensure consistency across locations. Bb.q Chicken is also exploring the use of a robot arm and automated beverage machine to facilitate minimal human contact. For franchisees looking for a profitable franchise, bb.q Chicken is at the forefront of implementing technology solutions to boost satisfaction and profits.

To learn more about bb.q Chicken’s franchise solutions incorporating technology, visit https://franchise.bbqchicken.com/start-your-journey/. 

This post is sponsored by BB.Q Chicken

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