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Restaurant Industry Seeing Explosive Growth In Moving to Digital

2ecc5dff30ad5f8ac1b4aae82a078b44Is digital publishing the future of menus and wine lists? A lot of restaurants today think so.

Members of the food service industry are getting increasingly creative with how they utilise digital media to present their menu and engage with their customers. Early last year, Pizza Hut piloted an interactive digital tabletop enabling customers to design their pizza on their table top, order and then play games while they wait. Last June, KFC announced that they are installing digital menus in total of over 800 stores throughout the UK. A lot more from the food industry, worldwide, are following suit.

Tablet menus are one of the smartest ways to influence the buying behavior of restaurant customers. They provide the flexibility traditional menus can’t simply do. They drive appetites by bringing menu items to life, provide the flexibility to update offerings and prices whenever required, they can engage customers in different ways while waiting for their food, and enable immediate extraction of customer feedback and intelligence. It’s no wonder, tablet computers are finding their way to restaurant tables as digital menus and drink lists.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you might be looking for new and effective solutions to display your content. Why not publish your content to tablets? Originally posted on Food Service News. Laura Michael’s story below shows you more of how tablet menus are taking restaurant experience to the next level.

At Burgers and Bottles in Eagan, owner Tony Donatell takes an on-trend approach to service. Instead of handing customers a flat paper menu listing the restaurant’s many gourmet burgers or 50-plus beers, servers direct their attention to something shinier, where with the swipe of a finger they can not just read a description of the Wisconsin Cheese Curd Burger but see the full-color, digital image in all its thick-cut bacon, white-cheddar-cheese-curds-sandwiched-between-two-grilled-patties glory.

“Having a picture of every item helps people explore the menu more,” says Donatell, who decided tablet menus were the way to go when Burgers and Bottles opened on Lone Oak Road in October 2014. “Especially with the drinks. We have a lot of craft beers and you can read about the breweries.”

Burger and Bottles’ service model is built around the tablets, with the technology meant to support servers in their role rather than lessen or eliminate that role. Guests are greeted and seated, and then given a brief intro to the iPads, which Donatell says are customized as an extension of his brand, intuitively designed and simple to use.

Still, if a customer isn’t comfortable, the server will “certainly take the order the old-fashioned way.” “Our servers are trained on recognizing people’s reactions to using the iPads,” says Donatell, also acknowledging it took some trial and error in the hiring process to find employees who were on board with tablet-style service and understood why it made sense for the business.

“We have a small space and we wanted to keep our labor down but still have a certain level of service,” explains Donatell. “And we wanted to do something unique. It fits with the style of our restaurant.”

For tablet menus to make sense for a hospitality business, says Schoenaur, they should: boost revenues, improve guest interaction, increase efficiency and provide better payment security.

“Otherwise, what’s the point?” she asks.

At Burgers and Bottles, Donatell says the response has been mainly positive, and customers are excited about using the technology and want to share feedback.

“It doesn’t judge what you eat,” Schoenaur says, smiling.

The average ticket at his restaurant is much higher than his initial projections suggested, Donatell says, although he also attributes that to a strong menu and quality concept.

The flexibility of a tablet makes it easy for restaurants to change their menus, to ‘86’ items in real time and give guests accurate choices and pricing through automated day-parting.

With a recent National Restaurant Association report showing 79 percent of consumers think technology in restaurants increases convenience and 70 percent say it improves service and accuracy, operators would be wise to embrace it to maintain relevance and build customer loyalty.

Read full story on Food Service News.

If you haven’t made your menus or brochures off-beat and measurable and accessible to a wider audience by converting it into a digital format – try it! You’ll find that a shot at digital will help you create awesome digital catalogs that drive customers further down the purchase funnel, open on muti-platform and get shared around.