VSAG on Cyber Watch: Balancing New Technologies with Tradition

Sure, we all try to stay on top of our tech game and offer guests the latest and greatest in restaurant technologies. But, where does the need to wow guests with top tech features and applications go too far and we lose site of the one element we can’t manufacture… making a meaningful, personal connection?

A recent National Restaurant Association’s To Use or Not Use Technology study found that even though customers today, especially millennials, expect technology, like online ordering and mobile payments, to be part of their dining experience they cited that the human experience is still important to them. In fact, 49 percent surveyed prefer to deal directly with staff and 44 percent feel technology interferes with service.

So, how do we, as an industry focused on hospitality, achieve balance between integrating modern, tech advances with the importance of guest-staff personal contact?

The short answer: technology most likely won’t leave a guest with the same lasting impression, experience, and appreciation they’d receive directly from your team, but there are ways to incorporate enhanced service through technology into your business and still satisfy guests’ need for interaction.

Finding that balance is key.

We’re all for using technology to create informative, user friendly tools so guests can gain information about your business and communicate with you through interactive systems. Utilizing elements like interesting website design that spotlights your brand, menus, and restaurant loyalty programs at the click of a button, featuring an easy to use online reservations system, quick online ordering of gift cards or To Go services, and the like, are all good business practices. But, look to balance those tech-driven features with a full-service training program that emphasizes superior, personalized service (i.e. acknowledging a loyalty guest’s birthday, servers who not only know when a guest has an allergy, but also recommend delicious menu substitutes, etc.), and your business will be better for it.

Working to balance technology with personal contact will resonate with guests, making a difference in the streamlining of all your brand touch points.