When thinking about digitalization in the catering industry, the topics of contact data collection, online booking and delivery systems are currently particularly present. But digitalization can do much more! (Read here what a lasting impact Corona will leave on the catering industry).
There is also enormous potential in the everyday life of many caterers to make processes more efficient with the help of digital solutions and thus free up additional capacities. In this article, you can read about the possibilities you have in terms of digitalization, what you need to pay special attention to and what mistakes you should avoid.
But first things first:
Why digitalize at all?
The much better question is: Why not? Many people are initially somewhat hesitant about digitalization, true to the motto “never change a running system”. We don’t want to contradict that. However, the past has shown:
Progress cannot be stopped. And that is a good thing!
Consider, for example, the introduction of the first electronic cash registers. This innovation, groundbreaking at the time, is now part of our everyday lives. No one would discuss any more whether it is worth using an electronic system instead of paper and pen in a canteen. The aim of these measures is therefore not to simply throw your existing systems out the window. Rather, it is about supplementing them wisely and optimizing them step by step with the help of the current possibilities.
Furthermore, the demands on modern canteens are constantly increasing. Specially to fulfill time-consuming and cost-intensive trends such as fresh produce and regionality, it is important to relieve your kitchen staff. This is where digital processes come into play. The time won can be used directly for attending to the guests and preparing meals. This increases customer satisfaction and, not least, turnover. But your employees also benefit from digitalization! By freeing up their time, they can take care of the tasks that are urgent, without getting unnecessarily stressed. Especially at peak times, two extra helping hands may be welcome, but are tied up at the checkout. Modern self-checkout systems can help in this case.
In addition, a survey conducted by the Metro Group found that more than half of all decision-makers already see the potential of digitalization for their gastronomy. This includes, for example, an increase in awareness, but also an improved image, higher guest frequency and more efficient work processes.
What does the digitalization of my canteen cost?
This question cannot be answered in general terms and depends on a wide variety of factors. Basically, it is important to understand that the costs incurred for digitalization are long-term profitable investments. Now you still have the opportunity to jump on the rolling train before it hits full speed.
For example, you can lay the foundation today by collecting data on quality control or food consumption. This will make it much easier for you to benefit from its analysis later on and to remain competitive. You should bear in mind that reconstruction does not mean digitalization. However, if a renovation is imminent, it is a good opportunity to technologically modernize both the kitchen and the dining room. Think about little things like power outlets, sockets, or a well-developed Wi-Fi network.
But back to the costs:
With good digitalization solutions, you will quickly save more money than you spend at the beginning. Many solutions aim to free up capacities in order to increase turnover in the long term. Nevertheless, the initial investment is a relevant factor for many decision-makers. Here are some figures:
For investments starting at around 10,000 euros, you can already scan the food consumption of your canteen. This data is then analyzed with the help of artificial intelligence and thus food waste is avoided. You can save even more with an AI-based self-checkout system. Here, just a few thousand euros are enough to digitalize your canteen and increase your staff efficiency. Another approach is to digitalize your personnel planning. Here, there are offers starting at 750€, even with free test phases. For more ideas on digital innovations, see our list below.
What are the possibilities for digitalization?
Human Resource Management
To build a good relationship with your customers, feedback is the most important key to success. With SayWayterminals, it is easier than ever to collect and evaluate this feedback.
Payment & Checkout
Food waste reduction
Which digitalization measures are the right ones for my canteen?
The canteen is the heart of a company and should therefore also reflect its values.
You are the technology leader in your industry and advertise with innovative solutions? Let’s bring them into your canteen! Employees will be inspired to think outside of their offices, and you can impress external guests as well.
Do you have an immediate problem that you would like to solve digitally?
Especially the increasing tendency towards snackification, regionality and freshness presents many caterers with problems such as staff shortages or too few flexible opening hours. Digital solutions can help.
How do your budget and the desired measures fit together?
Many innovations, such as a modern self-checkout terminal or a digital staff management system, are probably cheaper than you would first assume. But you may also find one or two creative ways to boost your budget. For example, many innovations currently have a lot of media attention, from which your company can also benefit. Your marketing department would certainly not want to miss out on such a placement.