Franchise Restauranteurs Increasingly See Technology as a Crucial Ingredient

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Chris Poelma

You’ve likely heard the oft-repeated stat that 60 percent of restaurants typically fail within the first year and that 80 percent typically go under within five.

While franchise restaurants tend to face better odds, smart culinary entrepreneurs of all stripes are increasingly leveraging technology in their bids to better their chances. According to The 2015 NCR Restaurant Technology Pulse, a majority of restaurant owners and managers – 67 percent – believe technology has a “direct impact” on increased revenue and viability. That’s a legit number to consider when planning how not to become yet another flash in the pan.

NCR Small Business commissioned the survey, which polled owners and managers of franchise eateries and small independent restaurants, to uncover how technology is used and perceived in the foodservice marketplace. After seeing the results, it’s clear that franchise restaurants – from fast casuals to cafés – are becoming much more efficient and sophisticated thanks to high-tech tools.

Mobile POS Beats out Mobile Apps

One of the primary benefits of technology is its ability to improve performance. Eighty-nine percent of franchise restauranteurs, for example, attributed cash registers and credit card readers to boosting productivity at their business.

Meanwhile, 84 percent said Wi-Fi improves efficiency, and 78 percent said the same about mobile POS solutions. Further, mobile POS solutions outranked accounting software, inventory management and mobile apps when it  came down to which solutions restaurant owners and management rely on most.

Beyond more flexibility at the point of sale, restaurant owners and managers want mobile point-of-sale solutions that are easy to implement and can manage a variety of other operational needs like inventory, loyalty and even email marketing. This is especially important as even franchise restaurants sometimes run low on resources.

Here’s a quick glance at how mobile POS solutions and other business technologies stack up in the eyes of survey respondents:

•  Cash registers (91 percent)

•  Wi-Fi (74 percent)

•  Mobile point-of-sale (60 percent)

•  Accounting software (58 percent)

•  Inventory management (54 percent)

•  Time clock software (53 percent)

•  Voice and broadband services (52 percent)

•  Mobile apps (42 percent)

More Money, But More Tech Problems

While technology often yields positive results around profits and efficiency, only 31 percent of restaurant owners and managers have an internal employee dedicated to managing it for their businesses. In addition, a majority of respondents (83 percent) ranked costs to maintain or upgrade technology as one of the biggest obstacles that keep them from adopting new technologies.

Although technology can be challenging for some restaurant owners and managers to implement, the benefits absolutely outweigh the potential costs. Tech tools that are intuitive and comprehensive can enhance business operations and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.

Restaurants “Like” Having an Online Presence

Speaking of customers, more restaurants are using technology to better connect with current and potential patrons. Almost 70 percent of survey respondents have accounts on social media, meaning they can easily engage with diners who are “liking” and commenting about their experiences. Moreover, survey respondents cited Facebook as the best place to advertise or offer deals for their restaurants.

Besides social media, 63 percent of restaurant owners shared that they have traditional websites. This is a great sign for both the restaurant industry and foodies alike. With a web presence, restaurateurs can increase their exposure and give even more potential customers a taste of their stories.

Reserve a Space for Tech that Serves ROI

Ultimately, restaurant owners and managers tackle a variety of business challenges from inventory management to customer service to marketing. While late to the tech buffet compared to other industries, restaurant owners and managers are adding tablets, Wi-Fi, apps and other tools to their must-have menus.

As the need to keep up with the pace of innovation grows, it’s important that franchise restaurants leap into tech in  a strategic and conscious manner that enables them to streamline processes, modernize operations and, ultimately, drive revenue.

Chris Poelma is GM and president of NCR Small Business and NCR Silver.

www.ncrsilver.com