Taking a multi-layered approach to ordering technology

There is no doubt that we live in a fast-paced technological world. To date, most restaurants have implemented some type of digital technology. With labor shortages continuing and consumers adapting to getting food at the touch of a button, innovative technologies have increased ordering efficiency, customer and employee satisfaction, and overall restaurant sales to meet these challenges.

At Zunzi’s, we’ve taken a multi-layered approach to embracing technology that has positioned our brand for success today and beyond. We implemented a new POS and management system — Toast — consisting of a table ordering and payment system, self-ordering kiosks and Toast Go Handheld POS. Now 75 percent of our sales come from QR codes for ordering and paying at the table and kiosks, leaving only 25 percent of manual orders placed by our employees. We don’t see these digital trends slowing down anytime soon, so our three-layered approach to ordering technology is here to stay.

Here are three reasons why optimizing ordering technology can positively impact your restaurant:

Each customer has a unique ordering preference

We found that ordering preferences varied by age, with those 30 and under preferring QR codes, 30–60 preferring kiosks, and 60+ preferring to order in person. We’ve seen a significant shift in restaurant ordering preferences, and a KOALA survey showed that 70 percent of respondents prefer to order via a device rather than a person when in a restaurant. In the same survey, 80 percent of those respondents preferred to use a personal ordering device over restaurant-provided devices when ordering digitally on-site.

Allowing the guest to customize their experience with these different ordering options gives users more control and leaves it up to the team member to simply fulfill those requests. Offering a variety of ordering methods can attract different consumers to your brand, whether it’s a consumer looking for a quick and easy grab-and-go experience or someone who wants to sit down with minimal human interaction. These different layers open up the opportunity to increase your reach within your local market and beyond.

Labor income and productivity increase

Our multi-layered technology approach has freed up our team members to be more productive and focus on guests. Kiosks allow team members to have a larger area to serve, ultimately allowing them to make more money. We’re also separating drink orders from food to allow servers to be less involved with the food and mainly focus on serving the customers drinks and the “HELL YEAH!” experience.

Our tips are around 16 percent, which includes online sales and sales with delivery. This allows us to use a tipping model in our business that many quick service restaurants do not have. We aim to take the best things from full service and fast casual, like tips, and combine them. This whole process is a big part of how Zunzi’s manages our labor in business.

Customers are more satisfied during peak business hours.

We always want to perform better when we get busier, not the other way around. When a guest can order at the table, all that is needed is a waiter or hostess to greet them. The guest can sit wherever they want and order however they want, giving them options on how to approach the Zunzi experience.

Nowadays, most restaurants seem to use technology to minimize the amount of labor involved in the operation, which is not Zunzi’s goal. We want to use technology to enable our existing team members to deliver a better guest experience. When we can take technology and give team members time to focus solely on service and creating a guest experience beyond the product, that ultimately leads to our “HELL YES!” experience.

No matter what stage your quick service restaurant is at in the technology space, implementing a flexible service model can improve hospitality, the work experience and overall sales. Layering in kiosks and other technology has allowed Zunzi’s to stick to our essence as a takeout, casual concept, but have a full bar experience that’s so great it makes our customers say, “HELL YES!”

Chris Smithowner of To Zunzi and Zunzibar, never put off until tomorrow what could be done today. It’s that drive that led him to become a Five Guys franchisee while still in college, opening seven locations within eight years. And it’s the same spirit that, upon his first visit to Savannah Zunzi’s Sandwich Shop in 2008, led him to declare that one day he would own the restaurant—a goal he eventually realized in 2014. Zunzi’s Franchising LLC, a newly formed subsidiary, focuses its efforts on a 10-state territory covering Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

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