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June 6, 2018 Bar and Restaurant 2.0: Top 10 Ways to Bring Tech Tableside

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Technology has transformed the way we live, including how we eat, drink, and dine out. That’s why Buzztime teamed up with Bbot, a leader in foodservice robotics. Together, we’re sharing 10 innovative ways to bring bar and restaurant technology to your tables.

But first, let’s clear the air. No, machines won’t be running your restaurant or bar. The right tech only enhances the personal connection between you and your patrons.

These 10 types of bar and restaurant technology make every guest’s visit feel more personal. It’s all about treating them to a more customized experience.

The 3 Best Reasons to Bring in Bar and Restaurant Technology

Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Experience

More than just food and drinks – bar and restaurant technology provides new, exciting experiences that attract guests. In fact, 61% would rather spend money on an experience than an item, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Give the People What They Want

With 77% of Americans owning a smartphone today, your patrons are already “tech connected.” By offering bar and restaurant technology, you’re making them feel right at home. Plus, 73% of diners agree: tech improves their visit to your venue.

Bar and Restaurant Technology Increase Sales and Productivity

Guests aren’t the only ones who benefit from bar and restaurant technology. Four in 5 owners believe tech makes their operation more productive and increases sales.

Top 10 Ways to Bring Bar and Restaurant Technology Tableside

1) Marketing & Loyalty

Embrace the “Phones Out” Dining Style

Having a phone out at the table isn’t a “social grace.” Some say it’s just rude. But when a guest is taking photos of their food? That’s publicity for your biz. So, embrace and encourage social sharing! Create a unique hashtag using your business name. Then…

Run Interactive Contests to Incentivize Social Sharing

Keep your business in the picture with a weekly photo contest. Use that unique hashtag to search guest photos on Facebook and Instagram. Then select one guest each week to receive a gift card.

Go Beyond Facebook

Is Facebook the only social media bar and restaurant technology you’re using? Add in another platform. Snapchat and Instagram are popular with millennials, but under-utilized in the bar and restaurant business. For example, 78% of 18-24 year-olds are on Snapchat, and 1 in 3 Americans of all ages are on Instagram, according to a March 2018 Pew Research Report. Use these 10 Snapchat tips for restaurants and bars to get started.

2) Loyalty Bar and Restaurant Technology

Think Mobile First

Overall, a loyalty program is a smart business move. A VISA/Bond Brand Loyalty study of over 28,000 North Americans found that 81% of loyalty program members will keep buying from that business.

But now it’s time to ditch those paper or plastic loyalty cards. Over half of the survey respondents said they prefer mobile loyalty apps they can download to their phone.

This rise in bar and restaurant technology is good news for you. A loyalty app lets guests track their reward status in real time – right at the table. Research shows that if they’re close to earning a reward, guests may spend up to 39% more.

How to Create a Mobile App

Mobile app bar and restaurant technology is more affordable than ever. You can easily create your own app using online tools like AppiePie and App Institute. First with your POS provider, many

3) Tap Into Beer Apps

Serve craft beer? Discover the latest bar and restaurant technology for beer lovers: interactive apps like Taphunter and Untappd. The craft crowd uses these apps to review and brag about the beers they’ve tried.

Users can also “check in” where they get their hands on the latest trending beer (known as a “whale” in craft beer lingo).

Ultimately, this type of bar and restaurant technology turns beer drinking into a social game, giving your venue free publicity.

4) In-Venue Digital Marketing

Create a dynamic, energizing atmosphere with digital signage.

This easy-to-use bar and restaurant technology can turn your existing TV screens into customizable, eye-catching ads. Any screen can become a bright, vibrant billboard.

Thousands of venues use this bar and restaurant technology to spotlight events, promote menu items, and even honor customers or employees of the month.

A study by Nielsen found that digital signage can increase sales of promoted items by 33%.

5) Bring Bar and Restaurant Technology to the Table with Tablet Menus

Instead of printed menus, many bars and restaurants are handing guests tablet menus instead. Brilliant photos and vivid descriptions can bring your menu to life.

Touchscreen Bar and Restaurant Technology Invites Exploration

The best tablet menus include touchscreen capabilities so guests can truly explore your menu. For example, tablet menus let guests click a button under menu items to see more add-ons and extras than even your best server could recite. Of course, the server is there to answer any questions along the way.

Customization is Key

A digital menu lets guests build out and customize their “dream” meal or drink. It’s a personal experience that caters to each diner’s preferences.

Customization is key for millennials: over half are more loyal if a business lets them create “something unique to me.”

This bar and restaurant technology also makes menu browsing easier for those following a specific dietary lifestyle like vegans, gluten-free diners, and dieters.

Authentic Upselling

The best tablet bar and restaurant technology includes automated upselling. The software “suggests” an uspell in a natural way. “Want to add chicken to your salad for an extra $3?” Even drinks can be customized and upsold.

6) Guest-Facing POS

Take your tablet-based bar and restaurant technology one step further. Bring in Buzztime tablets the let guests order from a digital menu and securely pay.

On-Demand Ordering

With this bar and restaurant technology, the server takes the initial order. Then, the tablets stay at the table so guests can place instant reorders – without flagging down a server. It’s convenient and “all about the customer” – putting THEIR needs first. Reorders go straight to the kitchen and interface with most POS systems.

Check Please!

On-demand checkout is a BIG draw for guests – who dread waiting for the check. When they want to go…they can go with tablet payment bar and restaurant technology. This also turns tables faster, but guest satisfaction increases…

Put it On My Tablet

Payment is secure on tablets with an EMV (“chip”) card reader or NFC mobile payment reader that accepts SamsungPay and ApplePay. Because the guest’s credit card doesn’t leave the table – fraud risk is reduced. That’s important to your guests. According to an Accenture Loyalty study, 85% of guests are more loyal to businesses that protect their financial data.

7) Robotic Drink Delivery

Remember, the robots won’t be running your restaurant or replacing your bartenders. But with Bbot’s robotic drink delivery, they’re freed up to chat and build relationships with patrons.

Here’s how this innovative bar and restaurant technology works. Guests place orders on their smartphones. The bartender gets the order, whips up the drinks, then puts them in a device that robotically delivers the drinks!

Not only does this bar and restaurant technology streamline operations, it provides an exciting experience just waiting to be shared on social media…

Check out this video to see Bbot’s robotic bar and restaurant technology in action.

8) Tablet Entertainment

Serve food and drinks with a side of fun, and give guests a reason to choose your venue. In fact, 70% of guests today view dining out as an opportunity for entertainment, according to a study by AT&T and Technomic.

Turn to tablet bar and restaurant technology to incorporate fun into every visit…

Arcade Games and Trivia

The Buzztime tablets that come with digital menus and customer facing payment technology, also serve up fun and games to guests.

Between courses, guests can challenge each other in trivia or play solo in a digital arcade. This entertaining bar and restaurant technology turns wait time…into play time. An independent Nielsen study showed these players spend 21% more per table check than the average guest.

Live Trivia with a Twist

Live trivia night is trending at bars and restaurants – but most hire an outside host. Instead, the latest bar and restaurant technology lets your staff rock the mic, giving them a chance to bond with your guests. Tablets can be used as scoring devices, and questions are shown on TV screens.

9) Live Streaming Events

Live events bring real-time action to your bar or restaurant. Just as customers are cutting cable at home in order to “stream” live events and content through the Internet, streaming bar and restaurant technology lets you do the same.

Quick note: you can’t stream Netflix, HBO, or Showtime – same with Hulu and Sling. Those streaming services are currently just for home use.

So, what can you stream? Facebook live streamed baseball games, YouTube Live and Twitch TV esports (video games), and Buzztime real-time trivia competitions.

Fight Night for the Win

One example of a live streamed event is “fight night.” Big fights like Mayweather vs. McGregor are worth paying for the rights to stream the event. But do it right to stay safe legally! To stream live UFC fights, you must subscribe to Joe Hand Promotions.

According to Joe Hand Promotions, 93% of UFC fans return at least once to the same bar in the next six months on a non-UFC night. It’s proof that the right bar and restaurant technology can boost loyalty.

E is for Esports

ESports are another big live streaming opportunity: video games are now officially a spectator sport. Just look to the star gamers of the popular video game, Fortnite.

Some bars have event built their entire concept around streaming video games or hosting tournaments, known as “barcraft.”

10) Free and Fast Wi-Fi

Toast POS surveyed over 2,000 restaurant guests regarding which bar and restaurant technology is most important to them.

Free wi-fi came out on top.

With free and fast wi-fi, guests can indulge in social media (sharing those Instagram-worthy pics of your food) without eating their data. A strong wi-fi signal is also critical if you want to host esports gaming events or live stream any content.

To up your free wi-fi game, try Yelp Wi-Fi. It requires guests to review your biz or provide an email before logging on. So yes, you’re giving away wi-fi. But you get something in return.

4 Tips for Introducing New Bar and Restaurant Technology

  1. Make some noise when you bring in new bar and restaurant technology. Alert local media outlets with a 1-page press release.
  2. Offer incentives to guests who try out your new tech like a $5 gift card or a free appetizer. You could even require them to post a pic on social media using your new bar and restaurant technology
  3. Train your team…to train your guests! New tech can come with a learning curve. Show your team the ropes first, then ask them to walk guests through the new technology in an exciting, friendly way. exciting introduction so guests feel the same way.
  4. Use an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey – or even use those touchscreen tablets – to run a short survey. That way, you can measure the success of your new bar and restaurant technology. You can also ask patrons which types of tech they want to see.

Change is the only constant in the foodservice business. Bar and restaurant technology is evolving fast. Come along for the ride to improve your operation and give guests an even better in-venue experience.

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