7 Restaurant Automation Tools to Streamline Your Operations

The trend in hospitality management is restaurant automation. Whether it’s labor shortages, unreliable supply chains or rising costs, restaurants have been shifting their operations to find ways to circumvent the increasing number of challenges they face.

Ryan Bloom, founder and CEO of Tejano BBQ Burrito, makes smarter purchasing decisions using their point of sales technology and analytics. This allows him to monitor inventory levels and keep costs down. “It has powered our business a lot in terms of analyzing product usage and having proper purchasing and preparation in place. It has certainly helped us to look at the analytics of when people are purchasing and not just what they’re purchasing,” adds Bloom. 

Many of these urgent challenges can be solved by automating restaurant operations. This helps reduce complexity and errors, as well as simplify complex processes. Automating repetitive tasks in restaurant operations can help streamline your operation and allow you to concentrate on those areas where you need human interaction.  

In this blog we’ll cover:

State of the Hospitality Industry Report

Discover how international labor shortages are affecting hospitality businesses.

Restaurant automation: What are its benefits and how can they be improved? 

The use of technology within the hospitality industry to automate different operations in a restaurant is called Restaurant Automation. Automation can refer to anything that involves robotics, such as using them in the back room or using point of sales software to automate customer orders. 

I think that it’s evident that technology is going to continue being the engine of hospitality and almost any business, frankly.

Ryan Bloom, Founder, Tejano BBQ Burrito

Restaurants have experienced a significant shift in how they operate their business, from supply chain disruptions and labor issues. With full-service restaurants employing fewer workers than ever before, labor shortages are a major problem in this industry. 6.2 fewer kitchen employeesOver the past years. Restaurants with a limited workforce have often had to resort automatization to maintain their business operations. There are approximately 50 percent of U.S. RestaurantsAs a way to address labor shortage issues, this technology is expected to be utilized in the near future. In addition to this, adding technology for restaurant operations is almost essential in order to survive. 87% industry operatorsIt is clear that technology adoption was crucial throughout this pandemic.

The benefits of restaurant automation 

  • Simplifies and optimizes the operations 
  • Operational costs are reduced 
  • Eliminates user error
  • Reducing waste
  • Limited staff is required for certain jobs
  • This reduces turnaround times
  • Improves customer satisfaction

Different types of restaurant automation tools 

There are many types of restaurant automation tools that can be used to help you run your business. You can automate repetitive tasks in the kitchen or let your customers order their food when you have a small staff. There are different kinds of restaurant technology to suit each situation. 

Front of the House

Rear of the house

Front-of-house automation

Many tools can be used by restaurants to alleviate labor shortages. Customers have more control of their order and staff are free to take care of other customers. 

Customer-facing displays 

Customer-facing displaysThey are commonly used in fast-food restaurants and cafes for transparency and visibility during order processing. Displays are located at the counter to give customers an overview of their order. They include information such as subtotals, taxes percentages, and ordered items. Customers can see and pay for their order from the customer-facing display, which makes it easier to complete the checkout. 

Digital menus and QR codes

You can order QR codesIt has been a common feature in restaurant ordering. This QR code is often found at every table. Customers are able to use their smartphone’s camera to view a digital version of the menu. The digital menus are available immediately after customers have sat down. They don’t need to wait to be handed a paper menu. Restaurants may also offer digital menus. Online orderingCustomers can now view their digital menu and order right from their smartphones. Customers have more control of their orders with digital menus, and staff can focus on providing an enjoyable experience rather than taking orders or bringing in order information. 

Point of Sale (POS) cloud-based 

Restaurant automation wouldn’t be possible or complete without a Cloud-based POS. Restaurant platforms that are the best will automatically automate your most complex parts. Looking at your data and pulling a report doesn’t need to be a lengthy and complex process. Get reports via email. You can also view your dashboard frequently. You can manage everything, from ordering orders to paying out payments through your point of sale. 

Takeout and delivery integrations

While DeliveryTraditionally, delivery was limited to quick-service establishments. Recently however restaurants from bars and fine dining have started offering takeout and delivery. However, delivery is becoming more complicated with the inclusion of many third-party suppliers. It can prove difficult to handle incoming orders with no automation. This can lead to long waiting times and errors. Having a POS system that syncs all your orders will make it easy for your employees to order delivery or takeout even on the busiest days.  

Back-of-house automation 

All aspects of food preparation are handled by the staff at the back-of house. A lot of the tasks performed in the kitchen are possible to automate, including receiving order confirmations from front-of-house staff. These tools can reduce workloads while allowing staff to concentrate on quality food preparation.

Kitchen displays

kitchen display system (KDS)This allows communication to be made between the back and front of houses. The back of the house houses a kitchen display system. You can quickly view all orders and get started. With a kitchen display, front-of-house staff doesn’t need to run back and forth bringing tickets and the kitchen staff automatically receives a clear view of what was ordered, reducing mistakes, clutter and paper consumption. Online orders can also be placed on a kitchen display system. Orders made online can be delivered directly to the kitchen staff and expedite production. 

Automated inventory control 

Management of restaurant inventoryIt is an important part of managing a hotel business. Automating inventory can reduce waste and simplify the process. Integrating inventory management into your point-of-sale system can make it easier to keep track of all your ingredients. It will let you see how many of each ingredient you have used, what you still have, and what you should order. You can automate your inventory and eliminate tedious spreadsheets and stock counting. Staff will be able to focus on more important tasks when automated inventory management is in place. 

Robotic kitchens 

A robot can help make restaurants more productive. While this type of restaurant automation might be cost-prohibitive, it’s still an interesting avenue to study if you have a lot of repetitive kitchen processes, quick turnaround times and if you are constantly facing staffing shortages. You can find more information here Assistive robotic kitchen for flipping burgersTo Automatic salad machinesRobotics is becoming a more common tool in the restaurant business. It can streamline processes and decrease dependence on employees for repetitive tasks. 

Small BizSense automates your restaurant 

Whether you’re low on front-of-house staff, or looking to simplify manual processes, there’s a solution for your unique restaurant needs. It’s time to take on modern-day challenges with future-proof solutions. Chatt with our expertsFind out more about Small Biz Sense.    

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.