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Robots are taking over your restaurant — How digital technology is impacting hospitality (or not)

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Robbert Bregman

Nowadays digital technology is everywhere. It’s impacting our day to day life. The way we communicate with friends via WhatsApp or the way we book travel via AirBnb. Even the way we do banking has changed significantly, something that is so personal and important to us.

However, the whole digital revolution is somehow passing by the hospitality industry. The way a restaurant is operating nowadays is not very differently compared to let’s say 15 years ago. But are robots and digital technology now also knocking on the door of your restaurant?

Customer needs are constantly changing. These needs are also changing when people visit your restaurant or order your food. Think of allergies of people, or special diets that are followed. But also the need for service is changing. People expect service anytime anywhere, and that’s in your restaurant no difference. You have to adapt to these needs and improve what I call the “guest experience” to win the hearts and minds of your guests, otherwise you will be losing them.

Other industries have made this shift towards customer or guest experience already today. Think about what is happening in retail. The owner of a traditional mom & pop store needs to work harder and harder for less and less. Stores are disappearing. Why? Because buying at Amazon is more convenient. Amazon delivers a personalized experience with service when we want it and how we want it. Compare that to the hospitality business, nobody likes to wait to place an order, or even worse wait to pay the bill. Why can’t we fix this with digital technology?

There are some great examples how digital technology is used in the hospitality industry to increase guest experience. For example, there is a burger place in San Francisco called Creator. They will make you a burger while using a fully automated, robotic machine. You can choose between different burgers and customize it the way you want it. It’s fast and convenient. Another example is McDonalds which acquired Dynamic Yield recently. This is a company that can create more personalized experiences for drive-true’s.



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