How to Keep the Human Touch in Your Restaurant Amid Technology Transformation

Gaining technology doesn’t have to mean losing your brand’s personal touch.

When you think of quick service restaurant technology, what comes to mind? Perhaps you first think of a point of sale terminal, a drive thru timer, kitchen screens, or back office software. But these diverse quick service restaurant solutions are all futile without the people that use them to power restaurant transformation. Ultimately, people rest at the heart of your technology landscape, so even the most powerful technology is only as valuable as it is usable. 

When you are undergoing technology transformation, how do you ensure that you retain the human touch? And how can you be sure that technologies are functional, usable, and valuable?

Doing so requires careful consideration of the needs and priorities of various QSR stakeholders. As Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology—not the other way around.” Let’s take a look at some of the needs of the stakeholders that are typically affected by restaurant technology adoption.

Restaurant Crew Members

First up is your crew. As the people interfacing with your technologies on the front lines, crew members are integral to each restaurant’s success. Technology has the power to increase efficiency in your restaurant, but in order for crews to unleash its full potential, QSR technology must be highly intuitive and usable and require little to no training. 

Restaurant Managers

Next up is the restaurant manager. Restaurant managers seek a unified, technology-enabled view into restaurant KPIs that empowers them to improve efficiency, accountability, and performance. In order to prove useful for restaurant managers, a technology must be purposeful and practical—delivering the specific functionality managers need to do their jobs better, without getting bogged down in unnecessary numbers and reports. Managers often deal with more complex tasks and technologies like inventory or scheduling. The back office software they use should, ideally, offer inline help in the form of direct links to online help forums, articles and/or videos.

Franchise Owners

Third is the franchise owner. Franchise owners are tasked with maximizing profitability and performance on the go—often across hundreds of restaurant locations at once. For the busy franchisee, remote access to restaurant KPIs and operational data is essential. In addition, franchise owners seek technologies that can be deployed and leveraged efficiently—without disrupting operations or profitability.

Restaurant Guests

The restaurant guest is the ultimate test of your technology improvements as you seek to give every guest a great experience, in every channel. 

“There are ways we can use good design to avoid stripping the humanity out of food ordering,” said Andy Grinstaff, Manager, Product Management, Xenial, speaking at the 2019 Xenial User Conference, while showcasing the self-order solution that Xenial developed for Panda Express.

Today’s guests operate with an immediacy mindset, and they seek brands that can deliver highly personalized and consistent experiences. In order to appeal to today’s guests, quick service restaurant technology must be effective, proven to enhance quality and service; and engaging, likely to deliver memorable experiences.

A Human-Centered Approach

Intuitive. Usable. Purposeful. Practical. Accessible. Efficient. Effective. Proven. Engaging. These are the characteristics of a human-centered approach to quick service restaurant technology. Understanding them and achieving them requires a different kind of technology partner—one that is focused on listening to your needs and solving the real challenges you face. Such a partner must put user experience at the forefront.

At Xenial, we have an entire user experience team to help us keep the human at the center of everything we do. Whether it’s ensuring up-to-date, accurate help and support content for our  users or ensuring excellent ordering experiences via our self-order kiosks, Xenial works hard to help humans be human, and to ensure that technology helps humans in the ways it’s intended to.

Your (Human-first) QSR Technology Partner

Our product development efforts begin with a real understanding of each QSR stakeholder’s needs, and how they can be achieved in the fast-paced restaurant environment. 

What are your service modernization and technology transformation goals? We’re here to help. Contact us, and one of our experts will be in touch. 

Robotic Hand image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay