What’s the Right Amount of Restaurant Tech Innovation—And Who Should Pay The Cost?

Not too long ago, four types of POS systems (all costing ten-of-thousands of dollars to implement and maintain) were the most advanced tech restaurants could choose from. But a lot has changed in the last decade as a wave of exciting technology gives restaurant franchises many opportunities to streamline processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase profits.

Exciting new products may compel restaurant leadership to invest based on the belief that it will solve all their problems. On the other hand, it could end up doing nothing but sit on the shelf with no return on investment (ROI). 

 So, what is the right amount of tech innovation?

This article offers insight into effective restaurant tech implementation—and who should pay for it (operators or franchisors.) From ghost kitchens and NFTs, to the most important element that all successful franchises have in common… keep reading to uncover your ideal tech stack.

What The Average QSR Spends On Technology—and is there an alternative?

With rising food, labor, and energy costs, franchisees must spend every dollar wisely if they want to see high ROI. Driving this point home is a survey by the National Restaurant Association, which found that 50% of U.S. restaurants prepare to get by on less revenue than they had in 2022.

As a new franchisee, one of your major decisions comes down to working with emerging brands vs well-established Franchisors (Restaurant Platform Companies.) Both have pros and cons, so here’s a breakdown of risks and rewards.

Emerging Brands

You can have a lot of freedom and potential influence over future brand decisions by joining on the ground floor.  There are usually lower up-front costs, as well.  However,  long-term success metrics are lacking—making your investment more of a gamble. 

This is especially true with technology, because it’s all on you to do the research, testing, and deal with the repercussions if it’s not a good fit. 

Established Franchisors

On the other hand, while the upfront costs are higher, the money and stress you avoid can more than compensate. Working with an experienced Franchisor (like Craveworthy Brands) means most of the work is already done for you

An established franchisor has already spent time researching, experimenting, and creating a tech stack that is proven to work. Additionally, the level of support you receive is invaluable, because Franchisors not only supply the tech—but also the training and ongoing customer support you need to thrive.


How To Ensure Your Tech Integrates—Not Frustrates 

Always remember that technology is a tool meant to help you meet operational goals. If it’s not optimizing processes, cut it. 

The good news is, avoiding these pitfalls is easier than you think. The following steps will help you maximize the efficacy of your tech choices—regardless of whether you work with an Emerging Brand or an Established Franchisor.

Define your goals to understand where technology fits into the big picture, so you can ensure it’s practical and operational for your teams

The most crucial step in choosing restaurant technology requires nothing more than pen and paper. Before you make any business decision, clearly define:

  • Your goals and timelines.

  • Your target customer.

  • The experience you want to create for your guests.

  • What success looks like to you.

Get as detailed as possible, do your research, and speak with experts in your industry to grow your knowledge. Once you have a clear picture in your head, it’s much easier to figure out how to incorporate technology into your process.

Make every interaction feel human

Introducing restaurant technology should improve every aspect of guest experiences. It should provide convenience, engagement, and accuracy (building trust that nurtures lasting loyalty.) According to a Harvard Business School study, when restaurants nurture an emotional connection with their guests, those customers become 27% more valuable to the establishment.

Self-service kiosks and pay-at-table hardware are awesome—but make sure there’s always a sense of community and humanity. Provide hospitality that’s second-to-none, so guests feel connected throughout the service experience.

Track KPIs regularly to catch what isn’t working 

If a piece of tech isn’t serving its purpose, or causing more headaches than it prevents, don’t be afraid to cut what isn’t working. 

Regularly audit restaurant technology, and ask staff for feedback. They’re on the frontline, and they’ll give you a clear picture of how guest experience and operations are impacted by a particular software or hardware. As a rule of thumb for almost every industry, less is usually more.

“Restaurants have survived hundreds of years without any of it [technology]. Technically, you can manage everything with a pen and paper. Yes, data is incredible, but make sure it actually works for someone else before you invest your time and money into it.”

—Gregg Majewski, Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Craveworthy Brands


Understanding 3PD Implementation

3PD (3rd-Party Delivery Services) like UberEats, Grubhub, etc can be a great addition to your customer service strategy—especially since the July 2023 Bounteous Dining Industry Report revealed that the number of consumers using meal delivery services is estimated to grow to 2.4 billion by 2027. 

That’s a lot of revenue potential for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) considering 3DP, but there are risks to be aware of, too.

For example, no matter how well you handle the order, quality assurance is out of your control once you pass it to the 3PD driver. And even if unsatisfactory deliveries are not your fault, it’s your restaurant that usually takes the hit financially and reputation-wise.

Be adaptable to change—but don’t be afraid to let others test the waters

Technology’s “dinosaur” reputation may tempt restaurateurs toward untested innovations for the fear of missing out. However, while adaptability is key to longevity, it’s okay to take a “wait and see” approach to protect your profit margin. 

Never be the first. While new technology can be exciting and tempting, don’t dive in. Let others test and improve it. Wait and see if it shows staying power and builds a track record of success,” Advises Gregg Majewski.


The Best Way To Ensure Restaurant Technology Works For Your Franchise

When considering restaurant technology, you need to make sure you know how it will improve and support the main pillars that all successful restaurants rely on—

  1. Great food 

  2. Service/operations 

  3. Hospitality 

  4. Consistency

Whether you're working with emerging brands, or a veteran Franchisor, restaurant tech is a tool—and it’s how you use it that matters. If you keep those concepts at the core of your decision-making process, technology will be an invaluable asset. 

To greatly improve your chances of achieving a successful franchise that you can pass down through generations, Speak with one of our franchising experts to learn what Craveworthy does differently—and why it works.



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