Marybeth Pearce, QSR, Food & Beverage Technology Solutions Leader at Comcast Business recently responded to questions from Hospitality Technology. The following are her responses about the ever-increasing importance of having a fast, reliable and secure network to power digital transformation in restaurants.
Please speak to the benefits of standardizing networks for restaurants.
Network technology standardization helps ensure all restaurants have the foundation needed to support current and future technologies that drive digital transformation. As more orders and customer engagements are driven through mobile and online, a fast and reliable network is key to help ensure transactions are received and processed seamlessly. Additionally, standardized networks help operators ensure all locations are equipped to onboard new applications or technologies that rely on the network connectivity. Standardization also can help with security risks: With a standardized network, operators can manage and control security policies and patches across the entire restaurant chain. Lastly, network standardization enables restaurants and its operators to focus on running the business and serving guests, rather than spending time on managing the technology.
How can a managed Wi-Fi solution help drive efficiency and convenience for restaurants?
Managed Wi-Fi helps drive multiple efficiencies for restaurants, including line busting, back of house management and guest convenience. Line busting, both in drive thru lanes and inside restaurants, is important for guest experience and retention, as well as employee efficiency. Powering line busting tablets via a private Wi-FI solution provides connectivity to process transactions. Wi-Fi can also enable manager tablets for back of house management, so they can move around the restaurant to engage with employees and guests while still accessing critical applications. From a guest perspective, Wi-Fi has become an expectation and helps encourage guests to leverage the restaurants’ loyalty apps once onsite. Lastly, leveraging the data available via a Wi-FI network can provide insights regarding dwell time and customer arrivals to help optimize drive-thru and curbside experiences.
How will cloud-based solutions and contactless transactions continue to drive restaurant innovation?
As more applications move to the cloud, restaurants will demand more bandwidth and high reliability, as access to the applications will rely on this connectivity. It will be imperative for restaurants and providers to be innovative with managing bandwidth consumption and associated costs. Leveraging highspeed broadband and application-based routing will help. The need for contactless transactions will continue to drive new ways for guests to connect with restaurants digitally.
Restaurants are facing an unprecedented hiring and retention challenge. How can technology help?
From a recruitment perspective, leveraging technologies to engage talent via new channels will help restaurant operators expand the talent pool. Having user-friendly technology in the restaurant will be key to retaining employees once hired. Intuitive systems will allow employees to seamlessly take customer orders, process payments and serve food. Ensuring the technology is reliable will be critical to enabling employees to focus on serving guests, rather than worrying about troubleshooting problems. With the competition in the labor market, employees will be quick to find an “easier” place to work if the technology inhibits them from performing in the restaurant.