Thursday, September 13, 2018

The two biggest problems for restaurant guests

Billions of investment dollars are being thrown at the restaurant industry right now, from point-of-sale companies, to delivery services, payroll companies, short-term lending - it's a land-grab of epic proportions the restaurant industry has never seen. And it's about time - with gross sales over $700B in the US alone, it's a slow-moving industry that could use some fresh technology.

But the majority of dollars are being spent on outside services like Doordash and GrubHub, or on back-of-house products like POS - all the while the dine-in guests are presented with the same old frustrations. 

So here are my top two problems to solve in 2019:

1. Checkout Friction:

We've all had a great experience, dining with a friend for lunch - but when we're ready to go, our waiter is nowhere to be found. Using technologies for pay-at-table from Pepper ( empowers guests to review, split, and pay their check when they're ready to leave.

2. Table Anxiety:
Part of everyone's decision on "what to do tonight" probably includes options for eating out. And riddled through are minds are questions like "Can I get a table?", "Will it be crowded?", and "How long is the wait?". To solve these issues, the Pepper app shows guests the available tables in the restaurant along with the time before one of those tables opens up. When a guest is ready to commit, they select the table they want and a "table request" is sent to the restaurant. This creates a hybrid reservation/waiting list where guests are funneled to the available tables at the available times to maximize table efficiency and minimize turn times.

It's time for tech to focus on FOH and solve some core issues that will keep guests engaged and coming back for more.

by Kermit Austin (Kermit Elmo Austin III)